Hyundai Motorsports Dani Sordo heads into the weekend’s action in the FIA World Rally Championship 2020 season ending ACI Rally Monza leading the event one second ahead of M-Sport Ford’s Esapekka Lappi and speaking following Friday’s action Sordo said:
Today was a really tough day but we end it on the top of the classification, which is positive. We had a good start with a stage win on the opening test, but we lost a bit of time in the muddy sections which didn’t suit us as much. We tried to keep pushing to be at the front. Tomorrow, if it is as snowy as it currently seems, road position will be important to be further back and to see the cleaner lines. We made some important changes to the car to give me more confidence and improved handling, but in these conditions, it is never easy. We have had a good start but let’s see what happens
Thierry Neuville had a disappointing day having to stop following SS4 as a result of SS3 and speaking following the action he said:
It was not the end to the opening day that we wanted to have. After a mistake this morning, we were aiming to climb back up the ranking, pushing hard. We went too close to a concrete block in the chicane in SS4 (Cinturato), which damaged the suspension. We were losing time but the car was still driveable, the steering was OK and the rim and tyre too. Unfortunately, in the water splash, too much water got into the car and the engine stalled; we were not able to restart so had to stop the car where it was. I am really disappointed for the team that I wasn’t able to do the job I should have done, but – as always – we keep our heads up and try to improve. The team is going to fix the car so we can continue tomorrow.
Ott Tanak finished the day in fifth place, 17.7s behind Sordo and speaking following the action he commented saying:
The conditions we have faced today have been unique and some of the toughest of the year. Driving on tarmac with some gravel section is tricky at the best of times but, in this weather, you can’t imagine how demanding it is – especially with no gravel crew. We have had to read the road by ourselves, focusing on the surface to see where the grip would be. You have to be 100% on it to find the limit because if you push too much, there’s always one place that can catch you out. We have made it through and had a clean run to end the day. There was a lot of rain and aquaplaning, so it was far from easy. During the day I found some improvements; now and then the feeling with the car has been nice. Tomorrow’s stages might be even more difficult but if there’s anything more interesting than what we’ve seen today, I want to see it!
Hyundai Motorsport Team Principal Adreas Adamo commented on Friday’s action saying:
We are happy to survive this amazing day with two of our Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC cars, and with Dani leading the rally. He and Ott have done a really nice job today in some incredibly difficult conditions. Thierry made a mistake which does not help our fight for the manufacturers’ title and has lost him any remaining chance for the drivers’ championship but this is rallying and these things can happen. We have to enjoy the leadership of this rally for now, and stay focused, because tomorrow is set to be another tricky day.