WRC – Hyundai Motorsport concluded a challenging Wales Rally GB

Hyundai Motorsport has suffered a setback in its FIA World Rally Championship bid following a lacklustre performance at Wales Rally GB this weekend.

Thierry Neuville salvaged a fifth-place finish after dropping down the classification following an off on Saturday morning. His Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team colleagues Andreas Mikkelsen and Hayden Paddon completed the rally in sixth and seventh respectively with just four seconds separating all three crews.

Hyundai Motorsport has consequently lost ground to Toyota Gazoo Racing in the manufacturers’ fight, now holding a 20-point deficit. With two rounds of the 2018 WRC season remaining in Spain and Australia – and a maximum 86 points up for grabs – the title battle remains fierce.

Neuville continues to lead the drivers’ championship, albeit with a reduced seven-point advantage over Wales Rally GB winner Sébastien Ogier. Ott Tanak also remains firmly in the chase in third.

Sunday’s schedule included five stages, held over a distance of 55.64km. The 10km Elsi stage kicked off proceedings before crews were faced with the 14.76km Gwydir Power Stage, taking place earlier in the final day than usual. There was no opportunity for a practice run in the slippery conditions, so it was a leap into the unknown. Neuville set the fourth fastest time to add two extra points to his championship total.

A tyre fitting zone at Dolgarrog separated Sunday’s two loops with an additional run through Gwydir and two attempts at the shorter Great Orme Llandudno making up the schedule. All in all, Hyundai Motorsport is ready to regroup for the final rounds of the year, in a bid to finish the season on a high.

Crew Notes: Neuville/Gilsoul (#5 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)

  • Retains lead of drivers’ championship over Sébastien Ogier and Ott Tanak
  • Two extra points scored for fourth place in Gwydir Power Stage

Neuville said: “We have given it everything this weekend. The mistake yesterday ended any chance of scoring a podium but we’ve pushed hard to reclaim a few lost positions. The championship is far from over.  From a fan point of view, it’s getting exciting between me, Sébastien and Ott. I’d rather have a bigger lead than we have now, but we can’t dwell on what’s happened in recent rallies. We have to pick ourselves up and fight for overall victory in the final two rounds. It’s in our hands.”

Crew Notes: Mikkelsen/Jæger (#4 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)

  • Three stage wins over the weekend for the Norwegian crew
  • Mikkelsen struggled with illness which hampered his final day

Mikkelsen said: “After our positive performance on Saturday, we struggled again on the final stages today. It was really difficult to have a good stage. I was feeling really bad yesterday so I wasn’t able to watch any videos in preparation for today’s schedule. I didn’t know where to place the car, and we had a few moments as a result. Thankfully we were able to complete the rally but not in the sort of position we need to be finishing. We now need to concentrate on the last two rallies where we know we can be strong.” 

Crew Notes: Paddon/ Marshall (#6 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)

  • Seventh place finish for the Anglo-Kiwi crew
  • Next event will be the season finale at Rally Australia

Paddon said: “There are some positives to take away from this weekend even if the result doesn’t do us justice. We took some fastest splits and top-three stage times on Saturday, and generally found comfort in the car. This morning’s stages were incredibly slippery. We couldn’t read the grip and the pace notes weren’t optimal. The second loop was better. With only 15 seconds between fourth and eighth, it was a close fight. We will now prepare for our final WRC event of the season in Australia, determined to finish the season on a high.”

Rescue mission

  • Five stage wins for the team over the weekend
  • Hyundai Motorsport holds second in manufacturers’ standings

Team Principal Michel Nandan commented: “Our aim today was to salvage whatever we could from a difficult weekend. We came to this rally hoping to fight for a podium, or even the win, but it hasn’t transpired. We failed to get the correct set-up of the cars for this event. We made improvements during Friday afternoon, and things were better by Saturday but with Thierry’s issue we were too far behind. We have to accept the result, learn from the experience and move on. We have allowed ourselves to fall behind in the championship and we now have just two rallies remaining this season from which we can bounce back. It will be an uphill battle but we have to give it everything possible.”

Next Rally

  • The FIA World Rally Championship moves onto the mixed surfaces of Rally de España later this month, for the penultimate round of the 2018 season
  • The rally takes place from 25-28 October with Hyundai Motorsport fielding a three-car line-up of Andreas Mikkelsen, Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo

Final Overall Classification – Wales Rally GB

1 S. Ogier J. Ingrassia Ford Fiesta WRC 3:06:12.5
2 J.M Latvala M. Anttila Toyota Yaris WRC +10.6
3 E. Lappi J. Ferm Toyota Yaris WRC +35.1
4 C. Breen S. Martin Citroën C3 R5 +1:10.4
5 T. Neuville N. Gilsoul Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +1:14.4
6 A. Mikkelsen A. Jæger Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +1:15.9
7 H. Paddon S. Marshall Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +1:18.4
8 M. Østberg T. Eriksen Ford Fiesta WRC +1:21.6

2018 FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers’ Standings
After round 11

1 T. Neuville 189
2 S. Ogier 182
3 O. Tanak 168
4 E. Lappi 104
5 J.M Latvala 98
6 A. Mikkelsen 83
7 D. Sordo 60
8 C. Breen 59
9 H. Paddon 55
10 T. Suninen 54

2018 FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers’ Standings
After round 11

1 Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team 317
2 Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team 297
3 M-Sport Ford World Rally Team 273
4 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team 187

 All results remain subject to official FIA confirmation.

