The Beer-Cooled Hyundai i20 WRC Secures Maiden Podium At Rally Mexico
The Hyundai Shell World Rally Team had reason to celebrate at the Rally Mexico WRC event, as both i20 WRC cars were able to complete the taxing 22-stage rally, with driver Thierry Neuville landing third and giving the team its first taste of life on the podium.
While Neiville and co-driver Nicholas Gilsoul initially had some issues with altitude and the gravel terrain, they quickly overcame the odds to put together an incredible weekend.
After day one, the pairing put together an excellent sting of stage times on Saturday to put themselves in podium contention.
That carried over to the final day where continued excellent driving placed them third and helped them rack up 15 drivers’ points.
Cold Mexican Beer Helps Engine Temperature Drop! Really, Just Read Further!!
It wasn’t all smooth sailing, though, with the #7 Hyundai i20 WRC developing a radiator leak near the end of the final stage.
Neuville and Gilsoul were able to find a safe spot to pull over and make a rather creative fix, using Mexican beer, to the issue that helped them get to the finish line and the podium.
Neuville spoke to wrc.com and told them that they first noticed a spike in engine temperature when they were about 3 or 4 kilometers into the road section.
It was a stressful moment for the team, but Neuville said that they were able to pull over and remove the bumper so that they could get a clear view of the hole in the radiator, which they were quickly able to plug.
He went on to say that the actual repair of the hole wasn’t such a big deal, but that refilling the system required a little more creativity. That came in the form of a cold beer that they picked up at the end of the Power Stage.
There was still 25 km to go in the race, and the pair feared that they might not make it to the finish line.
The Mexican lager seemed to do the trick, though, as the temperature dropped and the i20 WRC was able to make it to the finish line without any further issues.
The only stop that was left to be made after the fix was on the podium, a first for the Hyundai Shell Racing Team.
Chris Atkinson Performs Well Too!
The other driver on the team, Chris Atkinson, also performed beyond all expectation.
Rally Mexico event was his first time behind the wheel at a competitive event for over a year. That didn’t stop him from performing brilliantly and coming in seventh, earning himself 6 championship points in the process.
Atkinson and Stephane Prevot, his co-driver, had some technical issues of their own to deal with on opening day, but were still able to crack the top ten.
They were among the first drivers to tackle the challenging gravel terrain on Saturday, but still performed admirably.
The goal was always to simply get the car to the finish line in one piece, so the top ten finish can be considered a little icing on the cake.