Hyundai Motorsport secures WRC runner-up position with Wales Rally GB result
Oct. 30, 2016 - Hyundai Motorsport has added another podium to its list of 2016 achievements after securing third place in Wales Rally GB, the penultimate round of this year’s FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).
- Hyundai Motorsport has achieved another podium finish in Wales Rally GB, the penultimate round of the 2016 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC)
- Thierry Neuville fended off team-mate Hayden Paddon to secure his sixth podium of the season and fourth in a row after Germany, Corsica and Spain
- The result secures Hyundai Motorsport second place in the Manufacturers’ Championship - the team’s best ever result in WRC.
The result means that Hyundai Motorsport has secured second place in the WRC Manufacturers’ Championship behind Volkswagen Motorsport with one rally still to run. It is the team’s best result having finished fourth in its debut season in 2014 and narrowly missing out on second place last year.
Third place in this weekend’s rally also marks the first Wales podium for the team in its third season of WRC after two previous fourth-place finishes.
At the end of 22 competitive stages, run over a total distance of 330km, Thierry Neuville was able to defend a hard-fought third position from team-mate Hayden Paddon. The Belgian also picked up an additional Championship point for claiming the third fastest time in the rally-concluding Power Stage.
Paddon finished the event in fourth position, just under 20 seconds behind Neuville, his personal best result in Wales Rally GB. Dani Sordo ensured all three New Generation i20 WRCs completed the tricky Welsh event inside the top-six with a steady run to sixth.
The final morning saw crews tackle six stages on the notoriously challenging and slippery Welsh gravel. The 7.70km Clocaenog, 10.41km Alwen and 7.93km Brenig stages all posed their own tests with the latter of the three acting as the Power Stage. Against a backdrop of autumnal colour, all three Hyundai Motorsport crews negotiated the muddy stages cleanly and without any major issues.
For Neuville (#3 New Generation i20 WRC) and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul, third place signifies their sixth podium of the season, and fourth in a row. Another strong collection of points moves them clearly into second position on the Drivers’ Championship with 143 points, 14 ahead of third-placed Andreas Mikkelsen.
Neuville said: “It’s been a really nice weekend for us. The team has done an incredible job and we’ve had a good car to contest these tricky stages. We didn’t have the pace to fight for the win but I’m still happy with a podium result. To take a Power Stage point was an added bonus, even if we weren’t pushing for it. The conditions this weekend have been typically demanding but we’ve kept our focus and found some good pace when it has mattered. It’s nice to take the team’s first Wales Rally GB podium, and to continue our run of positive results. It’s particularly pleasing to move clearly into second place in the Drivers’ Championship. Our aim is now to finish the season on a high in Australia.”
Like in Spain, Paddon (#20 New Generation i20 WRC) and co-driver John Kennard only narrowly missed out on a podium finish. Despite a tough weekend, the Kiwi crew took their best Wales Rally GB result and hold fourth in the Drivers’ Championship, just three points adrift of third.
Paddon said: “We’ve had a hard weekend, so to take fourth place isn’t too bad. We were involved in a tight battle with Thierry for the final podium position, but we weren’t able to take the fight any closer to him. All we could do was keep the gap as small as possible to remind him that we were there, but he had it covered. It’s the second rally in a row where we’ve just missed out, but there are still plenty of positives to take from this event. We know we have areas where we can improve in these conditions. I’ve had to work on adapting my driving style this weekend; this experience will be useful for the future. We now look ahead to Australia, with some positive momentum and a good road position.”
It’s been a disappointing rally for Sordo (#4 New Generation i20 WRC) and co-driver Marc Martí after their second-place finish in Spain a fortnight ago. Sixth place, however, consolidates Sordo’s own fifth place in the Drivers’ table – only 10 points from third in the Championship standings.
Sordo said: “It’s really been a weekend to forget for us. We weren’t able to find a rhythm on these slippery stages, and we lacked confidence on all days. Our aim this morning was simply to bring the car home and to take some points, which we thankfully achieved without any issues. We have to sit down to analyse why we couldn’t repeat the sort of pace we have enjoyed in other events this season. I have tried my absolute best but nothing we did delivered any real improvements. I’m determined to bounce back in Australia.”
Neuville’s third place means that Hyundai Motorsport has now taken 11 podiums in total this season, finishing in the top-three in nine out of the 12 events held. The team has confirmed its second place in the Manufacturers’ Championship on 285 points with Neuville, Paddon and Sordo all inside the top-five on the Drivers’ classification.
