Time to build on our best season yet
Following our recent win in Sardinia were targeting another competitive run at Rally Poland, round seven of the 2016 World Rally Championship (WRC). But it wont be easy; the midpoint of the season features some of the fastest roads on the calendar!
Poland will offer a brand new test for our New Generation i20 WRC, which has taken two wins from the past three WRC events. We are returning to a three-car entry in this rally with Thierry/Nicolas in the #3, Hayden/John in the #4 and Dani/Marc in the #20.
Refreshed and Refocused
Celebrations from our fantastic result in Sardinia are over, and we now look forward to the high-speed thrills of the 21 Polish stages.
We carried out a four-day test in Poland with Thierry, Hayden and Dani in the run-up to the rally. The crews had the chance to prepare this years route, which has changed by around 33% compared to last year.
Its a demanding, ultra quick gravel rally, one of the fastest of the season, explains our Team Principal Michel Nandan. With so many new sections we need to be on top of our game. The top-three is our target as well as strong points finishes for all three cars.
A Team Boost
Thierry took a top-three finish in Poland two years ago, which was our second ever WRC podium. Alongside co-driver Nicolas, the Belgian will be hoping to repeat his impressive form from Sardinia, which included nine stage wins.
It was such a pleasure to win in Italy with the team, he says. We have had some tough times recently but the victory was a boost in confidence for everyone.
He continues: Last year in Poland we struggled a bit with the tyre choices but we learnt from it. I think with the car we have were going to be pretty fast!
Since winning Rally Argentina, Hayden and John have hit a run of bad luck. The Kiwi crew are aiming to bounce back in Poland, where they finished fourth twelve months ago.
Were now going into a series of rallies that I really enjoy, Hayden says. We know this years New Generation i20 WRC works very well in fast sections. I am really looking forward to putting our previous two rallies behind us.
Our Spanish stars Dani and Marc are now second in the Drivers and Co-drivers Championships after taking four consecutive fourth place finishes from Mexico to Sardinia.
Rally Poland for me is very exciting, enthuses Dani. A lot of enthusiastic rally fans come to watch, so it is really nice. There is a good sensation in the car because the roads are fast with crests and some narrow places. I have a lot of confidence for this years event.
Old and New Sprints
Just four stages will be the same as in 2015, the Super Special Stage in Miko?ajki Arena, Go?dap, ?wi?tajno and Wieliczki, while two (Chmielewo and Stare Juchy) were included in full two years ago.
The action starts on Thursday evening in Mikolajki, part of the Masurian Lake District a few hours north of Warsaw, before nine stages on Friday north east of the city. Well travel further north towards the border of Kaliningrad for three repeated stages on Saturday, ending the day for the third time at the Mikolajki Arena. Sunday is a short 59.6km day featuring the Sady Power Stage.
Rally Poland Statistics
|Driver||Rally Poland Starts||Previous Results|
|Thierry Neuville (#3)||2||2014: 3rd, 2015: 6th|
|Nicolas Gilsoul (#3)||3|| 2004: 5th (ERC), 2014: 3rd,|
|Hayden Paddon (#4)||2||2014: 8th, 2015: 4th|
|John Kennard (#4)||3|| 1994: 15th (ERC), 2014: 8th,|
|Dani Sordo (#20)||2||2009: 2nd, 2015: 10th|
|Marc Martí (#20)||2||2009: 2nd, 2015: 10th|