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The FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) moves onto the all-tarmac terrain of Corsica

Hyundai Motorsport revisits the scene of one of its most confident victories next week as the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) moves to Corsica for the fourth round of the 2018 season. Tour de Corse offers teams and crews the first proper tarmac challenge of the year after the wintry conditions faced in Monte-Carlo and Sweden, and the hot gravel stages of Rally Mexico. The affectionately titled ‘Rally of 10,000 corners’ presents entirely different technical demands with tight, twisty turns putting an emphasis on precision, concentration and reliability.

Familiar territory

Twelve months ago, Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul took Hyundai Motorsport’s first victory of the season in Corsica, winning by a margin of 55 seconds. Dani Sordo was also on the podium in third place. The team will be hoping to defend its honours in this year’s event, as it aims to consolidate its lead in the manufacturers’ championship.

Hyundai Motorsport will field the same three-crew line-up for Tour de Corse as competed in Mexico earlier this month. Andreas Mikkelsen will drive the #4 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC alongside compatriot co-driver Anders Jæger. Neuville and Gilsoul will aim for their second win of the season while Sordo and Carlos del Barrio will look to build on their Mexican podium. 

All crews have prepared for Corsica during a three-day test on the island this week, establishing baseline settings for the cars ahead of the 12-stage rally, which gets underway with shakedown on Thursday. The test was interrupted shortly before its scheduled completion on Wednesday afternoon when Neuville and Gilsoul went off, the crew unharmed.

As it currently stands, Hyundai Motorsport holds a 12-point advantage in the overall classification but with just 17 points separating all four manufacturers, the battle for the top positions could not be closer.

Team Principal Michel Nandan commented: “We have only a 12-point advantage in the manufacturers’ championship and we are under no illusions: Tour de Corse will be another tough and close battle. The fight for the Championship is tighter than ever this year and we’ve seen how quickly things can turn around. We have good memories of Corsica from our win and double podium last year, so that’s the sort of result we’d like to repeat. Our ultimate goal is to consolidate our lead in the championship, but we know the opposition will have other ideas.”

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

  • Norwegian crew seeking second podium of season
  • Mikkelsen holds third in closely-fought drivers’ championship

Mikkelsen said: “Corsica is a very special event, and our first true tarmac rally of the season. As a crew, you never really get any break during the stages; it’s a continuous corner-to-corner challenge that requires utmost concentration. It’s equally tough on the car as it is for the driver and co-driver. It is easy for the brakes to get warm so we have to adapt our driving style to save them for the really long stages. Tour de Corse is a beautiful rally and one I really enjoy.”

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

  • Rally Sweden winners aiming to bounce back from difficult Mexico
  • Neuville holds four-point deficit to Sébastien Ogier in the drivers’ championship

Neuville said: “Tour de Corse is one of my personal highlights of the season. We have some good memories from this rally across the years; we have won twice, including last year’s WRC victory so I am hoping for another competitive weekend. We had an accident towards the end of the pre-event test but that won’t change our approach to this rally. We know it will be a close contest again, as there are many quick drivers. The long stages that are a particular characteristic of Corsica mean we have to keep focused at all times. It is a really demanding event for crews and teams but we’re determined to strengthen our position in both championships.”

WRC Crew Notes: Sordo/Del Barrio (#6 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)

  • Spaniards aim for another podium after second place in Mexico
  • Sordo finished third in Corsica twelve months ago

Sordo said: “I was pleased with our result in Mexico and I hope we can continue with this level of performance as we move onto the tarmac challenge of Tour de Corse. It is a rally I always enjoy, and which requires a very specific approach. With long stages held in the mountains, Corsica really is a classic tarmac event. It’s corner after corner, so we are always turning the steering wheel during the stages, which makes it a very physical event. Precise pace notes are crucial for a good performance. I can’t wait to get started!”

Bite-size Corsica

  • Tour de Corse covers 12 stages over a competitive distance of 333.48km.
  • Route has been significantly changed from 2017 although retaining some familiar sections.
  • Itinerary includes a ‘monster’ stage on each day with the 49.03km La Porta – Valle di Rostino test on Friday, the 35.61km Cagnano – Pino – Canari stage on Saturday and the longest stage of the weekend, the 55.17km Vero – Sarrola – Carcopino, held on Sunday morning. It is the longest stage to be held at Tour de Corse since 1986.
  • Service Park is based in the north-east of the island, Bastia, where the majority of stages are held, although Sunday moves towards Ajaccio in the west
  • Tight, twisty mountain stages punish tyres and brakes and require pinpoint precision from crews as the smallest error can be rally-ending.

Press release Hyundai Motorsport


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