Hyundai Motorsport has taken its third consecutive podium finish of the 2020 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), as Rally México was brought to an early conclusion at the end of Saturday’s scheduled itinerary.
Organisers opted to bring forward the end of the rally in the face of fast-changing travel restrictions connected with the global COVID-19 virus outbreak, a decision fully supported by Hyundai Motorsport. With 20 of the scheduled 24 stages completed since Thursday – SS8 (Ortega 2) was cancelled on Friday – full championship points have been awarded.
Estonian crew Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja picked up their second consecutive runner-up finish for Hyundai Motorsport in their first full gravel event in the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC. The pair demonstrated impressive pace over the weekend – taking six stage wins – and would almost certainly have been in victory contention were it not for a small mistake on Friday morning’s loop.
Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul were forced to relinquish their battle for the Mexican podium yesterday with electrical problems. Similar gremlins recurred on Saturday’s opening loop, but the Belgians battled valiantly in a bid to secure points for the team’s manufacturers’ campaign.
What would become the final day of the rally covered nine stages over a distance of 133.74km – the longest day of the event. A repeat loop of Guanajuatito (24.96km), Alfaro (16.99km) and Derramadero (21.78km) was followed by two more runs through the Autodromo Shell V-Power stage and the 1.62km Rock & Rally León.
The two remaining Hyundai Motorsport crews added more stage wins to their respective tallies with Neuville leading a team 1-2 in SS14 (Alfaro 1) and SS19/SS20 (Autodromo Shell V-Power). Tänak did the same in SS17 (Alfaro) and SS18 (Derramadero). All in all, Hyundai registered 15 fastest times across three crews in Mexico this weekend, underscoring the potential the team had to fight for victory.
The final result sees Hyundai Motorsport cement second place in the manufacturers’ table on 89 points, with Neuville/Tänak third and fifth respectively on the drivers’ standings.
Crew Notes: Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (#8 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
- Second consecutive podium for Hyundai Motorsport
- Result equals team’s best result in Mexico and sees Tänak jump to fifth in the drivers’ table
Tänak said: “I am pleased to add another second place to my results for Hyundai Motorsport. I feel that I have pushed as hard as I could this weekend, my first proper gravel rally with the team and in the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC. We had the performance to win this weekend; the incident on Friday morning was my mistake, and I accept full blame for that. We then just tried to get the most out of the rest of the event, and could slowly, slowly make up time and positions. It’s been a demanding event for many reasons, and mentally quite tough, but we have another podium to our name, which is good.”
Crew Notes: Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (#11 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
- Electrical issues on Friday ended Neuville’s hopes of a podium charge in Mexico
- Belgian crew scored eight stage wins to demonstrate gravel pace
Neuville said: “In general, it has been a difficult weekend for Hyundai Motorsport. Unfortunately, we were caught out by some technical issues on the first proper day of the rally and that put us on the backfoot. It’s tough to take but it’s also part of the game in motorsport. On a positive note, we have shown that the speed is there to fight for the victory. After our troubles yesterday we wanted to come back fighting, and we did just that with a strong Saturday overall. We had some competitive runs, including two more stage wins. I tried to push as hard as possible. Together, as a team, we are going to work hard to avoid the sort of problems we’ve had this weekend, and to come back stronger than ever.”
Team Principal Andrea Adamo: “We cannot deny that it’s been a tricky and complicated rally from many different points of view. We should have finished in better positions, and we have not been able to manage what I permit to describe as an improvement in car performance. Whether it is enough, I do not know. We have to analyse deeply our mistakes to make sure we avoid them in future, and maximise our return on reasonable steps ahead. The season is still long. Without the crash on Friday, I am sure Ott would have been involved in a much closer battle for victory; he was still able to take second, which is a precious result for our team. Thierry, too, has had an amazing weekend and was sadly only unable to bring home a representative result due to our error – not what he deserved.”
As a result of global developments regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19), WRC Promoter has already announced that the 2020 Rally Argentina, round four of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), due to take place between April 23 – 26, has been postponed. As it stands currently, the next round of the championship will be May 21-24 in Portugal.
Final Overall Classification – Rally México
|1||S. Ogier||J. Ingrassia||Toyota Yaris WRC||2:47:47.6|
|2||O. Tänak||M. Järveoja||Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC||+27.8|
|3||T. Suninen||J. Lehtinen||Ford Fiesta WRC||+37.9|
|3||E. Evans||S. Martin||Toyota Yaris WRC||+1:13.4|
|5||K. Rovanperä||J. Halttunen||Toyota Yaris WRC||+2:20.5|
|6||P. Tidemand||P. Barth||Škoda Fabia R5||+10:29.3|
|7||N. Gryazin||Y. Fedorov||Hyundai i20 R5||+12:27.0|
|8||M. Bulacia||G. Bernacchini||Citroën C3 R5||+13:37.5|
|9||G. Greensmith||E. Edmondson||Ford Fiesta WRC||+13:56.5|
|10||O.C. Veiby||J. Andersson||Hyundai i20 R5||+15:32.2|
2020 FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers’ Standings
After round 3
|1||Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team||110|
|2||Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team||89|
|3||M-Sport Ford World Rally Team||65|
2020 FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers’ Standings
After round 3
All results remain subject to official FIA confirmation.
