THE Hyundai Shell World Rally Team set themselves one major goal in last weekend’s Rallye de France (Round 11 of the World Rally Championship) – to get all three cars to actually finish – and finish they did.
Dani Sordo (Hyundai) secured a top four finish after a tense end to the rally-long fight for fourth place against former F1 pilot Robert Kubica (Ford), with team mates Thierry Neuville and Bryan Bouffier finishing eighth and ninth.
In its first full season in the WRC, the team has sought to accumulate as much experience as possible, and to improve the performance of its Hyundai i20 WRC car with each event.
In his second second consecutive top five finish following second place in Rallye Deutschland back in August, Sordo saw a lot of positive elements from the French event.
“A fourth place finish in this tough rally is quite good and we have learned a lot about the car,” he said. “The team has worked very professionally and I think we can be satisfied with our achievements.”
Neuville fought back strongly after a broken turbo on the first day put him right down the classification, with the Belgian showing real grit and determination to reclaim a top ten position at the end of Saturday, with some strong stages on Sunday morning elevating him to ninth position overall before moving up to eighth in the final stage.
“It was always going to be tough to fight back after our issue on Friday but we pushed hard and I think we can be pleased,” Neuville said.
Hyundai currently sits fourth in the World Rally Championship manufacturers’ standings, with Neuville the best placed team driver, holding down fifth place in the drivers’ standings.