Rally Mexico Preview
- Hyundai Motorsport ready to renew close manufacturer battles as the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) heads overseas for Rally México
- The third round of the 14-event season represents the first full gravel rally of the 2019 WRC, in far hotter conditions than were faced at Monte-Carlo and Sweden
- Dani Sordo re-joins the team alongside Thierry Neuville and Andreas Mikkelsen as the Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team trio aims high in Mexico.
1 March 2019 - Hyundai Motorsport heads overseas for the third round of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), Rally México, aiming to continue its competitive start to the season.
Consecutive podium results in the opening two rounds have seen the team outline its ambition and potential in a tantalising battle between the four manufacturer teams. Rally México will present the first true gravel event of the season in climatic conditions that offer a stark contrast to those faced in Rallye Monte-Carlo and Rally Sweden.
Hyundai Motorsport will once again field a three-crew line-up with Dani Sordo and Carlos del Barrio joining Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul and Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger-Amland. The Spaniards, who will line up in the #6 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC, will begin their first WRC outing of 2019 on the back of victory with the Hyundai i20 R5 in Rali Serras de Fafe last weekend.
It will be precisely the motivation needed for all crews in their fight for victory in Mexico, a rally that brings the unique challenges of high altitude, intense heat and punishing gravel stages. From the colourful street stage in Guanajuato, the event ascends into stunning surroundings of the Sierra de Lobos and Sierra de Guanajuato mountains. Against a picturesque backdrop, crews will tackle a series of gruelling tests that will put drivers, co-drivers and cars to the ultimate test.
Notable stages include the daunting El Chocolate, reaching the highest altitude of the season in excess of 2,700m, and El Brinco, which features a brand new exhilarating jump for 2019. Testing is prohibited outside of Europe but all three crews have had the opportunity to prepare for Rally México with gravel testing in the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC in the south of Spain.
Hyundai Motorsport has taken numerous podium results in Mexico over the years, including its first-ever WRC top-three result in 2014 and its best finish to date in the rally, second place, secured by Sordo twelve months ago. The aim is to target one better than that in this year’s event.
Crew Notes: Neuville/Gilsoul (#11 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
- Second in drivers’ championship after two podium results in a row
- Three-time podium scorer in Mexico, including twice with Hyundai Motorsport (2014/2017)
Crew Notes: Mikkelsen/Jæger-Amland (#89 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
- Fourth place in Sweden represented Norwegians best result since Mexico 2018
- Mikkelsen finished on Mexican podium in 2015
Crew Notes: Sordo/Del Barrio (#6 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
- First WRC event of the season, a rally where they finished second in 2018
- Recent victory in Hyundai i20 R5 in Rali Serras de Fafe, as preparation for Mexico
Rally México begins on Thursday, March 7 with shakedown and a short street stage at Guanajuato. Friday, the first full day of action offers a varied itinerary including the 31.57km El Chocolate stage and shorter stages in León. Saturday incorporates longer tests Guanajuatito (25.90km), Otates (32.27km) and the fan-favourite El Brinco (8.13km) before returning to León in the evening. Sunday’s schedule covers 60km and three stages with the Las Minas Power Stage bringing the 21-stage event to its conclusion in style.
Hyundai Motorsport Crews' Info