British driver Justin Dale and co-driver Andrew Bargery made an excellent debut in their Hyundai Accent WRC³ on the South Swedish Rally, and victory on round five of the Swedish Rally Championship proved to be the perfect preamble to the crew’s WRC challenge.
The Swedish gravel event was Dale’s first outing proper in the Accent WRC³ and a careful approach on the first day (round four of the Championship) allowed Dale to try different settings and driving techniques to familiarise himself with the Hyundai’s handling characteristics.
Armed with more confidence, Dale started the second day (round five of the championship) setting two fastest stage times en route to winning the round ahead of numerous skilled locals, placing the pair seventh overall.
Needing to get mileage in the Accent ahead of his WRC debut on the Cyprus Rally, running from 20-22 June, Dale was pleased with the experience gained. "It wouldn’t have been sensible to arrive in Cyprus without some practice, and the high level of competition on this event has given me far more experience than testing ever could," explained Justin.
"The stages in Sweden were amongst the most fun I’ve come across – rather narrow but very fast, and everything happens very quickly. I’ve got great respect for the local drivers, but the Accent is fantastic and Andrew and I have really enjoyed ourselves. The Hyundai’s grip is better than on anything I’ve driven before, so I’m very happy we decided to go with MSD this year. Everything finally came together and we’re now beginning to understand the car’s capabilities. We’re still playing with the settings, but we’re now able to explore more of its full potential."
Justin Dale’s MSD-prepared Hyundai Accent WRC³ is sponsored by Dubai-based The House of Cars Group and PlayStation 2. Following the Cyprus Rally, Dale will contest Rallye Deutschland, Rally Australia, Rallye Sanremo, Rallye Catalunya and Wales Rally GB.Published 1 June 2003