Hyundai Motorsport ace Thierry Neuville aims high at Rally de Portugal

Thierry Neuville and his co-driver Martijn Wydaeghe in action during the Croatia Rally 2024, the 4th round of the 2024 World Rally Championship (WRC), driving the Hyundai i20 Rally1 on the challenging roads near Zagreb, Croatia.©Imago

Hyundai Motorsport ace Thierry Neuville aims high at Rally de Portugal

Festus Chuma 11:50 - 05.05.2024

Hyundai's Thierry Neuville is aiming for success at the Rally de Portugal by focusing on car setup and strategy amidst a tight championship.

Hyundai Motorsport ace Thierry Neuville is revving up for a strong comeback at the upcoming Rally de Portugal scheduled for May 9-12 as part of the 2024 FIA World Rally Championship. 

Fresh from a podium finish in Croatia, Neuville alongside co-driver Martijn Wydaeghe, is determined to navigate the gravel and challenges of Portugal to add another victory to their tally.

The Rally de Portugal is no stranger to Neuville who clinched victory on this terrain back in 2018.

The Belgian driver's experience and expertise on the gravel will be crucial as he currently leads the drivers' standings by a slim margin of six points.

 Following a nail-biting performance in Croatia where he led for the majority, Neuville finished third but remains optimistic about returning to the top of the podium.

The 2019 winners, Ott Tanak and Martin Jarveoja, are also part of the Hyundai roster, having shown consistent strength throughout the season in the Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid. 

The Estonians are hot on their teammate's heels, having left Croatia as the second-highest scoring crew. With their eyes set on the gravel, a surface they are well-acquainted with, Tanak and Järveoja are poised to make significant strides in the championship standings.

Adding to the team's strength, Dani Sordo and Candido Carrera make their return to the Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team lineup. 

The Spanish duo, known for their prowess on gravel, have secured podium finishes in their last two appearances in Portugal. 

With a record of seven top-three finishes at this event, Sordo's expertise could be a key factor in narrowing the seven-point gap in the manufacturers' standings.

Neuville shared his strategy and expectations for the upcoming rally, emphasising the importance of car setup and confidence.

“Success in Portugal comes down to the same factors as always. We need consistency, a good setup and confidence in the car. Road conditions and position will also make a huge difference to how we perform: whenever it’s raining we will be fast, when it’s dry we will struggle more because everyone knows the stages well," he explained as Hyundai Motorsports portal.

He continued, discussing his preparations and focus for the rally. 

"I was happy with the car in the pre-event test, and we focused on a setup that would bring me the necessary confidence to push in very slippery conditions. This more precise car is needed for all the corner combinations, but I still need some of the traction we focused on in Kenya. My goals are to optimize our performance on Friday and Saturday before pushing on Sunday for maximum points, I would love to finish on the top step of the podium," Neuville added.

The Rally de Portugal is notorious for its ever-changing gravel paths and formidable jumps, presenting unpredictable challenges that can change the dynamics of the race with each pass. 

The infamous Fafe stage featuring a prominent jump is set to be a highlight on the final day testing the agility and skill of the competing crews.

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