Monday | 01 May 2017

Nandan: 'It was intense'

Hyundai Motorsport boss Michel Nandan has praised Thierry Neuville's dramatic last-stage victory at YPF Rally Argentina - describing the Belgian's win as 'remarkable'.

After a incident-filled opening day, Neuville began an epic fight-back on Saturday to reduce the gap to rally leader Elfyn Evans. From one minute down at the start of the second day, he was just six-tenths behind going into the Power Stage.

His subsequent stage win was enough to overturn Evans's slender lead and to take the win by 0.7sec - the third closest ever finish in the WRC after the rounds in Jordan in 2011 (0.2s) and New Zealand in 2007 (0.3s).

After his earlier difficulties, and problematic events for team-mates Hayden Paddon and Dani Sordo, Hyundai team boss Michel Nandan acknowledged it was a massive relief to see Neuville take the win.

"It was an incredible finale for a thrilling rally. Until you reach the finish, you cannot say ok it is done, but I think it was a really intense rally," he said.

"To win by such a small margin after 360km is remarkable, and it’s no surprise that it’s one of the closest finishes ever. Argentina is a tough place to come rallying and we knew it would be hard on these new cars in their first event here. We had our fair share of issues and misfortune across all three cars, but it’s sometimes a question of fighting through to the finish."

"If we have some more rallies like that I think the Championship will be really great. It was fantastic from start to end," he added.

The result marks Hyundai's second win in a row and strengthens its grip on second place in the Manufacturers’ Championship. Following Hayden Paddon's success last year, Argentina also becomes the first rally where Hyundai has taken repeat victories with a Power Stage finale.


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