The Hyundai Shell World Rally Team headed to Rally Mexico while holding a provisional podium position after last week’s high-altitude seven stages, which Thierry Neuville excelled. The team stayed focused on securing a two-car finish in the third WRC event, which will allow the team to add more experience and data in its first year of competition.
“It has been another day of intensive learning for the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team as we continue to gather more experience from the unique conditions of Rally Mexico. Both crews were effectively sweeping the roads in this morning’s first stage as they started first and fourth, encountering tough road conditions. Thierry is in a podium position at the end of today which is obviously great but it is not our target. Chris, too, has made significant improvements compared to our difficult Friday. Our objective is to keep both cars on the road and to conclude our learning targets from this rally,” said team principal Michel Nandan.
The event last March 8 includes two stages, the SS12 Ibarilla 1 (30.33km) and the SS13 Otates (53.69km), that gave Hyundai Shell World Rally Team a real challenge. The 70km of stage run throughout that day gave the team a chance to improve from the previous challenge as Neuville moved from eighth on Friday to third at the end of Saturday with a podium well in his sights and with Atkinson sitting in seventh position.
Taking part in his first WRC event for Hyundai Shell World Rally Team, Atkinson advanced to seventh overall, which gives him the confidence to boost his performance.
“It was easy to make a mistake so we took it easy and stayed out of trouble. We played with the balance of the car over lunch to improve the handling in the conditions which helped in SS14 but further changes before SS15 weren’t really in the right direction. Even so, we had a better day and learned a lot. We moved up the rankings but (tomorrow) our objective is to reach the end of the rally and to bring our learning from this event to a positive conclusion,” Atkinson said.
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