Hyundai has announced that Dani Sordo will drive one of its i20 WRC cars on the next World Rally Championship round in Argentina following his eye-catching performance in Portugal.
The Korean manufacturer had originally planned to run Juho Hanninen alongside lead driver Thierry Neuville for the South American event, but Sordo's impressive performance in Portugal – where he scored two stage wins and was destined for a top four finish before technical issues intervened – has earned him another outing in his place for Argentina.
A vote of confidence for Sordo, who had been signed to Hyundai's revived WRC effort to mostly bolster its chances on asphalt rallies, the manufacturer stressed it was always the plan to review its driver policy over the course of the season to reflect performances.
“We felt that it was fair to give Dani a second consecutive rally participation following his excellent performance in Portugal,” said team principal Michel Nandan. “We had wanted to add a third car to our existing two-car entry but it proved logistically and practically impossible given the tight timescales and the required repairs to the car from the last rally.
“We therefore discussed with Juho to move his next rally back to Sardinia, which he understood and graciously accepted. Juho will still play an important role with the team in Argentina in the recce.”
Indeed, Sordo is delighted to be getting another outing in the car in Argentina, particularly after the disappointing outcome of his weekend in Portugal.
“I am very grateful to the team for giving me the opportunity to compete in Rally Argentina. We showed great pace and performance with the Hyundai i20 WRC in Portugal and it was a shame that we were not able to fight to the finish.
“I am keen to use that as a platform for Rally Argentina. I expect a lot of support from the local fans and I will do all I can to help develop the car to the same level as in Portugal.
With no opportunity to run three cars in Argentina as it had in Mexico and Portugal, Hanninen will instead return to the car for the Rally d'Italia Sardegna in June. Despite this, the Finn respected the decision of Hyundai.
“I fully support the decision made by the team to put Dani in the car for Argentina. Obviously, I would have loved to take part and I know the team considered three cars but I appreciate it's not possible in the circumstances. I'll still play a role during the recce and I'll be supporting Thierry and Dani with the rest of the Hyundai Shell World Rally team before getting back in the Hyundai i20 WRC at Rally Italy Sardegna.”