The Spanish driver Dani Sordo will compete in the Rally Australia 2019 with his team Hyundai. Australia is the last appointment of the current World Rally Championship (WRC) season which is due to take place from November the 14th to the 17th.
The news has come as an extraordinary surprise. In paper, the last race in the Spaniard’s contractual schedule, which consists of eight races in total, was to be next week’s (October 24-27) Rally of Spain.
Both Sordo’s contract together with the British press’ campaign to help their compatriot Craig Breen get the Australian seat, has made the news all the more unexpected. Things, in the end, haven’t gone as everyone thought they would, and the coveted wheel of the third i20WRC for the last race of the season has gone to the Spanish driver.
Sordo, along with Norwegian driver Andreas Mikkelsen and the Belgian team leader, Thierry Neuville, will form the line-up in charge of defending the colours of the Asian team in Australia. It is expected that Hyundai will be racing for the constructor’s title against Toyota, that is unless the Japanese team suffers some major drawback at the Spanish Rally. Hyundai currently leads the standings with an eight-point advantage over their Japanese rivals.
Dani Sordo has thus been chosen to play a crucial role at such momentous point for the immediate future of his WRC team. With their decision, Hyundai demonstrates their faith in Spaniard, given the size of the challenge that they have entrusted him with.
Consistency and versatility
Hyundai’s final decision to hire Sordo for the job would have been that of the team’s top manager, Andrea Adamo, and it can probably be explained by the Spanish driver’s two greatest virtues. On the one hand, the consistency that he has displayed during the present and previous seasons, which has allowed him to score points consistently.
On the other hand, there is Dani Sordo’s extraordinary versatility, which allows him to be fast on any surface. His results have been quite remarkable over the last two years thanks to those two main strengths.
Dani Sordo got two podiums – a second place in Mexico and third in Argentina – in 2018 and a triumph in Sardinia in the current season. Another factor which might have contributed to his choosing is his specific performance at the Australian race. Although Dani Sordo’s last appearance at the Australian Rally was in 2016, when he finished fifth, he has always shown a great pace on the Aussi tracks.
His extraordinary driving skills become most notorious when he has to start from further behind, as it will happen on this occasion. The news of the Spaniard’s participation in Australia has been made public just a week after Hyundai announced his renewal for 2020. Sordo has been pencilled down for seven rallies with the team next year.
More news: Citroën and Ford
Citroën is the star of the other piece of news regarding the Rally Australia 2019. The French team has registered a third C3WRC that will be driven by Mads Ostberg, their official driver in the WRC2 Pro category. The Norwegian will join Esapekka Lappi and Sébastien Ogier to try and aid the latter in his quest for the driver’s title.
The Scandinavian driver’s main role will consist in finishing the race ahead of Ogier’s rivals for the title, Tänak and Neuville. Citroën’s strategic move is aimed at scratching some very valuable extra points, which could be vital in the settlement of the championship.
Another addition to the competition will be the Australian Haydden Paddon who returns to the WRC after a year of absence. The former Hyundai driver, who lost his seat in 2019 with the arrival of Sébastien Loeb, will be driving for M-Sport. The team from Cumbria has entrusted him with a Ford Fiesta WRC. Paddon completes the 26-strong list of participants at the closing event of the WRC 2019.
mages: Dani Sordo Twitter.