Hyundai Motorsport failed to achieve their ultimate goal in Monte Carlo – they never reached the finish and the competitive mileage they were able to collect was not enough to draw more substantial conclusions about their potential, car-wise and team-wise. Or was it? Can you even hope to compare teams and drivers in an event such as this year’s Rallye Monte Carlo, with roads covered in everything except land mines. Thierry Neuville’s scored one impressive split time, while Dani Sordo endured longer and it’s a real shame he was forced out of the event prematurely. His pace was genuine and he was fully in control in treacherous conditions, but an unknown glitch stopped his car before Spaniard was able to reach the 5th special stage of the event. Big shame for him and also for Hyundai, but even if Sordo only managed to complete four stages (with Thierry completing the equal amount of kilometers) Hyundai remains positive. On one hand, they have no other choice, on the other hand, they were competitive, Sordo set some top times and there are reasons for optimism. Start was never going to be easy, it wasn’t easy for Volkswagen last year either, but if anything, Hyundai proved they have a competitive car and capable team – some ironing out is still needed but Hyundai will shine this year, certain of that.
Team principal Michel Nandan had this to say after double DNF in Monte Carlo.
“Of course, this is a disappointing end for us in our debut rally but this is rally and these things can happen, so we must remain positive. Today was a proud moment for our young team as we made our first steps in the competitive World Rally Championship. We showed a good performance level and we worked very well as a team to set a good strategy, so in that regard it’s been positive,” he said.
“We have experienced some very challenging and tricky conditions with many drivers going off in the first stage. It was bad luck for Thierry that he went off and was forced to retire, but that’s rallying; these things can happen. We need to investigate the issue on Dani’s car. We made the right tyre choice for the loop, as we could see compared to others with the same tyre choice. The car was quick in the conditions and Dani set the second fastest time in SS4, which was encouraging. Then, on his way to SS5, the car seemed to suffer a loss of electrical power. We asked him to do some checks but we couldn’t find the problem. We will now look into the problem to understand why it happened,” he added.
“Hyundai Motorsport has only been in existence for one year. We have completed 8,000km with the Hyundai i20 WRCs in testing but Rallye Monte-Carlo was our first proper test and we are here to learn. Monte Carlo is a special rally so it’s not easy to draw comparisons but generally speaking we showed that Hyundai is here to compete seriously. We will learn from this experience and move onto Sweden in a positive manner.”