Hyundai Motorsport Kicks Off 2016 WRC Season With A Podium Finish
Hyundai Motorsport has high hopes for their third season in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), and it now looks as though they have reason to be optimistic.
They were able to score a podium finish with Thierry Neuville taking 3rd place in the opening race of the season in Monte Carlo.
This news is especially exciting when you consider that it was the maiden voyage for the new Hyundai i20 WRC.
There was more good news for the Hyundai Shell World Rally team, as Dani Sordo performed well enough to secure a top 6 spot.
Having a pair of driver’s finish in the top 6 means that Hyundai Motorsport shares the top spot in the Manufacturers’ Championship with Volkswagen after the first race of the year.
Belgian driver Thierry Neuville now has a total of 6 podium finishes in his time with Hyundai Motorsports.
While he would like to have placed higher, Neuville said that the transmission problems experienced in the Power Stage made it impossible.
He was essentially forced to complete the stage in 2WD mode, yet only lost a minute of time, which is a sign of just how good the new i20 WRC can be when it is running perfectly.
Despite the issues, Neuville and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul both said that they were pleased with the i20, and were excited about its potential.
Sordo and co-driver Marc Marti did not perform particularly well in the early stages, but they seemed to get a hang of the new i20 WRC pretty quickly, as they put together a trio of 2nd place finishes in the latter stages of the Rallye Monte Carlo.
The improvements made as the race progressed is a sign of just how well the drivers and the racing team work together in order to get the very best out of the new vehicle.
All of the driver’s spoke about the potential of the i20 WRC, which suggests that they expect to do even better as the season moves on.
In the third car, which was the older i20 WRC, Hayden Paddon was mostly being asked to gain some experience in what is a very tough course.
Despite having problems with the differential, Paddon was still able to finish his first evert Rallye Monte Carlo. The lessons learned in the grueling stages in Monte Carlo will serve Paddon well when he heads to the next race in Sweden.
He will be behind the wheel of the New Generation i20 WRC for that one, which will present a whole new set of exciting challenges.
Hyundai Motorsport were determined to improve their performance from the previous two seasons, and a podium finish at one of the toughest races in the WRC is certainly a fantastic start.
They admit that there is still some work to be done with the new i20 WRC, but everyone is excited about the potential of the car after an excellent opening outing.