Hyundai World Rally team driver Dani Sordo stepped into an unusual role for the Monte Carlo Rally, becoming part of team-mate Thierry Neuville’s ice note crew in Bruno Thiry’s absence.
With icy stages changing all the time as the temperature rose, this was an absolutely essential role – and one that received a lot of criticism from frustrated drivers after stages on which the notes bore little relation to the actual conditions by the time the stage was run in warmer conditions.
But as the weekend progressed and Sordo and Neuville got the hang of what each other wanted, they struck gold – and ended up with a rally win.
Sordo explained how he’d got on in his unusual change of job.
What was it like being on ice note duty?
It was a hard job all the weekend. The timing is OK, it’s no problem. The problem was the responsibility to do this and to understand the pacenotes of the other language. To put what he likes, it was hard.
At the beginning it was hard but after we spoke at night and we were working a little bit at night, he was much better and then with the tire choices we made good ones all the time because he asked me all the time.
In Turini we were speaking a little bit and he was thinking for one thing and I said ‘I think this is not a good choice you need to change’ and after he said ‘I will put on whatever you decide’.
Did you tell him to take more super-softs or more softs?
More softs, because he was at the beginning saying four super-soft and two soft because the team was thinking a little bit for this but I see in the stage it’s four stages and the day will change and the grip you would have with super-softs is finished. Super-soft is for the ice and really bad conditions, not for 10 degrees and wet.
He said ‘OK I do this’ and after he said ‘what do you do for second stage? I keep like this like the plan we do’ and after for the last stage he asked me [too].
It was good because at the end I was feeling like he had a lot of confidence in me. In this condition he drove very fast when it’s really muddy and stuff like this but I do my best and I think we were doing well. Also the co-driver was a really nice guy, he know him very well and he helped me a lot.
You didn’t really want to do it?
No I don’t want to do it. I want to do because I’m free for the team to work but it’s the responsibility. When I do something I want do the best and it was not easy.
So this won’t be your new career after driving?
No! I leave this to Thiry. I don’t know what I will do but it’s not my job. I do it for a favour for him.