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!

A good revenge!

A year after a pile of tyres ruined our hopes, Thierry and I won Rally Sweden after a rather incredible race. We are only the third « non-Nordic » crew to achieve this! 🙂

It’s been snowing a lot here in Sweden, from the first to the last day, making the roads even more tricky.
To win here, you need to be really fast all the time, without taking inconsiderate risks. That’s precisely what we’ve done, pushing hard on Friday to get a good road position the day after.

It did pay off. We took the lead after the third stage and kept it until the end.
On Saturday, despite a spin we increased our lead over our team mate Andreas Mikkelsen and Craig Breen who both had a great rally.

There were 3 tricky stages left on Sunday. But here again, we worked perfectly together and we sign our first victory of the season with an extra two points from the Power Stage. This means we are now leading the championship. This is a great result for the whole team that once again did a top job!

We know this first place means we’ll be first on the road in Mexico, which won’t be easy but that’s part of the game. 🙂

A proper Monte-Carlo!

New season, new hopes, new ambitions. As every year, the championship kicks off in Monaco.
I’ve always loved Monte, it’s a massive challenge for the teams and quite possibly the most mythical rally in the world.

Over here, the smallest mistake can cost you the win… and unfortunately this is what happened to us. We lost 4 minutes in the first stage as our Hyundai got stuck in a snow bank. The road was covered in ice and we were probably 5 Km/h too fast… That’s part of the game and that’s rallying.

From that moment, our only target was to move up in the leaderboard. Despite all the tricks, despite a puncture that cost us another 30 seconds on Friday morning, and despite an unfavourable road position on Saturday that made us hit the stages covered in fresh snow…

Thierry drove to perfection, he kept pushing without taking useless risks. The car was perfect all along and the team did a fantastic job, once again. At the end, we end up fifth, with 5 fastest times and 4 Power stage bonus points.

Every single point will count at the end in the fight for the title. It was important to keep calm and move up the overall classification. Job done.

This was my 8th Monte, on top of my 7 historic Monte-Carlo… and I still get goose bumps every time I come here. I do realize how lucky I am to be part of the WRC. It’s a golden era for our sport and I am so proud to be part of this adventure.

Bring on Rally Sweden!

Finish on a high note!

Hi everybody,

What a feeling!

Ending up the season with a victory is such a great thing… and winning here in Australia on these tracks that seem to have been created for rally cars makes it even better.

We were determined to go for another good result after our podium in Wales, and the least we can say is that it did work out pretty well.

To win here, we absolutely had to be amongst the top drivers on Friday despite our unfavourable starting order… the first loop in the narrow forest stages was especially tricky and we had to « clean » the road covered in leaves and dust. But we did it and ended up the day in third position.

Our Hyundai is so competitive on gravel, and we were in for an epic battle with our new team mates Andreas Mikkelsen and Anders Jæger who were having a great run. Unfortunately for them, a double puncture ruined their hopes and we were leading the rally from Saturday afternoon.

Thierry really was at the top of his game: so fast yet keeping everything under control. Driving on these Australian tracks with such a driver was just pure pleasure. We had 5 more stages to go on Sunday with a 20 seconds lead.

Then the rain spiced it all up a bit, but we never doubted, always picked the right tyres choices thanks to the great work from the Hyundai weather forecast team. And despite the pressure from Jari-Matti who never gave up, we made no mistake and secured our sixth WRC win! 😊

There is no better boost for us and the team than finishing 2017 on such a high note and we can’t wait to be in Monte Carlo!

But for now, time for some well deserved holidays and some work out to keep in good shape! 😉

Pure pleasure!

What a rally!

The tracks through the Welsh forests are quite simply magic… fast and slippery, and if you add to that the tyipical ‘Rally GB’ conditions -Mud, rain, fog- you simply get one of the most exciting events of the year.

Despite a little ‘glitch’ and a 10 seconds penalty on the first day, Thierry quickly found the right pace… if Elfyn Evans’ Ford and his Dmack tyres were out of reach, we were playing in the big league.

For a co-driver, those stages designed in private woods are amazing! This is why I love rallying so much. Our Hyundai was perfect and we were faster than all the other Michelin drivers on Saturday… but a dramatic penultimate stage in the fog did cost us a bunch of seconds.

But Thierry bounced back straight on and we regained our 2nd position overall on Sunday morning and kept it till the end, with a 5 bonus points from the Power Stage. In conclusion, it’s a very satisfying result. Congrats to Seb Ogier and Julien Ingrassia who won the title… see you guys in 2018 for the revenge!

Before that, we will battle hard in Australie to keep our 2nd position in the championship!

Thanks once again for your support. It means the world to us.



Hello everybody!

So, I’m not going to beat about the bush… Some rallies are great and some aren’t: 2017 Rally Germany definitely belongs to the second category.

Things had started well, though, and after a great and very tricky Super Stage and a Dantean weather in the vineyards on Friday, we were in third position (including a masterful driving lesson given by Thierry when our i20 almost went off in a left turn).

And then, during the first stage on Saturday morning, disaster happened. In a slow turn, the rear-left wheel of our car stayed stuck in the cut, and the axle broke right off.
Game over.

It’s hard for us to swallow because we didn’t make any mistake. But it’s part of mechanical sports. In such conditions and unable to drive, it was kind of difficult for us to find the good set-ups for the Sunday stages, and we finally ended up scoring no points at the end of the Power Stage.

Even though this is not the result we hoped for, of course, I would like to thank all of our fans who did come to Germany to see us… it always gives us chills to see all these Belgian flags.

We owe you a revenge… and we’re decided to take it! There are still 90 points left and we definitely are going to fight until the last meter of the last stage!

Until then, see you in Catalunia!

Leaders of the championship!

For the first time in my life, I’m writing to you as the leader of the World Rally Championship! 😊
It’s been far from easy… and there’s still much to do, but it is quite a pleasant feeling!

Finland is like the Mecca of the WRC. Here, everybody talks about rally, thinks about rally and breathes with the rhythm of the stages. The race is absolutely amazing: made out of jumps and of long curves, on super-fast gravel roads.

On Friday morning, though, we understood that the weekend wasn’t about to go as we expected… The lack of grip didn’t suit our Hyundai and, despite Thierry’s acrobat skills, we couldn’t catch up with the leaders. Seb Ogier, who is our main rival in the race for the championship, went off the road during the third stage and we “only” had to handle our race in order to get as much points as we could, without taking too much risks.

As genuine rally lovers, we’d like to fight for the victory every time, but if we want to become world champions, we sometimes have to deal with less favourable situations and make the best of each race. And this is exactly what we did here. Thierry avoided every trap and we attempted to enjoy these amazing stages. We ended in sixth position in the overall classification and we got three extra points in the power stage. Thanks to this result, we’re now tied for first place with the French driver (with an advantage regarding the number of victories). The race to the championship title is only beginning!

I cannot leave without paying tribute to Esapekka Lappi’s performance, but also to Suninen’s and Breen’s… the young wolves show they have teeth! 😜

This is really good for our sport!

I also offer Julien Ingrassia my best wishes for a swift recovery; see you in Rally Germany for the fight! 🙃

We’ll almost be playing at home since every year, the German stages are taken over by the Belgian fans… I hope to see you all there!