- Hyundai Motorsport is searching for its first podium finish of the season at Rally Mexico, the third round of the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC)
- Having already demonstrated its potential with the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC in the opening rounds, Hyundai Motorsport will aim to claim first top-three finish in Mexico since 2014
- Hayden Paddon, Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo make up the team’s three-car line up, competing in cars #4, #5 and #6 respectively.
- After a difficult start to the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), Hyundai Motorsport is ready to reassert its credentials as Championship contenders at Rally Mexico.
The Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC has already displayed rally-winning potential in the opening rounds of the season in Monte-Carlo and Sweden. In the two events to date, the team claimed thirteen stage wins in total, in addition to ten power stage points across all three of its crews.
The team will once again field a three-car entry into the rally with Hayden Paddon returning in the #4 car, Thierry Neuville, who claimed Hyundai Motorsport’s first-ever WRC podium at Rally Mexico in 2014, in the #5 and Dani Sordo, in the #6.
Coming off the back of the coldest event on the WRC calendar, the crews will have to adapt quickly to the much warmer Mexican climate, in what is one of only three rallies to be held outside of Europe. In addition to the hotter temperatures, one of the largest challenges posed by the event is the altitude, with some stages being run at nearly 3,000m above sea level.
With testing prohibited outside of Europe, the team carried out a five-day test in the Granada region of Spain to prepare for Mexico. All three crews had time in the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC in conditions that replicate those expected next weekend. The Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC’s engine has been put through its paces on the dyno in a bid to minimise the impact of the lower oxygen levels on the higher stages, which can reduce engine power.
Mexico is without a doubt one of the toughest events on the schedule with the altitude and massively different climate to our last event in Sweden. These conditions will push the drivers and the cars to the limit, but we are happy with the work that we have done to prepare for this rally. Obviously the last couple of events have been difficult for us but we cannot dwell on that. We know what the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC is capable of and we have seen our ability to challenge for the win. We are confident that we can come back strongly in Mexico, where we memorably scored our first ever WRC podium in 2014.Michel NandanHyundai Motorsport Team Principal
Rally Mexico 2017 at a Glance
The season’s first non-European and gravel event, Rally Mexico will take place over 19 stages and a competitive distance of 393.8km. The service park remains in sun-drenched León, around 400km north of Mexico City, with some of the warmest temperatures facing the crews being encountered in this area.
The event will get underway on Thursday evening with a Super Special Stage at Mexico City’s Zócalo main square – known for its appearance during the opening scene of the James Bond film Spectre – with more than 200,000 fans expected to attend.
Friday’s itinerary see the crews take to the stunning scenery and thin air of the Sierra de Lobos and Sierra de Guanajuato mountains, before descending back down to the very depths for the Rally’s famous underground stage through former silver mine tunnels.
The rest of the weekend will see the action return to the León region, featuring new stages at Lajas de Oro on Saturday and La Calera on Sunday. Sunday’s live TV Power Stage at Derramadero will bring the event to a close.