THIERRY Neuville, Dani Sordo and Hayden Paddon have been told to push their i20 World Rally Cars harder at Rally de Espana this weekend to benchmark their asphalt performance against rivals.
The mixed-surface rally starting on Thursday is the last opportunity of the year for the team to gauge how the car measures up, nine months after its debut at Rallye Monte-Carlo.
All three drivers tested on asphalt and gravel roads last week.
Team Principal Michel Nandan said: “With this being the last tarmac rally of the season we will ask our drivers to push more to see what level we have reached since Rally France and the pre-event test.
“Of course we are not expecting to be right at the top because this is still a development season for us but it would be good to see Dani, Thierry and Hayden go for it a little bit more without compromising our key objective, which is – as always – to learn as much as possible for the future by getting all our cars to the finish.”
Neuville, who finished fourth in Spain last year, is joined in the main team by local hero Sordo, who will be making his 12th appearance on his home rally.
Paddon will drive a third i20 under the Hyundai Motorsport N banner. The New Zealander made his World Rally Car debut in Spain last year, finishing eighth. He came sixth at Coates Hire Rally Australia last month.
“We would like to challenge to be in the top seven, while keeping in mind that with 16 WRC entrants, the competition here is huge,” Paddon said.
“We’re lucky to have the experience here and that will help us a lot as [my co-driver] John and I have good pace notes that we have worked on over the last couple of weeks.”
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