Belgium, August 15, 2021 – Hyundai Motorsport has taken victory with its newest rally car, the Hyundai i20 N RaIIy2, after Customer Racing Junior Driver Jari Huttunen and his co-driver Mikko Lukka secured an historic WRC 2 win in Ypres Rally Belgium.
On an action-packed weekend, filled with incidents and issues for all WRC 2 contenders, the Finnish pair emerged triumphant to register a landmark result for the team, and their second victory in the class this season after Rally Italia Sardeg na
Oliver Solberg and Aaron Johnston had moved into the WRC 2 lead during Friday afternoon's loop. The crew continued to hold a commanding lead despite battling power steering problems throughout Saturday but were unable to fight on the final morning after an electrical issue prevented them from leaving parc fermé.
Ypres Rally Belgium was intended to be a learning weekend with crews aiming to understand more about the new Hyundai i20 N RaIIy2 on the challenging narrow, tarmac roads. However, both crews found their feet quickly and registered their first stage wins with the car, Huttunen in 555 (Reninge - Vleteren 2, 15km) and Solberg in 557 (Kemmel berg 2, 23.62km). It was a Hyundai1-2 on the seventh stage, despite Huttunen picking up a slow puncture that lost him almost three minutes of time.
The drama continued during Saturday’s opening loop, with the Finnish crew experiencing two separate punctures on the longest stage of the rally — Hollebeke 25.86km. Overnight WRC 2 leaderSolberg, too, endured a tough defence of his lead with persistent power steering problems that made for a physically tiring day inside the cockpit for both driver and co-driver. Even so, the crew ended the day on top of the classification with a margin of 3m36 over Huttunen/Lu kka in second place.
With hopeful expectations as crews prepared to head to the Spa- Francorchamps circuit early on Sunday morning, only three of the five WRC 2 contenders were due to start the final day. Sadly, for Solberg and Johnston, three became two as their car was unable to leave parc fermédue to an electrical issue, and they were forced to retire. Huttunen picked up the reins at the head of WRC 2 and pushed on through the final four stages, ending a tricky but successful rally with a Power Stage win.
Huttunen said: “I am pleased that we made it safety to the end of Ypres Rally Belgium and to take the first victory with the Hyundai i20 N RaIIy2. They say, ‘to finish first, you first have to finish and that was the name of the game this weekend. I am sad for Oliver and Aaron that they were not able to start this morning. It was not the perfect weekend for Us, but luckily, we made it through after we lost six-and-a-half minutes due to three separate punctures. This is an important result for everyone at Hyundai Motorsport Customer facing after a huge amount of preparation work to get the car rally ready. The starting point for this new car compared to the previous one is high, and we know where we can make some improvements easily.”
Crew Notes: Oliver Solberg / Aaron Johnston (#24 Hyundai i20 N Rally2)
Solberg said: “It is disappointing not to take the win in WRC 2, especially after leading for so long and battling so hard yesterday. The car jUst stopped in parc fermé this morning due to an electrical issue. Aaron and I worked on it, and did everything we could, but that was the end. Fortunately, our team-mate dari was in second place behind us, so he could bring the win home. Everybody at Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing has worked so hard for this moment, they deserve the victory. During our time in the car, there were some of the issues you would associate with a car so young, but I think we all know what’s going to be possible with this car. It has a really good future.”
Hyundai Motorsport Team Principal Andrea Adamo said: “I would like to say thanks to Jari and Oliver for their efforts this weekend, the debut event for our new Hyundai i20 N Rally2 car. The objective for this rally was to learn and to pick up experience on the car’s competitive debut; we basically told the crews not to push too much. Even so, they found themselves yesterday in a 1-2 with a big margin so there was no need to extract maximum performance from the car. To come away with the WRC 2 win in its first event shows we have a good baseline, but the car hasn’t fully spread its wings. It has been a tricky weekend still, and sometimes you experience things in competition that you don’t see in testing; /t’s why we're here. We come away with a win — and some room for improvement.”
Final Overall Classification WRC 2 — Ypres Rally Belgium
2021 WRC 2 Championship for Drivers’ Standings After round 8
2021 FIA WRC2 Championship for Teams’ Standings After round 8
All results remain subject to official FIA confirmation.
About Hyundai Motorsport GmbH
Established on 19 December 2012, Hyundai Motorsport GmbH is responsible for Hyundai’s global motorsport activities, including the FIA WorldRally 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 between2016 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 i20R5 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 TouringCar Cup (WTCR) in 2018 and 2019. Designed and built at its Alzenauheadquarters, 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 a 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.
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