Hyundai Motorsport team principal Michel Nandan looks ahead towards the 25th Rally Australia, the final round of the season.As the World Rally Championship prepares for its final round next week, Hyundai Motorsport hope to end their season on a high. The team has had their most successful season to date and look forward to Rally Australia after confirming second in the manufacturers standings.
Three podium trophies from the last two rounds has seen the team cement themselves as true challengers for wins. But with Sebastien Ogier having won the last four rounds, nothing less than the top step will be acceptable for the outfit.
None of their three drivers have ever won the Rally outright, though Kiwi Hayden Paddon has twice been a class winner and will hope to end his season on a high, as he continues to battle over second place in the drivers standings.
As for their other drivers fortunes have been vastly different this year. Dani Sordo has had only two podiums this year, both being on courses that have involved Tarmac, while Thierry Neuville will hope to continue his four race podium run.
Team Principal Michel Nandan said: “It’s hard to comprehend that we are already at the end of the 2016 season, but there’s definitely a lot still to fight for. We were delighted to secure our second place in the Manufacturers’ Championship after Wales Rally GB, but now the attention turns to the drivers’ battle.”
Neuville currently lies second on 143 points. It would take a disaster for him to lose the position, but with Andreas Mikkelsen on 129, along with Paddon and Sordo on 126 and 119 points respectively, the prize is still up for grabs.
“It’s impressive to see all three of our drivers still involved in this close fight for second place. They will no doubt be pushing hard in Australia to come out on top and our job is to provide them with the car to get their best result possible.
“The fact we’ve never finished on the podium in Australia gives us extra motivation to do well.” continued Nandan, who was already thinking of next season. “It would be nice to end the season on a high, particularly in our last event with the New Generation i20 WRC that has served us so well this season.”