Hyundai Motorsports Thierry Neuville says that the team endured a tough opening day of Safari Rally Kenya on Friday despite coming away with the lead of the event. The Belgian suffered a number of punctures over the course of the day and speaking following the action he said:
“All day a little bit of dramas, especially with the punctures. “It was a tough day and we know tomorrow will also be a tough day.” We had some good stages today. Unfortunately, we also had a couple of punctures. Some parts were really rough with big stones, you couldn’t avoid everything; you had to just cross your fingers that you didn’t pick up damage. Thankfully, we were able to manage things and get the car back to service. We have learned a lot and the team will look closely at the car this evening to prepare for another challenging day tomorrow. Saturday’s stages have different characteristics, and I’m sure we’ll see more things happening, so we have to stay out of trouble.
Ott Tanak came home in third place and speaking following the action he commented saying:
“For us, it was a consistent day apart from a bit of drama in the final stage with the tyres. I have been doing about 60% of my maximum today because it has been so demanding. We are only at the appetisers; the main meal is coming tomorrow. It is only going to get tougher. Even if you are two minutes behind, you could still win this rally based on what we’ve seen so far. The middle stage of the loop was really cool and looked like proper Safari. Overall, it was challenging, and I have to say we’re happy to be here.
Dani Sordo suffered a retirement on Friday and speaking following the action he commented saying:
I had really been enjoying the experience of Safari Rally Kenya in the opening stages, so it was disappointing to have to retire. When you watch back the video you can see we took a stone in the middle of the road that broke the suspension arm on the car. After that, the steering locked so the car started to slide, and we went into the bushes. Nothing we could do – and we were lucky that we didn’t roll because otherwise we might not have been able to re-start. It was an amazing stage to drive, really fast, and I wasn’t pushing too much. We will aim to be back tomorrow to fight for points and to finish this incredible rally
Hyundai Team Principal Andrea Adamo commented saying:
This really has been a day of survival, and it looks set to get even tougher over the next two days. We have seen a few issues and punctures but seeing these stages I think it’s to be expected. We can’t really lament those situations because it’s part of the Safari Rally challenge. Thierry and Martijn have had a good day and remained calm in the face of the difficulty. The rally is still very, very long and we expect more surprises, so we have to see how we can survive what’s still to come.