Hyundai Motorsport has its sights set on a return to the FIA World Rally Championship podium as the team tackles its home event at ADAC Rallye Deutschland (18 - 21 August).
Hyundai’s Alzenau base is two hours from the rally headquarters in Trier while Sunday’s rally-ending Sauertal Power Stage passes close to Thierry Neuville’s home town of Saint Vith, near the Belgian border with Germany.
The squad conducted an intensive three-phase testing programme in preparation for the first all-asphalt round of 2016. It started on the car-breaking Baumholder military ranges in July before a second session focused on differential and damper work. A final test last week allowed fine-tuning of the i20 World Rally Car’s set-up.
Neuville, who claimed his and Hyundai’s breakthrough victory in Germany two years ago, will be rejoined in Hyundai’s lead squad by Dani Sordo, who secured a similarly emotional success at the rally in 2013 but sat out Neste Rally Finland last month due to injury.
“Rallye Deutschland is the highlight of the season for me. It’s like my home rally, very close to the Belgian border and a lot of supporters come down with Belgian flags. It’s the rally we most look forward to, and it’s an event at which we have always been competitive,” reflected Neuville.
After the South Korean manufacturer missed out on the podium by less than five seconds in Finland, team principal Michel Nandan is hopeful of bouncing back quickly on home turf.
The Frenchman said:“We have prepared well and are looking forward to continuing the momentum of a positive season as we move onto the asphalt events. The vineyards, the military ranges and the Eifel hills offer contrasting challenges and we will be pushing hard to return to the podium and secure strong championship points in front of our home supporters.”