Dani Sordo says his fourth place finish on Rally de Portugal was “not too bad”, although he concedes Hyundai is still “missing a bit of performance” compared to its rivals.
Sordo was running third at the end of the opening day in his new generation i20 WRC, just 5.4 seconds behind Sebastien Ogier in P2 and 15 seconds up on Andreas Mikkelsen in P4. However, the Spaniard was unable to stay with the Volkswagen Polo R WRCs on Saturday and slipped back to fourth, eventually ending up more than a minute adrift.
“It was a steady end to our rally on today's final stages,” Sordo said. “Our aim was to bring the car home safely and to secure our fourth position. Unfortunately, we weren't able to do anything about the gap to the podium so we took no risks.
“I enjoyed the stages this morning; it's always incredible to compete in a World Rally car in front of such enthusiastic spectators. The new generation i20 WRC has been great to drive on these fantastic stages this weekend. We know we are missing a bit of performance compared to our rivals in the more slippery conditions, but we're working on that.
“Overall, though, fourth place is not too bad. We've taken some important points for the team, so we must now refocus our efforts on the next rally.”
The event, however, was a difficult one for Hyundai, with Rally Argentina winner Hayden Paddon
suffering that fiery exit on Friday, while Kevin Abbring
retired twice - hitting a rock in SS3 and SS10 - and Thierry Neuville
finished down in 29th position after running out of fuel on Saturday in SS11.
“We can't really be pleased with our weekend,” said Hyundai boss, Michel Nandan, “but it's a small consolation that we've taken our best ever Rally Portugal result. We couldn't have done more than that but it's frustrating we had so many issues along the way. There are some areas to improve in terms of car performance with the new generation i20 WRC on these stages. We also have to look at some areas of our operation to make improvements for the next event.”