The Hyundai World Rally Team crew Freddy Loix and Sven Smeets came home in eighth position taking points for the Korean manufacturer for the third consecutive event, after a faultless drive on Rally Australia.

A confident and determined drive for team-mates Armin Schwarz and Manfred Hiemer rewarded the German crew with 13th place overall.

Hyundai's Belgian crew had an excellent rally on which very few frontrunners either retired or incurred disabling problems and a trouble-free run for all three days permitted the pair to scoop up two more valuable points for Hyundai. Loix and Smeets set a string of top ten stage times that were competitive enough to stay well ahead of their main rivals - the Fords of Francois Duval and Mikko Hirvonen and both Skodas.

Loix complained of a slight lack of top-end power on the first day but it did not prevent the Belgian from steadily working his way up the leaderboard and to achieve a much sought-after first driver point along with those towards the manufacturers championship.

"I'm absolutely delighted to get a driver point at last and of course it's a great result for the team," said a smiling Loix. "For sure it has been a difficult event and having not finished for the last two years I was getting quite nervous today, especially in the last stage which wet and very, very slippery. But it's good to get to the finish and to score good points."

Adding to his comment about points, Loix noted: "Of course I always want the team to do well. They are a fantastic team to work with and I'm happy to have been able to score some more points to make all their hard work worthwhile. But I have also been waiting a long time to score some driver points. I thought we would get one earlier in the year and to be honest I really didn't think we would do it in Australia so I'm very pleased that the wait is over!"

German team-mates Schwarz and co-driver Hiemer had a more frustrating event as handling difficulties plagued them throughout but grit and determination saw the pair reach the finish on what was an incredibly difficult event.

"To be honest, I'm relieved to get to the finish," said Schwarz. "This rally has been very hard for us and we spent most of it playing around with the settings to try and improve the way the car was handling for me. After last year though, at least we both got to the finish."

Looking ahead to the next month with three asphalt events looming, Loix concluded: "I really don't know what will happen on the tarmac rallies. It won't be easy but then we had a surprise in Germany in the rain. If we have the same weather in Italy, Corsica and Catalunya then it could be okay but if it is dry then it will be difficult."



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