Following a successful 2014 debut season in the FIA World Rally Championship the Hyundai Motorsport team head in to 2015 in a positive mood.
With two cars entered for the season opening Rallye Monte-Carlo, Thierry Neuville and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul will lead the team with Dani Sordo and Marc Martí in full support.
The team have already carried out testing in the Ardèche region of France during December but took an opportunity to put the Hyundai i20 WRC‘s through their paces in an extra pre-event test in Alzenau, Germany.
“Rallye Monte-Carlo is well-known for quickly changing conditions and for always having many surprises in store.” – Team Principal Michel Nandan
“Even if you have experience from previous events, there are a lot of parameters influencing the result that you cannot control. Although our Rallye Monte-Carlo debut last year didn’t last very long, we were happy with the tyre choices we made and we are confident we will work in the right way again this time with our partners Michelin.” added Nandan.
“We experienced a lot of bad luck in this event in 2014 but we’re aiming for a different result this time around. Our drivers know the event well, we know their level on asphalt is high and we know if the conditions are icy, wet or mixed then they can adapt and perform well in these circumstances. We’re still at an early stage in our development but we believe we can challenge strongly during a rally where car performance is not as much of a factor as it is on other rallies.”
Neuville heads in to Ralyle Monte-Carlo looking to put previous bad luck behind him. “It’s true that we haven’t been very successful at Rallye Monte-Carlo in the past but it’s always a pleasure to drive on these roads and this year we really want to do well. We had a very short winter break as we started testing for ‘Monte’ in mid-December last year but we had some good preparation for the rally and we’re ready for it.
“Monte is always special, it’s the first rally of the season and the conditions can be very changeable so that it makes it difficult to predict what can happen. For sure I want to do more kilometres with the Hyundai i20 WRC than last year for myself and for the team. We will use all the experience we have of the event to aim for the best result possible.”
Sordo will start the Rallye Monte-Carlo for a seventh time and is hoping the electrical problems that he experienced last year don’t return to haunt him. “It’s important to remember we were third last year when we had a small, but unfortunately terminal, technical problem. Even though it’s a very difficult rally you have to push but you also have to remain calm when the conditions are tricky.” said Sordo.
“I really like Rallye Monte-Carlo, it’s completely different to every other event because of the weather conditions and the stages are beautiful, really twisty through the mountains. It’s also very famous and a big challenge for both the drivers and the cars. Our aim, of course, is to go as fast as possible and score as many points as we can. A podium is possible on this event because on Monte everything can be achieved due to the unpredictable weather.”