Hyundai team principal Michel Nandan has promised 'his' squad will learn from what happened on Rallye Monte Carlo and despite seeing both of his drivers go out on the opening day he believes they have shown they are here to compete 'seriously'.
Team leader and number one driver, Thierry Neuville was first out, when he crashed in the very first stage – less than 7 kilometres in. Team-mate Dani Sordo then followed him out in SS5 – although he was stopped by a technical issue while running in a very good third position overall [see separate story – HERE
“Of course, this is a disappointing end for us in our debut rally but this is rally and these things can happen, so we must remain positive,” Nandan reflected. “Today was a proud moment for our young team as we made our first steps in the competitive World Rally Championship. We showed a good performance level and we worked very well as a team to set a good strategy, so in that regard it's been positive.”
“We have experienced some very challenging and tricky conditions with many drivers going off in the first stage. It was bad luck for Thierry that he went off and was forced to retire, but that's rallying; these things can happen.
“We need to investigate the issue on Dani's car. We made the right tyre choice for the loop, as we could see compared to others with the same tyre choice. The car was quick in the conditions and Dani set the second fastest time in SS4, which was encouraging. Then, on his way to SS5, the car seemed to suffer a loss of electrical power. We asked him to do some checks but we couldn't find the problem. We will now look into the problem to understand why it happened,” he added.
“Hyundai Motorsport has only been in existence for one year though. We have completed 8,000km with the Hyundai i20 WRCs in testing but Rallye Monte-Carlo was our first proper test and we are here to learn. Monte Carlo is a special rally so it's not easy to draw comparisons but generally speaking we showed that Hyundai is here to compete seriously. We will learn from this experience and move onto Sweden in a positive manner,” Nandan concluded.