Motor Sport News - - Review: Wrc Form -

Hay­den Pad­don/john Ken­nard: with­drawn Thierry Neuville/ni­co­las Gil­soul:15th Dani Sordo/marc Marti:4th Monte fastest times:7 (Neuville 6, Sordo 1)

The ace in the pack from round one. The key here is not to be dis­tracted by Sordo. The Spa­niard was first on the scene of team-mate Hay­den Pad­don’s hor­ri­ble shunt in SS1 and that would un­doubt­edly have played on the Spa­niard’s mind. Sordo is also far from com­fort­able in change­able con­di­tions – he’s a con­fi­dence and com­fort driver of the same sort as Di­dier Au­riol.

In­stead, fo­cus on Neuville’s speed. The Bel­gian re­ally was the class of the field. He and the team de­served that win and would have had it if Neuville had been one or two mph slower through one left-han­der.

Hyundai’s i20 Coupe WRC is the car with the most carry-over of all the 2017 cars, and we saw last sea­son just how com­pe­tent the Kore­ans had be­come at cre­at­ing World Rally Cars. One of the pri­mary is­sues from 2016 was a lack of grip and con­sis­tency from the rear, and the Alzenau-based squad looks to have nailed that this time. Swe­den and the rest of the sea­son pro­vide a very dif­fer­ent prospect from the snow, ice and racy tar of round one, but what does Neuville think: can they win from round two on­wards? “Yes, of course…”

Who are we to ar­gue? Hyundai was the pre-sea­son favourite for the man­u­fac­tur­ers’ ti­tle and that doesn’t change. Pad­don tak­ing a rally or two to re­turn to his usual speed would be en­tirely un­der­stand­able.

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