Hyundai Motorsport aims for third podium with new car at Rally Mexico

Our three drivers are looking to continue the successful debut for the New Generation i20 WRC as we head overseas to Mexico, where we scored our first ever podium in 2014.

Our three drivers are looking to continue the successful debut for the New Generation i20 WRC as we head overseas to Mexico, where we scored our first ever podium in 2014.

Alzenau, Germany

February 26, 2016 – The team is in buoyant mood as we head to Mexico in a bid to maintain our run of podium finishes in this year’s World Rally Championship.

In the opening two rounds of the season, we’ve taken third place in Monte-Carlo with Thierry and a sensational second place in Sweden with Hayden; a great start to our debut season with the New Generation i20 WRC with our first ever back-to-back podiums.

Our team is now aiming to make it three in a row with Thierry, Dani and Hayden lining up in the #3, #4 and #20 cars for the daunting Rally Mexico, where we scored our first ever WRC podium two years ago – in memorable style!

The heat of Rally Mexico will be a welcome relief after the snowy conditions we’ve encountered so far this season. Temperatures as high as 30°C will put pressure on cars and crews with elevation up to 2737 metres which will reduce engine power by as much as 20%.

New features for 2016 include a night stage in León and a monster 80km stage on the final morning, Guanajuato, which become the longest WRC stage since 1983. The itinerary is tough and will test our drivers but they are confident to push our new car to its limit.

“Our team heads to Mexico with a lot of positivity after the performances so far this year,” says Team Principal Michel Nandan. “At the same time, we know that this rally will offer a new set of challenges and demands on our New Generation i20 WRC cars and the team itself. The new car has already proven to be a step forward on its predecessor but we have more to learn on the tough Mexican terrain. We will have to wait and see if we can challenge for the podium again but that’s our objective. This year’s itinerary for Rally Mexico includes an extremely daunting 80km stage on Sunday morning, which will put the cars and crews under immense pressure. There will be no room for error and it adds an extra layer of difficulty to a rally that is already one of the toughest. It will be exciting – and nerve-wracking – to follow. We head to Mexico just five points behind Volkswagen Motorsport in the Manufacturers’ Championship, so we’re more than motivated to fight at the front – and hopefully to make it three podiums in a row!”

Thierry is familiar with success at Mexico and claimed his first WRC podium at the event. He took our team’s first top-three finish in 2014 and in 2015 won three stages.

“I have very positive thoughts about Mexico because it is where I got my first podium in the World Rally Championship,” says the Belgian. “It is also where we got the first podium for Hyundai Motorsport so I am sure the whole team has very good memories as well. We are all looking forward to this year’s event with the beautiful weather and stages as well as running the New Generation i20 WRC at altitude. We sorted out some problems I had with the car from the last rally; everything is running well now and I am pleased with its performance potential. I look forward to taking on the Mexican stages once more and trying to get another top-three finish.”

Dani is also experienced on the Mexican stages, achieving one stage win and five top-three stage finishes in 2015. He will continue to develop his rhythm this year after starting his season with a consistent pair of top-six performances.

“Rally Mexico is a really nice event,” comments the Spaniard, “which has exceptional weather and very picturesque stages. However, the rally is also really high in altitude, so the engines lose a lot of power. This means we have to be very aware of the roads to make sure we get the most speed out of the car as possible. The roads themselves have a really good surface but it can be very different between the first pass and the second, when there can be a lot more grip. This year there will be a very long stage as well, so it will be nice to run that. I am enjoying getting to grips with the New Generation i20 WRC and look forward to continuing this at Mexico. As we get more and more comfortable I look forward to pushing harder for the top-three finishes that I know we can achieve with this car.”

Hayden’s first event in the New Generation i20 WRC saw him finish second at Sweden. He will now continue to adjust to the new car on Mexico’s challenging stages.

“We are really excited to be competing at Mexico again,” says the Kiwi. “It will be great to be in the sun for the first time in a long time after a series of wet and cold rallies. It will be a challenging rally for sure, with some much longer stages than normal, particularly the 80km Guanajuato stage. But we are really looking forward to it, to getting back into the new car, and particularly to do so on the gravel stages that make up Rally Mexico. I felt really good in the car at Sweden and we will look to continue adjusting that feeling on the Mexican stages so that we are comfortable and can really shoot for points. This rally will be all about learning the car and the Mexican roads, and I hope we can bring home another good result.”

Rally Mexico will cover almost 400km across 21 stages in the Sierra de Lobos and Sierra de Guanajuato mountains, beginning on Thursday night with party atmosphere of the Guanajuato ceremonial start.

Friday will feature high-elevation tests like El Chocolate and Las Minas, before drivers circle back to León on Saturday. Sunday will see the anticipated 80km Guanajuato and a second run of Agua Zarca as the Power Stage.



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