Michel Nandan has urged his resurgent Hyundai Motorsport team to build on its victory in Corsica earlier this month when the FIA World Rally Championship continues in Argentina next week.
Thierry Neuville’s (above) win on the sealed surface island roads kick-started a season which had promised much but delivered little. The Belgian crashed out of the lead in both Monte-Carlo and Sweden before netting a podium at the opening gravel encounter in Mexico.
Dani Sordo ensured a double podium in Corsica with third place and team principal Nandan asked his squad to capitalise on those efforts at YPF Rally Argentina (27 - 30 April), the first of five consecutive dirt road rounds.
“We enjoyed our first win of the season in Corsica, but now we have to reset our focus on our next challenge – a return to gravel,” said Nandan.
“This year’s WRC is so competitive we cannot afford to rest for a moment. As we’ve seen with four different winners in the opening rounds of this season, the championship is wide open so far.”
Testing is prohibited outside Europe so Neuville, Sordo and Hayden Paddon, who claimed his maiden victory in Argentina 12 months ago, prepared with a test in the Arganil region of Portugal.
“Returning to Argentina, the scene of Hayden’s popular win last year, we are optimistic in our ability to compete at the front once again.
“Our Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC is still developing, with room for improvement in all areas of performance, but we have taken a good haul of stage wins in each round of the championship so far, and we hope that will continue,” Nandan added.
Neuville’s victory propelled him to third in the points and he wants to carry forward the feelgood factor.
“Argentina is a completely different challenge to what we faced in Corsica, but we will do our best to pick up some momentum in the championship with another good performance.
“Rally Argentina is probably the roughest rally of the season. It’s a rally where you need to take extra care in certain sections. The terrain doesn’t suit my style of driving perfectly and it is a rally where I have never found too much speed,” he said.