November 13, 2022 – Hyundai Motorsport has concluded the 2022 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) with a 1-2 result in Rally Japan, securing the team its fifth victory of the season and the second of the year for Belgian crew Thierry Neuville and Martijn Wydaeghe.
Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja completed the final day of the new tarmac event in second place overall to claim their eighth podium of the season – and 16th in total since joining Hyundai Motorsport back in 2020. It represents a fitting end to the Estonian crew’s three-season tenure with the squad, which draws a close with this positive result.
On the final day on the picturesque Japanese roads, crews negotiated five tricky tests in complicated conditions with rain arriving during the morning. The schedule began with the short 7.52km run through Asahi Kougen (SS15), which also acted as the season-closing Power Stage (SS19). The longest test of the day, Ena City (SS16/SS18, 21.59km) followed, with a single pass of Nenoue Plateau (SS17, 11.60km) sandwiching the two repeated stages.
Both Hyundai Motorsport crews opted to take wet weather tyres as part of their final day package, in anticipation of rain which duly came mid-morning. Neuville saw his lead initially reduced to 0.6 seconds but a stage win on the subsequent dry test, and drama for Elfyn Evans, saw the Belgian earn a comfortable one-minute advantage – now over his Estonian team-mates. From there, both crews adopted a cautious approach as the rain arrived to secure a 1-2 result.
In terms of pure statistics, the 1-2 result is an historic one for the team with many notable milestones. It is the 25th victory for Hyundai Motorsport since joining the WRC in 2014, and with the top two positions, it scores the team its 99th and 100th individual podium results. Adding to the celebratory numbers, the team has also scored five wins in a single season for the first time (following success in Sardinia, Finland, Ypres, and Greece) – all in the first season with its Hyundai i20 N Rally1, a multiple rally-winner on gravel and tarmac.
Crew Notes: Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (#11 Hyundai i20 N Rally1)
Neuville said: “This victory feels fantastic! It wasn’t an easy weekend, or indeed season, but to end with this result is incredible and shows that the performance is there. Thanks to our weather guy for a great job. We knew that the title chase was over, but the target was to come here to Japan to win and we’ve achieved that with a 1-2. It has been a challenging season; we’ve shown a turnaround but there is still plenty of work left to do. Results like this give a special boost to the whole team. We know the areas where we need to improve; I keep believing in this team and I will keep pushing also. Next season will be a different challenge. Monte is less than two months away and we have to be ready for that.”
Crew Notes: Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (#8 Hyundai i20 N Rally1)
Tänak said: “It is good to finish the season on the podium. These were extremely tricky conditions at the end, and it’s been a demanding rally overall. For the past couple of events on tarmac, we’ve been lacking some speed to be where we should be. Still, we took the result that we could this weekend and there’s been nothing much left. We came to Hyundai Motorsport to fight for another championship title; obviously we have never delivered enough to achieve that, but it’s been an incredible experience. We’ve met another bunch of people and probably made some friends for life, so it’s been worth every year.”
Deputy Team Director Julien Moncet said: “Rally Japan has been an incredible event right to the end with a lot of stories and talking points. Today was all about the weather forecast and tyre choices; again, our team reacted well. The target was really to lose as little time as possible in the first stages in the dry conditions, and then wait for the expected rain to arrive. In these tricky conditions, Thierry and Martijn managed to keep the lead and took their second win of the season. Ott and Martin stepped up one position to end second in their final rally with Hyundai Motorsport. We wish them good luck for the future after our three seasons working together. This rally has been, for us, a reflection of our entire season; the start was dramatic, but we never gave up. Despite some issues, we fought back and finished on a high in one of our most successful seasons. This win will give us the necessary positive momentum to come back even stronger in 2023. The team has now all the tools in hands to fight for championships, our sole and only target. It was an epic weekend as well in Rally2 where a judicious move on tyre choice allowed Gregoire Munster in a Hyundai i20 N Rally2 to secure a maiden win showing once again the competitiveness of our cars on all terrains; a double podium as well with the brilliant second position for Teemu Suninen.”
Final Overall Classification –Rally Japan
|1||T. Neuville ||M. Wydaeghe||Hyundai i20 N Rally1||2:43:52.3 |
|2||O. Tänak ||M. Järveoja||Hyundai i20 N Rally1||+1:11.1|
|3||T. Katsuta||A. Johnston||Toyota GR Yaris Rally1||+2:11.3|
|4||S. Ogier||V. Landais||Toyota GR Yaris Rally1||+2:23.6|
|5||E. Evans||S. Martin||Toyota GR Yaris Rally1||+4:05.1|
|6||G. Greensmith||J. Andersson||Ford Puma Rally1||+4:07.4|
|7||G. Munster||L. Louka||Hyundai i20 N Rally2||+7:50.8|
|8||T. Suninen||M. Marrkula||Hyundai i20 N Rally2||+8:12.4|
|9||E. Lindholm||R. Hämäläinen||Škoda Fabia Evo||+8:25.6|
|10||H. Kovalainen||S. Kitagawa||Škoda Fabia||+8:59.8|
2022 FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers’ Standings
After round 13
|1||Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team||525|
|2||Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team||455|
|3||M-Sport Ford World Rally Team||257|
|4||Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team NG||138|
2022 FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers’ Standings
After round 13
All results remain subject to official FIA confirmation.
– End –
About Hyundai Motorsport GmbH
Established on 19 December 2012, Hyundai Motorsport GmbH is responsible for Hyundai’s global motorsport activities, including the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), Customer Racing and electric racing projects. In WRC, Hyundai Motorsport quickly established a strong reputation taking victory in its debut season in 2014. The team finished as runners-up in the manufacturers’ championship on three consecutive occasions between 2016 and 2018 before claiming its first title in 2019 and repeating the feat in 2020. Since the establishment of its Customer Racing activities in September 2015, Hyundai Motorsport has become a trusted partner for teams and drivers looking for success on the rally stages or on racetracks around the world. From its competitive i20 R5 rally car to the competitive i30 N TCR, Hyundai Motorsport-built cars have claimed victory in several championships, including national rally series in France and Spain, as well as consecutive titles in the FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) in 2018 and 2019. Designed and built at its Alzenau headquarters, the Veloster N ETCR was unveiled in September 2019 and heralds an exciting new era, in which electric racing is set to become one of the company’s pillars. Unified under Hyundai Motorsport, WRC, Customer Racing and electric racing are together playing instrumental roles in driving Hyundai’s global high-performance N brand, and are supporting an important perception shift for the Hyundai brand around the world.
Further information about Hyundai Motorsport is available at: http://motorsport.hyundai.com
About Hyundai Motor Company
Established in 1967, Hyundai Motor Company is present in over 200 countries with more than 120,000 employees dedicated to tackling real-world mobility challenges around the globe. Based on the brand vision ‘Progress for Humanity,' Hyundai Motor is accelerating its transformation into a Smart Mobility Solution Provider. The company invests in advanced technologies such as robotics and Urban Air Mobility (UAM) to bring about revolutionary mobility solutions, while pursuing open innovation to introduce future mobility services. In pursuit of sustainable future for the world, Hyundai will continue its efforts to introduce zero emission vehicles equipped with industry-leading hydrogen fuel cell and EV technologies.
More information about Hyundai Motor and its products can be found at: http://worldwide.hyundai.com or http://globalpr.hyundai.com/