Hyundai's Dani Sordo says he will be pushing for the “best times he can possibly get” on the mixed-surface RallyRACC Catalunya-Costa Daurada this week.
Sordo has had several competitive top-five performances on his home rally and after showing impressive pace in Corsica earlier this month will be out to put it altogether.
A good result will be critical too, as Hyundai is only one point behind Citroen in the battle for P2 in the Manufacturers' Championship – and only 13 points up on M-Sport in fourth.
“It is always a good feeling when I drive in Spain because it is my home rally – I like to drive here in front of a lot of passionate spectators. I have good memories here and will use the local support to good effect. You always get an extra boost from the home crowd!” said Sordo, who was fifth last year in Catalunya in the i20 WRC.
“I know the stages quite well but it is still a new challenge, especially as there some new stages this year. I like driving on both gravel and tarmac stages, but I enjoy tarmac a little bit more.
“It will be a fun event and I am looking forward to pushing for the best times that we can possibly get. We are hoping to gather as many points as possible in our fight for second place.”
Meanwhile, Thierry Neuville will have a point to prove, after making a mistake in the very first stage in Corsica, and following news he will be demoted
to the Hyundai Motorsport N car for Wales Rally GB, swapping with Hayden Paddon.
“Rally de Espana is a very special event because it is the only one where we switch from gravel to tarmac, so it is quite a challenge,” Neuville stated. "First of all, our team has to use evening service [on Friday] to make sure the car is ready by changing the suspension, gearbox and other components. From our point of view, we have to make the switch in our driving and ensure we have a good feeling, not losing any time.
"It is a very complex rally. The stages are very nice but we know that there are lots of new parts this year. I expect it will be a big challenge but I'm sure it will be a good weekend. We will be pushing for as many points as possible.”
Paddon, who will pilot the Hyundai Motorsport N car in Spain, and who inked a new three-year deal
with the team pre-event, added: “I am really excited to be going to Spain again. I like the challenge of the event's mixed surfaces and we had some really good times there last year. Obviously the gravel stages on the Friday are what I am looking forward to most, but the tarmac stages are also a real pleasure to drive on. This is especially true when conditions are dry and it feels like a big racetrack!
“Hopefully we can put some of the lessons that we have learned recently to good use there. We want to have a good push on the Friday on the gravel, try to get a good road position for the rest of the rally and try to finish near the front.”