It would be grossly unfair to say a gravel win has never looked on the cards for Dani Sordo.
The Hyundai driver has led numerous loose surface World Rally Championship rounds, but that win in Sardinia last year did come as something of a surprise.
No matter. They all count. And now Sordo’s got a taste for winning on loose surfaces, he wants more.
Back in the i20 Coupe WRC for the first time in almost five months during the recent Rallye Serres de Fafe in Portugal, Sordo’s heading to Rally México with a return to the podium’s top step firmly at the forefront of his mind. And having not contested any WRC rounds so far this season, his road position gives him a healthy leg-up towards that – though he’s not counting on it.
“I really want to win in Mexico and to take another victory for the team,” Sordo said.
“Our road position on the first day should be advantageous but that alone is not enough.
“The altitude makes it a difficult event, so we have to be prepared physically and to look after the car as well.
“I’m excited to be back in the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC at Rally México, an event I enjoy a lot and where I have always had a good performance.
“I have stayed close to the team in the opening events of the season [he was a last-minute stand-in as Thierry Neuville’s ice-note crew in Monte Carlo] and feel fit and ready.”
While Sordo has the best road position of the i20 drivers, Neuville is particularly eager to win given his past near misses.
He goes into the event as joint championship leader with Toyota’s Elfyn Evans, but behind on countback and therefore second on the road.
“I have great memories of México, including our first podium with Hyundai Motorsport and my first-ever WRC top-three finish the year before,” said this year’s Monte winner.
“It [México] has always been one of the rallies I wanted to win. I was never quite able to achieve it, but it would be nice to change that this year.”
Despite a win and a second place from the first two rounds, Hyundai team principal Andrea Adamo wants more – his cars having been outpaced by Toyota in Sweden last time out.
“We can’t say that we have been completely satisfied with the performance of our Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC in the opening rounds,” said Adamo.
“We are working hard to make sure we have the most competitive package at every rally.
“México will offer a completely different challenge, one that will put different pressures on our car and crews.
“We know that road order will have some influence with gravel conditions benefiting those, like Dani, who will be later to start on the first day.”