Will the situation heat up between Hyundai stars? “It’s a good problem to have”

Ott Tänak has made an impressive climb up the WRC standings.
Ott Tänak and Thierry Neuville
Ott Tänak and Thierry Neuville. Photo: Dufour Fabien/Hyundai Motorsport GmbH
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After the first three rounds of the season, Tänak had only 33 points and was trailing his teammate Thierry Neuville by a substantial 34 points.

In the Croatia asphalt rally, Tänak closed the gap on Neuville by just one point. However, in Portugal and especially in the recent Rally Sardinia, Tänak moved closer to the top of the standings. Now, the Estonian shares second place in the championship with Toyota’s Elfyn Evans, and the gap to Neuville is down to just 18 points.

You can view the current WRC standings here.

Last weekend in the Rally Sardinia, Neuville lost valuable points after crashing out on the second day. This opened the door for Tänak – and the Estonian star seized the opportunity.

“It’s clear that things are tight, Thierry and Ott are very close. We are in a good position, but we have only done six rallies, and there are seven to go,” Hyundai’s WRC program manager Christian Loriaux told the Belgian channel RTBF.

“It will be very easy to make a more costly mistake, like bending a roll cage on Saturday and not being able to continue on Sunday. When that happens, because statistically, it always happens to someone over a season, we lose a lot. We saw with Ott that we could come back in two rallies, but that also means we can lose everything in two rallies,” Loriaux emphasized.

If Tänak’s strong form continues, and Neuville can keep collecting points as he did early in the season, the championship fight could very well become a battle between the two Hyundai drivers. This might lead to some extra tension within the Hyundai camp.

“If things get tight between Thierry and Ott, it’s a good problem to have. I prefer that to having no problems at all,” Loriaux quipped.

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