Sordo gets new Hyundai WRC chassis for Portugal after Croatia fire
Sordo is set to make a planned first WRC start of a part-time campaign driving Hyundai’s third i20 N, which he is sharing with Oliver Solberg, on Portugal’s gravel roads next weekend.
Solberg, the son of 2003 world champion Petter, has contested the opening three rallies of 2022 and will switch to a Hyundai WRC2 entry in Portugal.
In Croatia last time out, Solberg lost control of the i20 N through a high-speed left hander and spun, resulting in a rear-end impact with a grass embankment.
While the Swede and co-driver Elliott Edmondson emerged unscathed, the car subsequently caught fire due to heat emerging from the exhaust.
Although the fire was extinguished and was unrelated to any of the car’s electrical components, the accident triggered the red light on the hybrid system which forced the car into quarantine for the remainder of the rally.
Hyundai has confirmed to Autosport the chassis has since returned to the team’s Alzenau base after safety checks were carried out by the FIA and hybrid kit supplier Compact Dynamics.
While it is understood the car is repairable, the team has been forced to build up a new i20 N chassis for for Sordo in Portugal.
Hyundai has since completed its pre-event test in Portugal with Sordo, Thierry Neuville and Ott Tanak all enjoying time behind the wheel on gravel.
Despite this being his first event in the Rally1 car, Portugal has proved a happy hunting ground for Sordo, who has racked up five podium finishes across his career driving for Citroen and Hyundai.
“Portugal is always really nice, so I am very happy that this will be my first event of the season, as I’ve scored a podium here twice in the past with Hyundai,” said Sordo.
“I’m excited to drive the car on gravel for the first time. I’m hoping to have a good rhythm with the car and adapt myself quickly to this new challenge.
“It won’t be easy as the other drivers have done three rallies already, so I hope the feeling for the car comes quickly.”
In addition to Sordo’s first start of the season, Rally Portugal will celebrate the WRC’s 50th season with an array of special activities planned.
A host of past champions and historic cars will gather in host city Porto to mark the occasion, while notable drivers will be reunited with vehicles from their past to conduct demonstration runs through stages.