This year’s Rally of Portugal was the first time Dani Sordo finished first of the Hyundais since the same event 12 months ago.
But the last time he was the top i20 home, purely because he was the fastest i20, was the Monza Rally in 2021.
In other words, before the Rally1 generation of cars had been introduced to the World Rally Championship.
Into the new era, Sordo has remained the consistent podium threat he always has been – utilizing his low start position on Fridays and driving sensibly to bank podium results.
But last weekend was the first time he genuinely looked consistently fast in a Rally1 car – leading a World Rally Championship event in an i20 N Rally1 for the first time and scoring more stage wins than anyone other than rally winner Kalle Rovanperä.
The Spaniard had faced some questions about his speed, not least from his new team boss Cyril Abiteboul after his last appearance in México, so was pleased to prove that he still has it in him to fight with the world’s best.
“Honestly, we are happy with our pace this year,” Sordo told DirtFish.
“Especially yesterday [Saturday] we couldn’t be quick in the morning but in the afternoon we showed to everybody we could be on the pace and we can fight again.
“I’m quite happy and today I did my job, I was not making mistakes.”
Abiteboul was pleased with Sordo’s performance too.
“Yeah, he was [impressive],” Abiteboul told DirtFish.
“In his style with some excellent moments, some moments where he was not feeling totally comfortable with the car. He had that one mistake [overshooting a junction] also which meant that he ended up being a bit closer than comfort to his team-mates. But yeah, eventually he’s been very solid and drove safely when he needed.
“He’s a very smart guy, he has got lots of experience in the world of rally and he’s the type of Dani that we like to see and to see smiling.”
Sordo’s next event will be Rally Italy at the start of June, where he is looking to carry on this momentum on an event he has won twice before.
“Sardinia is always good for us,” Sordo said. “We will try to make a good result.
“Séb [Ogier] will be there so we will have two super-fast Kalles there! It will be interesting.”