WRC: Hyundai Motorsport set sights high for Rally Mexico
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After a difficult start to the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship, Hyundai Motorsport is ready to reassert its credentials as Championship contenders at Rally Mexico, the third event of this year’s campaign.
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.
Hayden Paddon and co-driver John Kennard will be hoping to compete for their first podium finish of the season on the Mexican gravel. They achieved a top-five finish in the event twelve months ago, scoring a Power Stage point at the rally’s conclusion. They will be hoping to pick up from there next weekend.
“I’m looking forward to Rally Mexico," said Paddon. "It feels like a long time since we’ve been on gravel and rallying outside of Europe."
"It’s an event with a nice atmosphere with passionate fans and enjoyable roads. The altitude is a key characteristic of this rally. We have to adjust the car and ourselves to the conditions. We have to make sure that we put in the extra effort so that we’re fully prepared."
"Maintaining hydration levels in the hotter conditions is obviously important too. We’re going to try everything that we can to put in a solid performance and to secure a positive result.”
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 season’s first non-European and gravel event, Rally Mexico will take place over 19 stages and a competitive distance of 393.8km.
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.