Hyundai Motorsport says Safari Rally is the place to put up their house in order after a disappointing outing in the Sardegna rally in Italy early this month.
Sardegna was the fifth leg of the 2021 WRC series that heads to Estonia after Naivasha.
The Korean vehicle manufacturer had a healthy lead in Italy through the 2019 WRC champion Ott Tanak only for the latter to hit a rock that ultimately relegated him to a 24th place finish.
“Rally Italia Sardegna proved to be a difficult event for us,” noted Andrea Adamo.
Team Principal, Hyundai Motorsport. “Ott had been leading and Dani (Sordo) was second when they both had problems and were forced to re-join the rally, salvaging some points in the Power Stage,” he stated.
The Hyundai attackers led by Tanak and Thierry Neuville jetted into the country on Sunday night aboard a chartered plane.
They have been busy in Naivasha doing recce to familiarise themselves with the rally routes.
“Welcome to Kenya and a return to the iconic Safari Rally,” Adamo told the drivers.
“This is the place to make up some ground in our fight for the 2021 WRC title.”
“First, I must say thank you to Thierry and Martijn (Wydaeghe) for the valuable points they scored in third place and for topping the Power Stage in Italy.
“They are certainly delivering a consistent first season together although I know they would like to achieve more,” said Adamo.
“For Ott and Martin (Jarveoja), and Dani and Borja (Rozada) it was, unfortunately, a weekend of what could have been in Italy,” Adamo noted.
Adamo has reiterated that they are not intimidated by their Toyota Gazoo Racing opponents, led by World champion Sebastien Ogier, as they head for the WRC Kenyan leg.
“We aren’t scared and we will work as hard as we’ve always done.
“We are not happy when we don’t get the results we know we can achieve but we realise that if we carry on as we are, working together, we can catch up,” said Adamo.
Apart from Adamo and a few crew, Safari Rally is new to most Hyundai squad including all the drivers.
“It’s new to Thierry, Ott and Dani so it will be a mission of discovery for them and plenty to adapt and get used to.
“But they are all extreme professionals and I have no doubt they will cope with the challenges that will be thrown at them.
“It will be the same for our mechanics and engineers, whose hard work and diligence will once again be required in order for our cars to reach the finish.”
The Safari Rally provides a return to a Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC for 19-year old Oliver Solberg and his co-driver Aaron Johnston.
Oliver is the son of 2003 WRC champion Letter Solberg.
“Having impressed us all with his speed on Arctic Rally Finland, we look forward to more progression from Oliver, who was just a baby when the
Safari was last part of the WRC,” Adamo said.
“Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo continue as Hyundai Motorsport team-mates for the eighth year in a row in 2021.” Hyundai Motorsport.
Manufacturers 2021 WRC series points
1.Toyota Gazoo Racing 231 points
2.Hyundai Shell Mobis 182
3.M-Sport Ford 82
4.Hyundai 2C Competition 28