The Hyundai Shell World Rally Team concluded a positive penultimate day in the high altitude conditions of Rally Mexico with Thierry Neuville holding a provisional podium position overnight.

The Belgian enjoyed a competitive run through Saturday's seven stages to head into the final day in third place overall, having sat in eighth spot at the end of Friday's opening tests. The opening two stages- SS12 on the 30.33km Ibarilla 1 and SS13 over the 53.69km of Otates - gave the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team its sternest test yet, representing just under half of the day's competitive distance, and Neuville did not have a clean run, but he was excited to be within touching distance of a potential maiden podium finish for his new team.

"The first stage this morning was not easy because I lost the brakes towards the end and had to slow down but, since then, we have had a good run," he reported, "The stages were really slippery this morning, but I enjoyed driving and we took it nice and steady.

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"We are now in a very interesting position. I've been carrying two spares, so the car has been a bit heavier than normal and I lost a bit of time in the fast sections, but I made up time on the twisty bits. In the afternoon, I was sliding a lot in SS14 because of the weight on the rear, but SS15 was good and I had a great run. We are in a good position heading into tomorrow, but our focus is still on finishing the rally rather than the overall result."

Indeed, despite the encouraging performance of the Hyundai i20 WRCs, the team remains focused on securing a two-car finish on one of the season's most demanding rallies. Chris Atkinson, who is taking part in his first WRC event for Hyundai this weekend - and his first WRC event for over a year - advanced to seventh place overall.

"It has been another day of intensive learning for the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team as we continue to gather more experience from the unique conditions of Rally Mexico," team principal Michel Nandan said, "Both crews were effectively sweeping the roads in this morning's first stage as they started first and fourth, encountering tough road conditions, but it was a relatively trouble-free morning and very useful for data acquisition.

"We made some changes to the cars over the lunch-time service and made some progress this afternoon. Thierry is in a podium position at the end of today, which is obviously great - but it is not our target. We have a long final day ahead of us tomorrow so our objective is to keep both cars on the road and to conclude our learning targets from this rally."