Preview: Targeting the top in 2018 season opener
The wait is over! We are off to Monte-Carlo for the 2018 WRC season opener. Its a complex and challenging event that conjures up images of snow-capped mountains, glamorous harbour backdrops and thrilling night stages. The perfect place to start a new season
As we enter our fifth year in the championship, we have clear ambitions to fight for the titles after some competitive performances in 2017. Since victory in Australia back in November, our i20 Coupe WRC has been put through its paces in winter testing in France and Spain.
We are as well prepared as we can be, said our Team Principal Michel Nandan. The beauty of Monte-Carlo is its unpredictability. Our rivals will be formidable and relentless, so we have to be on top of our game.
Our three crews for Monte Andreas/Anders, Thierry/Nicolas and Dani/Carlos – are all desperate to get back behind the wheel.
Its an amazing feeling to be starting a complete WRC season with Hyundai Motorsport, said Andreas, who will be in the #4 car. I am looking forward to a consistent year and aiming to be in the championship fight.
Thierry and Nicolas led last years Monte by 51 seconds, before cruelly retiring on the penultimate day after an off. Its a memory that the Belgians will use to spur them on this year as they return to the #5 i20 Coupe WRC.
Even the slightest error can be rally-ending at Monte, said Thierry. We saw that last year. We will aim to put all the lessons learned from our participation in recent editions of this event to good use.
For our Spaniards, Dani and Carlos, a renewed partnership could bring good fortunes: There will be some areas we need to refresh, said Dani, but we are optimistic we can deliver a positive result. It will definitely be a tough fight against our rivals.
The rally begins with a glitzy ceremonial start in Monaco on Thursday before two night stages. Victory will be everyones target, but 17 long stages face us before we can dare think of celebration on Sunday afternoon.
Strap yourselves in; its going to be an exhilarating ride.