Encouraging first day at Rally de Portugal with three top ten positions
May 22, 2015 The start to this weekend’s Rally de Portugal, round five in the WRC calendar, was quite positive with all three Hyundai i20 WRC cars finishing the day in the top ten. Tyre choice and management played an important role in the new stages. Following Thursday evenings Super Special Stage, five stages were run today, with SS5 cancelled due to forest fires.
Dani Sordo was encouraged by the enthusiastic support from local fans and put in a a strong performance. He won SS2 to take an early rally lead and finished the day in the top five for Hyundai Shell World Rally Team. It’s been quite a good start to the rally, said Dani. The times have been good and the fans have been fantastic.
Young Kiwi Hayden Paddon also had a good start to his fourth event of the 2015 season. He was second fastest in SS4 and ended the day in eighth position for Hyundai Mobis World Rally Team. This is a new look rally for everyone, said Hayden. There are things that we can work on to go faster, so that’s what we’ll do ahead of tomorrow.
Thierry Neuville took a different tyre strategy to other drivers, which slowed him down in the morning stages. We had a tough start to the rally, said the Belgian, and lost more time than I expected. We will sit down this evening to adjust our plan and hope for a stronger Saturday.
Saturday will see cars tackle six new-look Portuguese stages, including the longest stage the 37.67km Fridão stage. There will be no time to relax as Rally de Portugal enters its penultimate day and the drivers focus on improving their positions. Dani has had a strong start, Hayden too, and Thierry will have more soft tyres available for tomorrow, said Team Principal Michel Nandan. We have three cars in the top ten so we can be satisfied with the start of our Rally de Portugal.