Were heading into the final day with a 30-second lead as Hayden scores three stage wins
April 23, 2016 Its been a Saturday to remember for our WRC team as Hayden moved into the lead of Rally Argentina with just three stages remaining.
Following a strong performance on Friday, Hayden kicked off Saturdays morning loop with two stage wins back-to-back to move back into second place. His objective for today was to keep the pressure on early rally leader Jari-Matti Latvala in an effort to score our first ever podium in Argentina. But when Jari-Matti went off-road in SS14 a stage that Hayden and co-driver John subsequently won – control of the rally passed to our Kiwi crew.
To finish the day leading the rally is unexpected but it certainly changes things for the final day, admitted Hayden. We started this morning with some good stages that I really enjoyed and we were getting good performance out of the New Generation i20 WRC.
Despite leading the overall standings, Hayden is keeping his feet on the ground. There are three very difficult stages still to contest on Sunday and a competitive challenge is expected from second placed Sébastien Ogier.We know tomorrow will be tough and Seb will push hard, says Hayden, so we have to be sensible and just do the best we can. Well be doing our homework!
It was a good day for the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team drivers Dani and Thierry as they fight for strong points finishes. Dani was involved in a close battle with Andreas Mikkelsen for much of the day. The advantage switched from one driver to the other, stage by stage, but ultimately Dani was able to close the gap. He ended Saturday in fourth overall, still hopeful for his own debut podium of 2016.
Its been a pretty good day, said Dani, and we can be pleased to start tomorrow from fourth overall. We have had a good feeling on todays stages and the car has worked well. We have tried to stay in contact with Andreas, and even close the gap, because tomorrow will be a hard day.
Our Spanish star has been quick to praise the work of the Hyundai Motorsport team in this fourth round of the 2016 season. I am happy for the team that we have been able to show good pace; its rewarding for everyone and well do all we can to maintain this momentum tomorrow, he said.
After his troubled day on Friday, Thierry has bounced back today. He has moved into seventh overall after a solid Saturday and has sixth place in his sights.
It has been good to show more representative pace today, said Thierry, after all the difficulties we had yesterday. We knew that anything could happen at the front, so we kept concentrated and focused on completing each stage. We could build up a good rhythm this morning and were determined to make some progress in the classification. Were on the edge of the top-six so thats our aim for Sunday!
Our Team Principal Michel Nandan was also in positive spirits after a competitive Saturday showing: Its great to see one of our drivers at the top of the classification at the end of the day. It gives the team a real boost. Its been an exciting day but were trying to keep our feet on the ground.
Weve never taken a podium in Argentina so its encouraging to be in strong shape for Sunday. Three very tough stages await drivers tomorrow so nothing is certain yet. Well keep working hard to get the best out of the New Generation i20 WRCs.
This rally is one of the toughest of the year, says Michel, so we have to stay calm and focused. Three stages dont seem much in terms of their overall distance but tomorrow could be the biggest test of the entire weekend!