- Hyundai Motorsport returns to gravel for the fifth round of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), Rally Argentina
- The team will be aiming for its third consecutive Argentina victory having won in 2016 with Hayden Paddon and in 2017 with Thierry Neuville
- Hyundai Motorsport leads the manufacturers’ championship with a slender four-point lead over M-Sport Ford having secured its fourth individual podium result of the year in Corsica
- Hyundai Motorsport will seek a return to winning ways as the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) moves back overseas for Rally Argentina, the fifth round of the 2018 season, next week.
For Hyundai Motorsport, Argentina is a location that evokes happy memories of the team’s dramatic victories in 2016 and 2017. Two years ago, Hayden Paddon took the win with an emphatic performance on the Power Stage, while last year Thierry Neuville won by a mere 0.7-seconds over Elfyn Evans in one of the closest finishes in WRC history.
Twelve months on, the team finds itself on top of the manufacturers’ championship with a four-point advantage over M-Sport Ford. A challenging weekend on the tarmac of Tour de Corse resulted in a third-placed podium finish, but the aim for Rally Argentina will be a hat trick.
The same three-crew line-up will tackle the 18-stage gravel event with Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger in the #4 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC, Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul in the #5 and Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio in the #6 car.
All crews took part in a three-day test in Portugal ahead of the rally, with testing prohibited outside of Europe. Carrying out preparations on the gravel roads near Amarante, the team was also able to validate an engine joker that is being introduced from Argentina.
We had a tough weekend in Corsica, but salvaged a podium finish to keep hold of our lead in the championship. We have to put in a stronger all-round performance in Argentina if we are to continue in this way, as the competition around us is so close. Argentina has been kind to us in recent years with victories in 2016 and 2017, both of which were delivered in thrilling fashion. Last year’s Power Stage was classic WRC as Thierry and Nicolas won by a close 0.7s margin. We have made some improvements and upgrades to our Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC for this rally, but we know our rivals are pushing hard too. Let’s hope for another great weekend – and possibly even our third Argentina win in a row!Michel NandanTeam Principal
- 18 competitive special stages run over a distance of 360km
- Action gets underway on Thursday evening with the Villa Carlos Paz Super Special held close to the Service Park
- Friday is the longest individual day at 154km of stages, although Saturday is a close second at 149km
- Itinerary takes in soft roads in the Santa Rosa de Calamuchita valley, as well as narrower rocky tracks in the Traslasierra mountains
- Sandy gravel roads become rutted on the second pass making life tough for crews and cars
- Sunday is often seen as the highlight of the rally with the El Condor and Mina Clavero stages, run in reverse direction for this year’s event, offering a thrilling finale.