Hyundai Motorsport aims to continue strong run at high-speed Rally Finland
• Hyundai Motorsport will return to a three-car effort at the ultra-fast Rally Finland, round eight of this year’s 13-event FIA World Rally Championship (WRC)
• Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo will tackle the might of Finland’s spectacular jumps in the #7 and #8 Hyundai i20 WRC cars for the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team
• Hayden Paddon, who finished second in Sardinia and fourth in Poland, will take the wheel of the #20 car as the sole entrant for the Hyundai Mobis World Rally Team.
July 24, 2015 - Hyundai Motorsport will resume its recent run of competitive form when the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) returns from a short summer break at Rally Finland next week.
The eighth round of the season will pick up where Rally Poland left off with high speeds requiring precision and commitment from the drivers. Coupled with Finland’s famous jumps, the rally is one of the most highly anticipated of the year for teams, drivers and fans alike.
Hyundai Motorsport will return to a three-car entry for this rally following a strong performance last time out in which all four of the entered Hyundai i20 WRC cars completed the event with two cars securing top-six results. The team is chasing down second place in the Manufacturers’ Championship so will be out to seek another good points haul in Finland.
Thierry Neuville (#7 Hyundai i20 WRC) and Dani Sordo (#8 Hyundai i20 WRC) will once again represent the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team while Hayden Paddon (#20 Hyundai i20 WRC) will be the sole entrant for the Hyundai Mobis World Rally Team in Finland.
Rally Finland is flat out from start to finish, 20 stages on smooth gravel roads await the drivers alongside picturesque forests and lakes. Like Poland earlier this month, the consistently fast nature of the rally will require co-drivers to deliver pinpoint accuracy in the pace notes.
Team Principal Michel Nandan said: “Rally Finland is the first rally after the summer break and it is another fast rally with a lot of surprises and some very technical stages. There are some similarities between Rally Poland and Finland - both of the rallies are contested at high speed. The only difference between the two is that we will have more jumps in Finland, which makes a much stronger impression upon the drivers and the spectators. We had a good run in Poland but there were some real positives to our performance level. Hayden will be confident in his driving after his recent successes, as well as Thierry. Dani hopes to return to form after some difficulties. Poland, of course, was our first ever rally with four cars and, with all four finishing, we are confident heading to Finland. We hope to make another step towards our aim of reclaiming second place in the Championship.”
Neuville has found a good rhythm in recent rallies with third place in Sardinia followed by a battling top-six result in Poland. Alongside co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul, the Belgian will be aiming for more points in Finland.
Neuville commented: “There are so many things that make Finland a special event for me. I would say, first of all, because it’s so fast! The average speed is one of the highest in all the rallies of the year. It is also one of the most enjoyable events because there are so many jumps. The car seems to spend as much time in the air as it does on the ground. It is definitely one of the highlights of the season for me. I hope we can continue to pick up the pace and find a good, consistent rhythm so we can improve on our current standings.”
Spanish crew Sordo and co-driver Marc Marti have shown competitive pace in recent rallies but have been hampered by misfortunate - something they hope will change next weekend.
Sordo said: “Finland is a great event and it’s incredibly fast. You need to have a lot of confidence in your pace notes because you have a lot of hidden crests through the corners and you must hit them all at the right speed. I hope to have a trouble-free weekend and to extract the maximum performance from the car throughout the weekend. I always enjoy the stages in Finland and there are plenty of opportunities to get to sixth gear. I hope our luck changes and we can get back to scoring some good results.”
One of the standout performers in the last two WRC rounds, Paddon is very familiar with the Finnish terrain, while for his compatriot co-driver John Kennard, it will be something of a home event. Rally Finland will also be Kennard’s 50th WRC start and it will mark the 30th anniversary of his co-driving career which began at this event back in 1985.
Paddon said: “Rally Finland is probably one of my favourite events of the year. It is quite a lot like New Zealand in places - there are lots of very fast sections and a lot of jumps, while the atmosphere is second to none. It’s also probably the event at which we have the most experience. This will be my sixth time driving at Rally Finland and I’ve had some good results in the past. Finland is an important event for my co-driver John - he did his first WRC rally there before I was even born! Now, he lives there with his wife so it’s a special place. Hopefully we can make it even more so with a good result next weekend.”
The hub of Rally Finland will this year be the university town of Jyväskylä, with Paviljonki hosting the service park. The route will remain largely unchanged since its 2014 iteration but a new Harju street stage will get things started on Thursday evening. Friday will feature almost half of the rally’s competitive distance - no lunchtime service means that there will be no room for error. It will also see the return of the 34km Ouninpohja stage, widely regarded as the ultimate test of bravery and commitment. Saturday’s schedule takes in classic Finnish tests such as Mökkiperä and Jukojärvi stages, while the Sunday leg will feature two 14.4km passes over the fast and demanding roads of Myhinpää, the final run of which will be the Power Stage.
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 with Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo. 2015 is Hyundai Motorsport’s second season in WRC and the team aims to build on the firm foundations laid in its maiden year of competition.
Further information about Hyundai Motorsport is available at: http://motorsport.hyundai.com
About Hyundai Motor Company
Established in 1967, Hyundai Motor Company is committed to becoming a lifetime partner in automobiles and beyond. The company, which leads the Hyundai Motor Group, an innovative business structure capable of circulating resources from molten iron to finished cars, offers top-quality best-sellers such as Elantra, Sonata and Genesis. Hyundai Motor has eight manufacturing bases and seven design & technical centers worldwide and in 2014, sold 4.96 million vehicles globally. With almost 100,000 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.
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