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Australia
Thierry Neuville, Martijn Wydaeghe, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1
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Analysis

How team orders could make Hyundai's historic Acropolis Rally a Greek tragedy

Thierry Neuville led a maiden Hyundai 1-2-3 in the World Rally Championship, as the previously soft i20 N became a battle-hardened Greek warrior at the Acropolis Rally. But with team orders in play between the winner and Hyundai’s title protagonist Ott Tanak, could the result come back to haunt the team?

Sport has a strange habit of conjuring up unthinkable results when you least expect them. This year's Acropolis Rally fell into that category as Hyundai – the team that has struggled the most with reliability this year – conquered one of the World Rally Championship's most brutal tests by scoring a history-making podium lockout.

Hyundai's fragile i20 N created headlines for all the wrong reasons in the first half of the season as the South Korean marque, which was late to commit to the WRC's hybrid Rally1 regulations, found itself on the back foot. A severe lack of development was highlighted at the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally, where Thierry Neuville's sixth place, almost eight minutes adrift of the pace, was the best it could deliver. The list of problems to fix was lengthy but one by one Hyundai has addressed them. Even so, nobody could have predicted the culmination of its recovery to be as emphatic as Neuville leading home Ott Tanak and Dani Sordo to sweep the Greek podium.

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