Thursday | 11 Mar 2021

Hyundai starts Croatia build-up in Italy

Hyundai Motorsport will warm-up for next month’s Croatia Rally (22 - 25 April) when Thierry Neuville and Craig Breen make guest appearances at this week’s Rally Il Ciocco e Valle del Serchio (12 - 13 March) in Italy.

They join a packed entry list in i20 R5 cars for 10 special stages and 92km of Tuscan Tarmac ahead of the sealed surface third round of the FIA World Rally Championship.

Neuville will also use the opportunity to spend more time competing and getting comfortable with new co-driver Martijn Wydaeghe.

Following communication issues on their way to third place at last month’s Arctic Rally Finland Powered by CapitalBox, Neuville asked Flemish-speaking Wydaeghe to work on the pronunciation of certain words to help in the delivery and comprehension of their French pace notes.

Communication between Thierry Neuville and co-driver Martijn Wydaeghe remains a work in progress

“It’s going to be good to spend more time driving with Martijn,” said Neuville. “And, it’s good to be driving on Tarmac before we go to Croatia.

“As well as the driving, Ciocco will give more time for Martijn and me to work with the gravel note crew. It’s really just a good opportunity to make some more experience and to use what is quite a long break before round three.”

Neuville has been delighted with Wydaeghe since his fellow countryman replaced Nicolas Gilsoul at short notice ahead of January’s season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo.  

“I am really impressed with how he is in the car, he’s very calm, very quiet and relaxed. He’s very motivated and he’s giving me a boost with some new things around me. It’s working and helping me to push myself even more.”

Wydaeghe aims for top marks in French class

Wydaeghe aims for top marks in ...

Co-driver Martijn Wydaeghe has signed up for French lessons to improve his pace note delivery alongside Thierry Neuville.

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Breen is no stranger to Italian rallying and won Rally di Alba in an i20 R5 last season and Rally Sanremo in 2019 while driving a Škoda.

The Irishman has not yet been confirmed in Hyundai’s Croatia line-up, but is strongly tipped to start alongside Neuville and Ott Tänak.

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