Team boss Michel Nandan has insisted Hyundai’s dream of winning the manufacturers’ title is still alive as it takes the fight to Toyota Gazoo Racing in Spain next week.
The Korean manufacturer lost its lead in the standings at Rally Turkey and then dropped further behind following a disappointing weekend at Dayinsure Wales Rally GB, the highlight of which was Thierry Neuville’s recovery to fifth after sliding off the road.
That’s handed the manufacturers’ championship impetus to Toyota which now holds a 20-point advantage with two events remaining, RallyRACC Catalunya – Rally de España (25 – 28 October) and Kennards Hire Rally Australia (15 – 18 November).
But with 86 points still up for grabs, Nandan is keen his team doesn’t make any more mistakes during the final phase.
“There is no room for error in Spain if we are to overturn the deficit in the manufacturers’ championship,” he explained. “We still have a mathematical chance to achieve our title goal by the end of Australia. We’ve seen that anything can happen in the WRC this season, but we also know it will be a big undertaking.
“We have a good car, a strong team and competitive drivers; we need to put all elements together and aim as high as we can.”
But Nandan’s drivers are likely to face stiff competition on the mixed-surface roads in Spain after Toyota team boss Tommi Mäkinen confirmed his squad has been working hard to improve the performance of its Yaris.
“I believe that Spain should be a good event for us,” the Finn predicted. “We have made some changes to help our car perform well on loose gravel, and we know that the Yaris has already been strong on asphalt.”
Three wins in a row for Ott Tänak – and a double-podium in Wales – has put Toyota in pole position to take its first title since re-joining the WRC in 2017 and Mäkinen is braced for a thrilling end to the season.
“I think the last two rounds will be exciting to follow, both for the manufacturers' championship and in the drivers' title fight: Ott will be pushing to the maximum and I am sure his rivals will be too,” he added.
WRC woos global TV elite
WRC Promoter presents broadcast plans in Monaco
Spain countdown: Rally rewind
We highlight a decisive moment in the 2017 title race
Lappi: Citroën potential appeals
Finn has confidence in C3’s performance