It was a case of what might have been for Hyundai Motorsport on the Rally Guanajuato Mexico, round three of the FIA World Rally Championship, as two of their crews made mistakes which put them out of contention for a good result. while Dani Sordo and Marc Marti finished a solid fifth.
The event started well for the team as Belgian Thierry Neuville won the first stage to take an early lead. However he was quickly overhauled on the second test by series leader Sebastien Ogier. Day two started well for Neuville, second fastest on SS3 and a stage win on the fifth test meant he was firmly set in second place heading into service. However on stage eight it all came apart after a puncture and a roll on the stage put the Belgian and his co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul out of contention. The crew recovered under Rally 2 rules to take eighth overall and third on the power stage.
“The car has been competitive this weekend so it is a shame that the roll we had on Friday prevented us from capitalising on that.” said Neuville. “Nonetheless, the team has done a good job this weekend so it has been important for us to salvage some points today.
“Our stage wins on Friday and today, and strong performances in other stages, show what our potential was this weekend. Still, it is good for us to have a three car finish and keep our second place in the Championship considering the demands of this rally.”
Hayden Paddon and John Kennard, who were competing for Hyundai Motorsport N had a weekend of learning. After an off on stage four forced their retirement from day two the pair recovered under rally two rules and made some noticeable improvements going sixth fastest on stage 17 and finishing the event 17th overall.
“It’s been an eventful rally for us but I think there are plenty of positive things for us to take away.” said Paddon, “The car has been good. Coming into today’s final stages, I watched the on-boards from my team-mates last night and I learned a few valuable things about my driving which I can now take forward to Argentina.”
Sordo managed the best result for the team this weekend with his fifth place. The Spaniard also managed to win stage 13 along the way.
“I have really enjoyed this weekend and being back with the team.” said Sordo. “I have felt at ease with the car this weekend and the performance was competitive on most of the stages. We were able to set some good times, including a stage win on Saturday, but we also had a few issues to contend with along the way – which is quite normal in this tough rally.
The next round of the series takes the crews to Argentina on April 23.