The Hyundai Shell World Rally Team has celebrated a landmark result in Rally Mexico with both Hyundai i20 WRC cars finishing the gruelling 22-stage rally in style and lead driver Thierry Neuville scoring a maiden podium for the team in third place.
The Belgian with his co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul have been on scintillating form this weekend after initially struggling with the gravel terrain and high altitude on the first full day. Neuville put in a string of competitive stage times on Saturday to edge his way into the podium positions by the end of the day before continuing his fine form into today’s final stages to consolidate the result and pick up 15 drivers’ points.
Chris Atkinson, with navigator Stéphane Prévot in the no. 8 Hyundai i20 WRC, added to the Hyundai celebrations by completing his first WRC event as a Hyundai Shell WRT driver in a solid seventh place overall, meeting all targets set.
The team’s podium result wasn’t without its moments of drama, as Neuville’s Hyundai i20 WRC developed a radiator leak at the conclusion of the final stage. Neuville and Gilsoul were able to fix the leak in the road section and make it safely back to the service park enabling the drivers and the team to celebrate their well-earned podium result.
Neuville said: “We are incredibly happy to have scored this podium result today and especially in a rally as demanding as Mexico. We kept our heads down and focused on delivering the best results we could in each stage without going over the limit. Our objective has always been just to bring the car home and finish the rally, so to take a podium is a really nice bonus for the team, who have worked so hard.
“Having the first-hand experience of rally competition is so valuable for the team and the data we have gathered this weekend will be extremely useful in further development of the Hyundai i20 WRC and the team overall. We are delighted with this result and to have exceeded our targets. It’s been a real team effort and I’m proud of what we’ve achieved, even if there is much more to come.”