Michel Nandan: “2017 Was Good, But With Missed Opportunities”

by Steven Batey

Hyundai Motorsport Team Principal Michel Nandan says that the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship season was “A good one of performance, but with missed opportunities” for the team.

Despite claiming four victories throughout 2017, including at the season finale in Australia last weekend, the team principal of the Korean manufacturer squad admitted that the 2017 season wasn’t exactly what the team were aiming for before the start of the year.

He commented on the 2017 season: “We started the year with new regulations and a brand new car, the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC, so it was always difficult to know where everyone would be competitively against each other.”

“Some labelled us as favourites early on, but we know reality paints a very different picture. The end result may not have been, on paper, what we aimed for, but we come out of this season stronger as a team.”

The team’s main championship challenger, Thierry Neuville was the stand out driver for the team, taking four wins as he went up against M-Sport’s Sebastian Ogier at the top of the standings in a close battle throughout the year and Nandan admitted that he was impressed with the pace at times by his drivers.

Photo Credit: @World/Red Bull Content Pool

He added speaking after Rally Australia: “Securing four wins, the most we’ve ever taken in one season, and seeing our new Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC really excel and, at times, dominate. Our crews adapted quickly to the new car and Thierry, especially, was able to be regularly on front-running pace.”

Dani (Sordo) and Hayden (Paddon) had flashes of that level of performance, while we also saw Andreas (Mikkelsen) immediate on strong pace in his three events with us. Despite some challenges, the team has shown improved potential, gained a vast amount of experience and, above all, mounted a strong championship campaign. We’ve been rallying at the top against some seriously tough competition.”

The 2018 FIA World Rally Championship begins with Rallye Monte Carlo between January 25-28 2018.

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