Jari Huttunen and Antti Linnaketo finished fourth at Wales Rally GB

The Hyundai Motorsport Driver development Program duo of Jari Huttunen and Antti Linnaketo finished in a fine fourth position in WRC 2 at Wales Rally GB, part of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).

In their sixth WRC 2 participation of the season, the Finnish crew scored 15 top-five stage times, including an impressive stage win in the final run of the weekend. It was a promising performance for the duo, twelve months after they last competed in Wales. This weekend’s performance not only demonstrates the year-on-year improvement of the HMDP crew but also the competitiveness of the Hyundai i20 R5 against strong opposition. The Finns’ Wales Rally GB weekend got underway with the short 1.7km Tir Prince stage on Thursday evening before a more representative day of action on Friday. Conditions were typical of the popular rally with rain and mud creating slippery, demanding stages. Aside from a puncture in SS4 (Penmachno) and a spin, it was a decent start to the event for Huttunen, ending the opening day in fifth place.  With no lunchtime service, and 150km of stages to contest, Saturday was a valuable learning experience for the HMDP pair. They were consistently on the pace throughout the day to move up to fourth in WRC 2 with a comfortable margin. Five stages were run on Sunday morning, including two attempts at the 14.76km Gwydir and 8.03km Great Orme Llandudno routes. Reducing the gap to the podium throughout the morning, Huttunen was second in SS19 (Elsi), third in the SS20 Power Stage (Gwydir) and then scored a stage win in SS23 (Great Orme Llandudno). It was their third stage win of the season and first since Rally Sweden back in February.
 
HMDP Crew Notes: Huttunen/Linnaketo (#37 Hyundai i20 R5)

  • Stage win in SS23 and 15 top-five stage times
  • Fourth place represents their best WRC 2 result since taking second in Rally Finland

Huttunen said: “We have had a good weekend in Wales Rally GB, and I am pleased with our fourth place. We still need to make improvements in some areas but this performance represented an important step forward. I am particularly happy to have scored a fastest time in the final stage today, which was our target. Friday was a long and quite difficult day with the puncture, but we had a much better Saturday and Sunday. The surface was challenging and it was tricky at times to understand where the grip would be; we were taken by surprise a few times. We have built up a good rhythm over the three days with some key set-up improvements, which has allowed us to get the best out of ourselves. I am pleased with the speed we’ve shown and the development we have made from last season’s performance to this year.” 

Hyundai Motorsport Team Manager Alain Penasse said: “Jari and Antti have done a fantastic job this weekend in difficult circumstances. The stages in Wales Rally GB can catch out even the most veteran crews. Finishing fourth and taking a stage win in such a competitive WRC 2 field is a great achievement. A year from their Welsh debut in the Hyundai i20 R5, we knew this rally would be a representative gauge of their progress. With 15 top-five stage times and being on the edge of a second podium of the season, their performance shows how far they have come as an HMDP crew, and just how well developed our i20 R5 has become. They have shown real maturity and professionalism this weekend, and we look forward to seeing what they can do on the mixed surfaces of Spain in a few weeks’ time.”

The HMDP crew will return to the Hyundai i20 R5 for Rally RACC Catalunya – Rally de España from October 25-28.

Final Overall Classification WRC 2 – Wales Rally GB

1 K. Rovanperä Škoda Fabia R5 3:15:27.2
2 P. Tidemand Škoda Fabia R5 +1:34.2
3 G. Greensmith Ford Fiesta R5 +2:13.6
4 J. Huttunen Hyundai i20 R5 +2:56.8
5 S. Lefebvre Citroën C3 R5 +4:35.4
6 L. Pieniazek Škoda Fabia R5 +6:20.1
7 S. Tempestini Citroën C3 R5 +8:49.7
8 F. Andolfi Škoda Fabia R5 +9:07.1
9 M. Bulacia Škoda Fabia R5 +10:45.0
10 E. Camilli Ford Fiesta R5 +27:21.5

2018 FIA WRC 2 Championship for Drivers’ Standings
After round 11

1 J. Kopecky 125
2 P. Tidemand 111
3 G. Greensmith 70
4 K. Rovanpera 65
5 L. Pieniazek 56
6 F. Andolfi 50
7 J. Huttunen 46
8 O. Veiby 45

All results remain subject to official FIA confirmation.

Press release Hyundai Motorsport

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