• Hyundai Motorsport has made a spectacular start to the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), fighting for victory in an epic Rallye Monte-Carlo
• Thierry Neuville took the battle down to the wire, ending up just 2.2-seconds from eventual rally winner Sébastien Ogier after a gripping Power Stage
• Sébastien Loeb, in his first rally for Hyundai Motorsport, claimed a fighting fourth having been in podium contention all weekend.
January 27, 2019 – In a thrilling start to the new 2019 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), Hyundai Motorsport was involved in a high-octane charge for victory at Rallye Monte-Carlo with Thierry Neuville finishing in a close second place behind Citroën’s Sébastien Ogier.
The closest ever Monte-Carlo rally went right down to the wire with Neuville extracting maximum performance from his Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC alongside co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul. After 300km, just 2.2-seconds separated the top-two, a sensational start to a new championship.
For Hyundai Motorsport, a fighting fourth place finish for Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena in their first rally with the team underscored a positive opening weekend. Despite just one day of testing prior to the rally, the crew claimed two stage wins and were firmly in the podium hunt.
Sunday’s itinerary included two runs through the 18.41km La Bollène-Vésubie – Peira Cava (SS13/15) and 13.58km La Cabanette – Col de Braus stages (SS14/16), the latter being run as the Power Stage. Neuville claimed his third stage win of the rally in SS15, taking the team’s total for the weekend to five, and scored three extra points in a captivating Power Stage.
It was a fantastic start to the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) for Hyundai Motorsport, as the team took an early lead in the manufacturers’ championship with 30 points.
Andreas Mikkelsen and Anders Jæger-Amland also impressed during the weekend, pushing hard for a podium on Saturday morning, prior to their untimely retirement. It was an encouraging performance for the Norwegians with plenty of positives to take onto Rally Sweden.
Crew Notes: Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (#11 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
• Second place represents Belgian crew’s best Monte-Carlo result
• Three stage wins over the weekend and three Power Stage points
Neuville said: “What an incredibly close fight! We can be pleased with this result, which gets our 2019 campaign off to a very positive start. Of course, when you are in with a chance of fighting for Monte-Carlo victory, you want to push for it but it wasn’t to be on this occasion. We gave it everything we had but a small mistake on Friday cost us the lead and we weren’t quite able to catch it back. That’s part of the game. We enjoyed the weekend a lot even if it wasn’t easy. We can now look ahead to Sweden, where we will be second on the road, ready for another nice battle. Thanks to the whole team for a great weekend in tricky conditions at times.”
Crew Notes: Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena (#19 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
• Podium contenders all weekend in first event for Hyundai Motorsport
• Fourth places helps propel team to top of the manufacturers’ table
Loeb said: “It has been an exciting weekend for WRC with an incredible battle for the victory and the podium. Fourth place is not so bad. I struggled with the set-up of the car on occasions, which is to be expected with such little time to test before the event. We made adjustments in between each loop in an effort to find our way, and we made good progress. We have to continue like this and see what we can achieve in Sweden. To be fighting for the podium in my first event for Hyundai Motorsport gives us all the motivation we need for the next rally. It’s a pleasure to be part of this team, and a positive way to start a new relationship.”
New season off to a flyer
• Team’s 44th podium in WRC and second in Monte-Carlo
• Early lead in manufacturers’ championship after first of 14 rounds
Team Director Andrea Adamo: “I hope everyone enjoyed the exciting battle as much as we did. It was incredibly tight all weekend, and a fantastic way to begin a new WRC season. If someone had told us before the event that we would finish second and fourth, I think we would have taken that. I’m very happy with the result, our most competitive Monte performance, and pleased that we could play such an influential role in the rally. All our crews demonstrated strong, competitive pace, and were capable of finishing on the podium. I hope this is a sign of things to come for the whole season. Next up is Sweden, an event we won last year. We’ll be setting out to defend that in a few weeks’ time.”
Final Overall Classification – Rallye Monte-Carlo
1 S. Ogier J. Ingrassia Citroën C3 WRC 3:21:15.9
2 T. Neuville N. Gilsoul Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +2.2
3 O. Tänak M. Järveoja Toyota Yaris WRC +2:15.2
4 S. Loeb D. Elena Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +2:28.2
5 J.M Latvala M. Anttila Toyota Yaris WRC +2:29.9
6 K. Meeke S. Marshall Toyota Yaris WRC +5:36.2
7 G. Greensmith E. Edmondson Ford Fiesta R5 +13:04.6
8 Y. Bonato B. Boulloud Citroën C3 R5 +13:56.5
9 S. Sarrazin J.J Renucci Hyundai i20 R5 +14:06.8
10 A. Fourmaux R. Jamoul Ford Fiesta R5 +16:03.4
2019 FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers’ Standings
After round 1
1 S. Ogier 29
2 T. Neuville 21
3 O. Tanak 17
4 K. Meeke 13
5 S.Loeb 12
6 J.M Latvala 10
7 G. Greensmith 6
8 Y. Bonato 4
9 S. Sarrazin 2
10 A. Fourmaux 1
11 T. Suninen 1
2019 FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers’ Standings
After round 1
1 Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team 30
2 Citroën Total World Rally Team 25
3 Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team 25
4 M-Sport Ford World Rally Team 14
All results remain subject to official FIA confirmation.