Hyundai driver Mick Gillett and co-driver Harvey Smith produced a stunning return to form at the recent Rally of the Manning Valley to finish first Hyundai home, win Class P2 honours and finish 8th outright. Gillett had not won a round of the Hyundai series since Taree in 2006 which set up his 2006 championship win.

Hyundai’s result on the 2008 ‘One-Make’ Racebrakes NSW Hyundai Excel Rally Series at Taree has changed the team’s run of bad luck this year. "We’ve had a change of fortune which I put down to the efforts of our service crew. We’ve had a pretty ordinary start to the season with some car issues but the car was fantastic to drive over the weekend," said Gillett.

The team only had one incident on a very slippery stage 3 due to a small error in the navigational road book. Co-driver Harvey Smith thought that he had made a missed call on a triple caution but it was later discovered to be a roadbook issue. ‘We came very close to ending our rally with the Excel sliding off  low wooden bridge onto the creek bank on the far side. The driver’s rear wheel hit a tree as we drove back up onto the road," Smith said.  "The Excel is an amazingly strong car and suffered no damage to any suspension and only body damage to the boot floor."

Team Hyundai Rallye was joined by eight other Hyundai Excels at Taree. 2008 Series leader Glen Farrant showed the way to the rest of the Hyundai field until putting the red Excel on its side in stage 4 which resulted in a seized engine. Other crews to have misfortune were Andrei Artomonov who hit a tree in stage 1 and  Dave Roberts and Stephen Horobin who both had electrical problems which slowed both crews early in the event.

With Hyundai’s making up almost a third of the field and three finishing in the top 10, the Excels are making an impact on Australian motorsport. The cars are proving tough in rallying and are getting closer to the top of the finishing order.

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