Hyundai i20 WRC scores maiden podium at Rally Mexico © Hyundai

Hyundai i20 WRC scores maiden podium

The Hyundai World Rally team proved its doubters wrong yesterday as its i20 WRC car scored its first podium finish since the Korean brand’s return to top flight rallying in the WRC.

Lead driver Thierry Neuville finished in third place at Rally Mexico – only the third outing of the year for the team.

The i20 WRC showed strong pace at the first rally of the year in Monte Carlo but two unfortunate retirements meant the team left the principality empty handed.

Second time out in Sweden it was a better result, with solid seventh and eighth place finishes for the brace of i20 WRCs showing Hyundai had cured its small reliability worry and meant business.

Following that up with a third in Mexico and another seventh place from Chris Atkinson on his first event in the Hyundai, it’s a great result for the team.

This is a very public development year for the team, with a totally new Hyundai i20 WRC scheduled to arrive next year as well as a new road car from the Korean firm.

Hyundai i20 WRC scores maiden podium at Rally Mexico © Hyundai

But Hyundai is not shying away from the challenge.

For the next WRC event in Portugal, Hyundai will field three i20 WRCs, showing it’s serious about investing in the programme and developing the car.

Lead driver Thierry Neuville will once again spearhead the challenge, while Juho Hanninen and Dani Sordo will also drive for Hyundai, improving the team’s chances of scoring yet another podium and collecting even more valuable testing data to improve the cars.

Team principal Michel Nandan:

“Having three cars at Rally de Portugal will be very positive for us and it will allow us to continue our data collection and to accumulate more mileage in our debut WRC season.

“I think we have a good line-up for Portugal with Thierry, Juho and Dani – each of them will bring their experience and will give us their own unique feedback which will help us in the continuous development of the Hyundai i20 WRC.

“Thierry’s level of performance combined with Juho’s skills on gravel and Dani’s experience and excellent track record at Rally de Portugal make them a very good choice for the event.”

Hyundai i20 WRC scores maiden podium at Rally Mexico © Hyundai

Not only is it good for the team and the development of next year’s car, it’s also great for Hyundai and its N performance sub-brand.

We’re hoping the rally team will have a hand in fettling hot Hyundai’s of the future with lots of motorsport know-how.