Hyundai Motorsport head to Rally Sweden full of optimism following their impressive showing on round 1 of the 2015 FIA World Rally Championship. Hyundai Shell World Rally Team find themselves second in the championship following the 5th and 6th place finishes achieved by drivers Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo in Monte Carlo.
Neuville has three previous appearances on this event with one top ten finish. The Belgian driver will be looking to build on his experience as he bids to continue Hyundai’s strong start to the season in the Hyundai i20 WRC.
“For my fourth participation, I am sure can further improve my speed and confidence.” said Neuville, “If you haven’t become accustomed to driving on such fast roads in these conditions from a young age, it is hard to find a rhythm. I have still set some interesting times and, even last year in our first visit with the Hyundai i20 WRC, we set some second and third quickest stage times, so I hope to improve on that and to be more competitive.”
Dani Sordo has been ruled out of the event due to a pre-event training injury which means that Hayden Paddon is being promoted to the second seat. The New Zealand driver, who was supposed to heading the new Hyundai Mobis World Rally Team, has one previous appearance on Rally Sweden taking fourth in the SWRC in a Skoda Fabia S2000.
“I haven’t really done much snow rallying in the past so it promises to be a fun learning curve.” said Paddon “It’s certainly fast and I like that aspect, but the grip levels can be inconsistent, depending on the snowfall before the rally, so we’ll see how it goes.”
Sordo’s injury also means that Hyundai test driver Kevin Abbring will make his WRC debut for the Hyundai Mobis team. The Dutch driver has never competed in Sweden before and will be using the event as a learning experience.
“It will be a bit like jumping in at the deep end but I relish this sort of challenge.” said Abbring “Whatever happens, it will be a privilege to represent Hyundai Motorsport and the Hyundai Mobis World Rally Team on the WRC stage.”
Rally Sweden takes in 21 competitive stages over a distance of 308km. The rally will get underway with Thursday night’s traditional super special in Karlstad.