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Hyundai re-groups after missing podium in Rally Mexico

 

Hyundai Motorsport has added important points to its FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) manufacturers’ total with Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo scoring for their respective fourth and ninth place finishes on the weekend in Rally Mexico.

Sunday’s itinerary included the 21 km Alfaro test, the 25,07km Mesa Cuata stage (including large sections of the El Chocolate route), as well as the rally-ending 10,72 km Las Minas Power Stage.

There was little drama on the final day with all crews focused on bringing home as many points as possible after a learning weekend for the team.

Neuville used the final three stages to cement a hard-fought fourth position. The result concluded a tough event for the Belgian, which was dictated by a slow puncture on Friday morning, and an unfavourable road position throughout the event.

Neuville and Sordo both added extra points to their individual championship totals for finishing third and fourth in the Power Stage.

Crew Notes – Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul:

Neuville said: “That was not the weekend we wanted. From the puncture early on Friday morning, and with our road position, it has been a really challenging event from start to finish. We have been missing some speed at times and generally struggling. I felt I was driving on a good rhythm, but we weren’t on our usual pace. Today, I tried to keep a good rhythm in case something happened to the guys in front but that meant we didn’t have enough tyre performance left for the Power Stage, unlike some of our rivals. We have to put this rally to one side and re-group for Corsica.”

Crew Notes – Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio:

Sordo said: “Our aim for today was to drive within our limits and to pick up some manufacturers’ points, which are so important for the team. At the start of the Power Stage I was enjoying the car, so we gave it a bit of a push, but nothing too crazy. I have had fun driving the stages this weekend, and the support from the crowds has been amazing, even if the end result was not what we could have achieved. We were fighting at the front on Friday until our problems, so the potential is definitely there. We’ll be back stronger at the next rally in Corsica.”

Crew Notes – Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger-Amland:

Mikkelsen said: “It is easy to dwell on the missed opportunities this weekend, but it is important that we look at the many positives. The i20 Coupé WRC performed much more to my liking on these gravel stages, and that was reflected in our competitive stage times on Friday. Obviously, we weren’t able to fight for the sort of result we were capable of scoring, but that’s rallying sometimes. The final day was clean and we had a decent run through the Power Stage.”

Team director Andrea Adamo said: “These are not the results we come to WRC events to achieve, but we cannot be frustrated or disappointed. The situation is what it is. We must take the lessons home and work as hard as we always do to make improvements. At the top level of international rallying, we simply cannot afford to any faults that compromise the end results. Our Rally Mexico was affected from the opening day, and it has been damage limitation ever since. We will remain focused and pursue diligence in our work ahead of Corsica.”

Next rally

The first complete tarmac rally of the 2019 season, the Tour de Corse, will take place from 28 to 31 March on the island Corsica in the Mediterranean Sea. Hyundai Motorsport will field a three-crew line-up on Corsica with Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul, Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio and Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena.

 

Final results in Rally Mexico:

1 S. Ogier J. Ingrassia Citroën C3 WRC 3:37:08.0
2 O. Tanak M. Jarveoja Toyota Yaris WRC +30.2
3 E. Evans S. Martin Ford Fiesta WRC +49.9
4 T. Neuville N. Gilsoul Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC +1:27.0
5 K. Meeke S. Marshall Toyota Yaris WRC +6:06.2
6 B. Guerra J. Zapata Skoda Fabia R5 +15:35.5
7 M. Bulacia F. Cretu Skoda Fabia R5 +18:51.5
8 J.M Latvala M. Anttila Toyota Yaris WRC +18:55.9
9 D. Sordo C. del Barrio Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC +22:44.1
10 R. Trivino M. Marti Skoda Fabia R5 +26:21.7

 

2019 FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers’ Standings:

 

1 0. Tanak 65
2 S. Ogier 61
3 T. Neuville 55
4 K. Meeke 35
5 E. Evans 28
6 E. Lappi 20
7 S. Loeb 18
8 J.M Latvala 14
9 A. Mikkelsen 12

 

 

2019 FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers’ Standings:

 

1 Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team 86
2 Citroën Total World Rally Team 78
3 Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team 77  
4 M-Sport Ford World Rally Team 45

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