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Rally Italia Sardinia: Hyundai wants to extend its lead

Hyundai Motorsport travels to the sixth round of the 2024 FIA World Rally Championship with hopes of extending its lead in all three championships. Dani Sordo on third car

Similarly to round five, Rally Italia Sardegna is comprised of fast gravel stages that frequently alternate between wide and narrow roads. Set in front of a picturesque backdrop of the Mediterranean Sea, the idyllic setting does anything but reflect the nature of the rally. Deep ruts and extreme heat push both driver and machine to the limit, with the rough surface creating extremely abrasive conditions. These factors emphasise the importance of tyre choice, with crews looking for reliability and longevity as well as speed.
 
The crews representing Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team will remain unchanged from Portugal: Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe, Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja and Dani Sordo/Cándido Carrera. All three pairings performed well on the Iberian roads, using their experience to extract strong pace from the trio of Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid cars, while also avoiding major incident. This resulted in both of the team’s full season crews – Neuville/Wydaeghe and Tänak/Järveoja – standing on the podium, with Sordo/Carrera finishing closely behind in fifth.
 
A similar, if not better result will be the target at Rally Italia Sardegna, an event at which Hyundai Motorsport has excelled during its decade in WRC. Since 2014, the team has scored six victories, 14 podiums and 88 stage wins on the Italian island – all figures it will be hoping to add to over the course of the rally.
 
A brand-new format will be trialled at the 2024 edition of the event. Competitive running will be spread across 48 hours, starting with Shakedown on Friday morning and finishing with the podium ceremony at 15:30 CEST on Sunday. The condensed time frame also means less distance, with the 16 stages totalling just 266.12km. This shorter itinerary means the trio of crews must push their Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid cars to the limit and make the most of every kilometre.
 
Hyundai Motorsport President and Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul said: “Portugal proved to be another positive step forward for the team. From the double podium to claiming the lead of the manufacturers’ championship, and even to Ott feeling more at one with the car, there was a lot of good to take away from the event. We make the trip to Sardinia now knowing that we have three crews that can push hard on gravel, so we are hoping for a strong result. It has also been one of the most successful rallies for the team historically, so we are hoping for a clean podium finish.”