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World Rally Championship

Preparing for podium push

Preview: Aiming for success in Portugal after consecutive wins


Preview: Aiming for success in Portugal after consecutive wins

We can’t get enough of that winning feeling! Following our recent victories in Corsica and Argentina, the next stop on WRC’s global tour is Rally Portugal, where will be aiming to continue our run of success.

The performance of our Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC so far this season gives us plenty of confidence that we can fight at the front. We have never scored a podium in Portugal before, so that will be our first priority. 

Confident but not complacent

“We have had a good run of results recently, which has given the team a morale boost,” explained our Team Principal Michel, “but it would be wrong of us to get complacent. The competition is immensely close this season so we cannot afford to rest on our laurels.”

Our back-to-back wins in the past two rallies have allowed us to strengthen our positions in the Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ Championships. We are determined to build on this as we return to European gravel.

The first crew to win two rallies this season, Thierry and Nicolas, are certainly not taking it easy. “We know we have to stay focused and concentrated,” revealed Thierry. “Our winning margin in Argentina was one of the smallest in WRC history, so we can take nothing for granted. However, I am sure, with our recent confidence, that we can be fast.”

Changing places

There have been a few alterations to the Portuguese itinerary compared to last year’s event. We also have a change to our #4 crew line-up after Hayden’s co-driver John aggravated an existing hip condition in Argentina. Seb Marshall steps in to make an Anglo-Kiwi line-up in Portugal.

“We wish John a speedy recovery,” said Hayden. “He will still be with us in Portugal but thanks to Seb for standing in. Portugal has a special atmosphere and there are a lot of passionate people who love rallying. For us to be able to compete in front of those crowds is an incredible sensation.”

Crowd pleasers

Our Spaniards Dani and Marc will benefit from plenty of local support in an event they know well. “The support from the crowds gives us a real boost,” commented Dani. “We can really feel them cheering us on, especially through the famous Fafe jump. Hopefully we can give them something to celebrate.” 

Fafe is one of the highlights of the 19-stage event, which covers 349.17km of competitive stages. Based out of the Matosinhos service park, the rally gets underway with a Super Special at the Lousada rallycross circuit on Thursday.

“Having won two rallies in a row, we want to continue that streak,” concludes Michel. “We know it will be another big fight. There’s a long way to go in this Championship and lots more we need to achieve.”

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