Ten months after preparing for the short trip to Monte-Carlo for the start of the 2017 championship, we face our longest trip – all the way to Australia for the season finale.
With three victories, ten individual podiums, 77 stage wins and 54 Power Stage points, there have been plenty of highlights so far this year. Despite missing out on the Manufacturers’ title, we are in positive spirits as we aim to finish on a high.
“We approach Rally Australia with every hope and intention that we can deliver a strong all-round team performance,” said our Team Principal Michel. “We have all the ingredients to be competitive.”
Our recipe for success in Australia will include a three-car entry. Hayden, alongside co-driver Seb, will compete in front of travelling fans from New Zealand. Thierry and Nicolas will be looking to secure second in the drivers’ table, while Andreas and Anders head ‘down under’ as defending winners.
Home and dry
“It is always nice to head back to our side of the world,” said Hayden. “It’s as close to a home rally as we get. The support we receive from the fans is unreal. We want to give them a good show – and something to shout about!”
Second place in Wales Rally GB moved Thierry back up to second in the Drivers’ classification. Although he cannot catch recently crowned champion Sébastien Ogier, a strong result in Australia will cement the runner-up slot.
“It will be nice to finish the season with a great atmosphere and some Australian summer sunshine,” commented Thierry. “We know we have the technical package to compete at the front, so with some luck I am hopeful we can do what we need to do.”
And the winner is…
In their third WRC event with our team, Andreas and Anders return to the scene of their triumph twelve months ago. Our Norwegian duo narrowly missed out on a podium in Wales, but there is every chance they can go one step further in Australia.
“Winning in 2016 is a great memory, and I hope we can be in the mix again with Hyundai Motorsport,” said Andreas. “It would be an amazing way to end the season and to prepare for a full campaign in 2018.”
Based at Coffs Harbour, Rally Australia covers 21 stages over a distance of 318.33km. The dusty, gravel event gets underway on Friday 17 November with new stages in the Australian forest.
“If we can put all the pieces together, I hope we can not only be in the hunt for victory, but also fighting for the podium with multiple cars,” concludes Michel.