Team Principal Michel Nandan commented: “Firstly, we are all delighted to secure second place in the Manufacturers’ Championship with today’s result. It’s a special moment in our history and confirmation of our most competitive season in the WRC. It’s actually been a bittersweet weekend from a performance point of view. On the one hand, I am pleased we could take our first ever Welsh podium, thanks to a strong showing from Thierry and Nicolas. On the other hand, we were not able to put up a stronger fight for the top-two positions, which shows there are some areas of performance where we still need to improve. Looking at the positives, the New Generation i20 WRC ran reliably all weekend, and all three crews finished in the top-six - by far our most competitive showing in Wales to date. We can look positively towards the final event of the season.”
Rally Australia will bring the 2016 FIA World Rally Championship to its conclusion in three weeks’ time, taking place from 17-20 November.
Overall Final Classification
2016 FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers’ Standings
- S. Ogier / J. Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 3:14:30.2
- O. Tanak / R. Molder (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +10.2
- T. Neuville / N. Gilsoul (Hyundai New Generation i20 WRC) +1:35.4
- H. Paddon / J. Kennard (Hyundai New Generation i20 WRC) +1:54.9
- K. Meeke / P. Nagle (Citroën DS3 WRC) +2:35.2
- D. Sordo / M. Martí (Hyundai New Generation i20 WRC) +4:02.6
- J. M. Latvala / M. Anttila (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +4:28.3
- M. Østberg / O. Floene (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +4:38.2
- S. Lefebvre / G. De Turckheim (Citroën DS3 WRC) +7:12.2
- E. Camilli / B. Veillas (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +8:19.3
S. Ogier 247 points / T. Neuville 143 / A. Mikkelsen 129 / H. Paddon 126 / D. Sordo 119 / J. M. Latvala 110 / M. Østberg 94 / O. Tanak 82 / K. Meeke 64 / C. Breen 36 / E. Camilli 28 / S. Lefebvre 14 / H. Solberg 14 / E. Lappi 12 / M. Prokop 12 / K. Abbring 10 / T. Suninen 8 / P. Tidemand 8 / J. Kopecky 7 / M. Ligato 6 / E. Evans 6 / L. Bertelli 4 / N. Fuchs 2 / A. Kremer 2 / V. Gorban 1 / K. Kruuda 1
2016 FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers’ Standings
Volkswagen Motorsport 322 points / Hyundai Motorsport 285 / M-Sport World Rally Team 154 Volkswagen Motorsport II 138 / Hyundai Motorsport N 136 / DMACK World Rally Team 92 / Jipocar Czech National Team 18 / Yazeed Racing 4
All results remain subject to official FIA confirmation.
About Hyundai Motor
Established in 1967, Hyundai Motor Company is committed to becoming a lifetime partner in automobiles and beyond. The company leads the Hyundai Motor Group, an innovative business structure capable of circulating resources from molten iron to finished cars. Hyundai Motor has eight manufacturing bases and seven design & technical centers worldwide and in 2015 sold 4.96 million vehicles globally. With more than 110,000 employees worldwide, Hyundai Motor continues to enhance its product line-up with localized models and strives to strengthen its leadership in clean technology, starting with the world’s first mass-produced hydrogen-powered vehicle, ix35 Fuel Cell and IONIQ, the world’s first model with three electrified powertrains in a single body type.
More information about Hyundai Motor and its products can be found at:
http://worldwide.hyundai.com or http://globalpr.hyundai.com/
About Hyundai Motorsport GmbH
Established on 19 December 2012, Hyundai Motorsport GmbH is responsible for Hyundai’s global motorsport activities and primarily for its World Rally Championship programme. Based in Alzenau on the outskirts of Frankfurt in Germany, the company embarked on its debut season in the FIA World Rally Championship in 2014 with a bespoke team of skilled staff and a brand new car, the Hyundai i20 WRC. The team made a strong impression in its first year claiming podium results in Mexico and Poland, as well as a memorable 1-2 in Germany. In its second season, the team was involved in a closely fought battle for second place in the Manufacturers’ Championship, adding more podiums and stage wins to its tally. For its third year in WRC, Hyundai Motorsport has developed a brand new car, the New Generation i20 WRC, which made its rally debut with a podium finish in Rallye Monte-Carlo in January 2016. The team registered its first win with the new car in Rally Argentina, the fourth round of the season.
Further information about Hyundai Motorsport is available at: http://motorsport.hyundai.com