Hyundai Motorsports Thierry Neuville took a stage win on the opening day of the final rally of the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship season, the ACI Rally Monza in Italy. The Belgian is currently in third place 21.6s behind event leader Elfyn Evans and speaking following the action he said:
I would say that we are satisfied with our performance in the car today. We pushed very hard this morning, almost at the edge, and the feeling was good. I was enjoying the driving, but the times were not there. Usually in tricky conditions the car is fast, but this time we weren’t and to be honest I don’t know why. Even in Spain, in the dirty places, we were quick, but it seems like we missed something this morning. Around the track, the speed is there so we’ll have to see what happens on tomorrow’s mountain stages.
Dani Sordo was fastest in the Grand Prix stage of the opening day of ACI Rally Monza and is in fourth place overall, just three seconds off third place heading into Saturday’s action and speaking following the action he commented saying:
We struggled a bit with the set-up of the car, especially in the slippery places, where we lost a lot compared to our rivals. The morning loop wasn’t amazing, we just didn’t have the precision that I needed. The feeling in the afternoon was better, but no less tricky. We made a small change on my car, in the direction we had in Catalunya, and we were able to find the precision we’d been looking for all day. A small change but also a big change. I expect tomorrow’s stages to be just as demanding
On his debut for Hyundai, Finland’s Teemu Suninen made solid progress throughout the day and is currently in eighth place heading into the weekend’s action and speaking following the opening day he said:
It has been a challenging first day in the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC. I’ve only had one day of testing with the car so in tricky places, I didn’t have the confidence to push hard. At the beginning, I was way too careful, but stage by stage I was happier. I was struggling a bit at times but that’s part of the learning curve and getting experience of a new car. Drivers always want to win the battles, and that’s the same with me, so if I can get a good feeling on Saturday, I will try to go for it a bit more. At the same time, it’s important to keep the car in one piece and bring it to the finish.
Team Principal Andrea Adamo said:
“If we look at the provisional results at the end of this first day, we cannot be satisfied; it has been a tricky day with different kinds of stages. In the circuit we have shown a much better level of performance than the stages in the mountains. For tomorrow, we better try to understand how we can improve in this area. Even if we have limited options in the championship, we are here to fight until the very end. Dani and Thierry have done a nice job today. For Teemu, it is not easy to jump into a new car and perform miracles. He is taking each stage step by step and tomorrow, we hope to show another improvement.