WRC 2 report
Hyundai Motorsport’s WRC 2 crews have secured their best overall result of the season to date in Rally México, the third round of the 2020 FIA World Rally Championship, with Nikolay Gryazin in seventh and Ole Christian Veiby in tenth.
The result ensured the pair finished second and third in the WRC 2 category, helping Hyundai Motorsport N move to the top of the team’s classification. Gryazin’s result vaults him to second place in the drivers’ table after three events.
Rally México offered a new challenge for both crews and marked their competitive debut on gravel with the Hyundai i20 R5. Ultimately, the planned 24 stages were reduced to just 20 but allowed the drivers the opportunity to improve their feeling with the car on loose surface and another rally experience.
Opening with a ceremonial start at Alhóndiga and with two runs through the Street Stage GTO on Thursday evening, the rally stepped up a gear on Friday with the infamous El Chocolate, Ortega and Las Minas stages.
For Veiby and co-driver Jonas Andersson it was a less than positive start as they experienced brake issues on the opening loop that lost them five minutes of time. Gryazin and co-driver Yaroslav Fedorov, meanwhile, put in a steady and trouble-free performance to end the opening day in second place in WRC 2.
Saturday’s itinerary covered nine stages – a repeated loop of Guanajuatito, Alfaro and Derramadero, followed by two runs through the Autodromo Shell V-Power, also run on Friday evening, and the Rock & Rally León test.
Veiby took a clean sweep of stage wins on Saturday morning (SS13-15) but was too far back on the timesheets to make any impression. Gryazin maintained his second position with championship points as the target.
The afternoon loop began with a rear right puncture for Gryazin and a spin just before the finish of SS16 (Guanajuatito 2) for Veiby. The incidents didn’t affect their overall positions, although the Russians had to nurse their Hyundai i20 R5 to the finish after sustaining damage in SS18 (Derramadero). Veiby, meanwhile, added a fourth stage win of the day in SS17 (Alfaro). With rally organisers opting to conclude the rally on Saturday evening, forgoing Sunday’s stages, the Hyundai pair confirmed their results after the SS21 Rock & Rally test.
Crew Notes: Nikolay Gryazin/Yaroslav Fedorov (#20 Hyundai i20 R5 ‘20)
- Steady and consistent performance from the Russians in their first Rally México
- Gryazin moves to second in the drivers’ classification
Gryazin said: “I am reasonably satisfied with our performance level this weekend, although we know we have more to come. For my first time in Rally México, I have felt OK and have been driving carefully throughout the event; it has been important to build up our experience. I have tried to avoid punctures, although there were a few moments which slowed us down. We had some problems this afternoon, a puncture on SS16 (Guanajuatito) and picking up some damage on the Derramadero stage with which we had to complete the rally. Thankfully, we were able to bring the car home in second place in WRC 2, which gives us valuable learning for the future events.”
Crew Notes: Ole Christian Veiby/Jonas Andersson (#21 Hyundai i20 R5 ‘20)
- Brake issues on Friday lost crucial time on the crew’s first competitive Rally México
- Four stage wins on Saturday showed true pace as they secured third in WRC 2
Veiby said: “Our weekend was largely dictated by brake issues that we picked up early on Friday. Our rally was effectively ruined but we continued to build up our speed and gather more learning from the i20 R5. Today, we had a much better feeling and took four stage wins in WRC 2, including a clean sweep in the morning loop. We made a lot of changes to the car on Friday evening; the brakes were much better, and the confidence was there. It was clean but fast. We had an incident on the opening stage of the afternoon loop when the rear of the car just snapped but we didn’t lose too much – and crucially we could keep the car on the road and complete the rally. We should be pleased with our performance; it’s just a shame the brake issues on Friday prevented any chance of a victory fight.”
Hyundai Motorsport Team Principal Andrea Adamo: “The good thing is that we have both crews and both cars safely to the end of this rally. We can’t necessarily say that it has been a good performance. We had hoped for better but for different reasons we have not been able to achieve it. The learning curve continues. We have two young, talented drivers that are increasing their experience, and we are working closely with them. We cannot forget that this is the first time we, Hyundai Motorsport, have been operating at such a high level with our i20 R5. We look ahead, together, and focused on the next opportunity.”
- As a result of global developments regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the WRC Promoter has already announced that the 2020 Rally Argentina, round four of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), due to take place between April 23 – 26, has been postponed.
- As it stands currently, the next round of the championship will be May 21-24 in Portugal.
Final Overall Classification WRC 2 – Rally Méxic
|1||P. Tidemand||P. Barth||Škoda Fabia R5||2:58:16.9|
|2||N. Gryazin||Y. Fedorov||Hyundai i20 R5||+1:57.7|
|3||O.C Veiby||J. Andersson||Hyundai i20 R5||+5:02.9|
2020 WRC 2 Championship for Drivers’ Standings
After round 3
2020 FIA WRC2 Championship for Teams’ Standings
After round 3
|1||Hyundai Motorsport N||74|
|2||M-Sport Ford World Rally Team||52|
All results remain subject to official FIA confirmation.
Press release Hyundai Motorsport