Back in the lead!

A perfect weekend!

Each victory tastes special, but this one is unique for many reasons…

The first one –and not the least– is that we have many Portuguese among the team. They are the most passionate people and they work incredibly hard to make sure we can drive in optimal conditions. They gave us a massive energy boost throughout the whole weekend and this victory is also theirs!

But let’s go back to the rally. From the very first kilometers, our Hyundai felt great. And despite a disadvantageous position on the road, we managed to push hard and play in the big league.

Thierry drove to perfection, avoiding all the traps and taking risks as soon as it was possible to do so. The overall standing settled stage after stage and we finished the first day in the lead. Just an ideal scenario!

On Saturday we had to hold our position and avoid mistakes… this year again, many crews had issues in the super tricky stages of Rally Portugal. But here again, our duo worked to perfection and our car was quite simply fab.

There were five stages left this Sunday, including the mythical Fafe –to be driven twice. Impossible to describe you the feeling one gets when the car takes off after the jump in front of tens of thousands of fans! For both of us in the car, it’s a shot of adrenaline, pure happiness!

At the end of the day, it was mission accomplished: We score 25 points plus an extra 4 bonus points from the Power Stage. A superb result that brings us back in the lead of the championship!

I wouldn’t want to end this Road Book without a little wink to Charles Vanstalle, aka « Chavan » with whom I took part in the Legend Boucles de Spa, and who finished on the podium of Rally Portugal… back in 1969!
Next step, Sardegna. We know it won’t be easy but we’re willing to build on this momentum!

Viva Argentina!

Coming back to Argentina after winning here last year was something unique. I can’t think of any other country with such a passion for rallying. If you ever get the chance to come to a WRC round overseas, this is the place to go!

But let’s focus on the race, shall we? From the very first kilometers, our rythm was good. Thierry was super fast and precise, totally in control. Our i20 was just as fab and our settings perfect for those amazing but really rough stages.

If it quickly became clear that Tänak and his Toyota would be impossible to catch, we kept on pushing hard. And thanks to a great time in an epic and foggy 11th stage, we moved up the the 2nd position.

From then, we had to keep pushing and secure that good result to score important points for the championship… and that’s exactly what we did.

Last but not least, the Power Stage. I wish I could describe you how we feel in the Mythical « El Condor »…  a bit like gladiators entering the arena, it’s quite simply unbelievable. Thanks to a last push from Thierry, we were quickest through and scored 5 extra bonus points!

We are now just 10 points behind Seb Ogier and Hyundai increases its lead in the manufacturers championship. A great result that reflects the great work of the whole team during the rally.

Next step: Portugal!

Another podium!

Tight schedule here in Corsica, I’ll keep it short this time, I hope you’ll forgive me 😊

This really is a special rally for us. It is where Thierry and I drove our second rally together, and it is also the place of our first international victory.

As soon as you land on this island, you understand why people call it the Island of beauty. It’s simply stunning: turquoise sea, mountains and the most incredible roads… a proper playground for rally crews!

Corsica is also a very demanding race, with all the different types of asphalt you can think about, thousands of corners, very long stages and an incredibly high rhythm. To sign a good result here, you need a perfect cohesion between the driver and the co-driver.

From the very first stage, we decided to give it everything. We were really pushing hard everywhere… but we quickly realized that fighting for the win would prove really difficult, no matter how hard we pushed.
Despite this, I really must say that I was really impressed with Thierry’s driving… it was quite simply impossible to do more.

At the end, we finish on the podium. We would have wanted more, but it still is a positive result. The championship is still very long and this third place allow us to remain in the battle for the title. It’s all that matters.

We are now focussing on Argentina, another mythical rally.

Every point matters

Where do I start? 😀

Rally Mexico is always a massive challenge for the crews… and the cars!
The conditions due to the altitude that we face here are almost impossible to recreate during our test sessions in Spain, and the cars are really put under strain.

If Thierry perfectly managed to limit our time loss due to our first position on the road on Friday, 2 punctures and mechanical issues quickly ruined our hopes to fight for the podium.

Therefore, we stayed focus (and believe me it’s not such an easy thing on the Mexican stages!) and we secured important points for the championship. Once  again, I want to pay tribute to the whole team who did a fantastic job.

To give credit where credit is due, I must say that Seb Ogier and Julien Ingrassia really did an outstanding race. Hats off to them!

We are already focussing on Corsica, where we hope to be as successful as we were last year!