We have had another good rally here in Poland, finishing 4th overall and meeting our pre event objective of a top 5 finish. We were elevated to 4th after the finish because of time penalties that unfortunately Jari-Matti Latvala picked up after his final stage mishap.
Despite it not being a podium finish like Sardegna, this feels as good as a podium finish for several reasons. Firstly, the level of competition here was very close and amongst all the WRC cars there was only 1 retirement. Also this event is in complete contrast to Sardegna (Sardegna being the slowest gravel event of the year and Poland being the fastest) and to show we can be fast in varying conditions is a good confidence booster.
Coming into this event we knew there were greater expectations and to be honest no more than what I was expecting of myself. But at the same time I also knew that if we came here and put it off the road or similar then it would have devalued the Sardegna result. So it was key to stay calm this weekend, drive fast, consistent and get to the finish.
Throughout the whole rally we had no problems and didn’t put a scratch on the car. This is the first event since Sweden that we have had no problems and is a huge testament to the work the team are doing. It was also pleasing to be in the top 5 on most stages and to set several top 3 times against very fast competition.
To be the first Hyundai at the finish is also pleasing however, it is more amazing to see all 4 cars from the team finish. It was a huge effort by everyone to get 4 cars to the start line and for them all to run faultlessly throughout the rally is a huge effort.
Now the focus is on continuing to learn and improve. We know the areas from this rally that we can work on and while we didn’t feel as comfortable in the car this weekend compared to Sardegna, we have some good data we can take away from this weekend to work on for Finland. While Rally Finland is also fast, it is more flowing with fast corners and the tree lined roads make it easier to read the profile of the stages. It’s also the WRC event we have the most experience of, having competed there 5 times before. So we will be counting on that experience to aim for another top 5 performance.
For now it’s back to Germany for 2 days before heading back to NZ for 10 days. Katie and I are really looking forward to getting back home as its something we miss a lot while based here in Europe. While there we will be doing several PR events with Hyundai New Zealand and also attending the Speedshow in Auckland.
Thanks for all your continued support and look forward to keeping you posted in the coming weeks.