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WRC – Hyundai Motorsport is involved in another thrilling podium battle with two crews fighting for second place

Hyundai Motorsport is involved in an intense four-way fight for the podium positions as Rally Sweden, the second round of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), heads into its final day.

Andreas Mikkelsen and Anders Jæger-Amland have built on a solid start to the rally to remain in the hunt for their first podium finish of the season, in second overall equal on time with Esapekka Lappi, with their Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team colleagues Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul just behind in fourth.

While rally leader Ott Tanäk has extended his advantage, a closely fought battle has been brewing with four crews vying for second place. Mikkelsen has been forced to concede time to his rivals during the day but still has a maiden podium of 2019 well in his sights. However, Neuville has enjoyed a strong charge up through the field on Saturday, moving from seventh to fourth overall.

In their first Rally Sweden outing since 2013, Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena have been working hard to find improvements in their form. The duo finished the penultimate day in seventh overall, but with Kris Meeke just 1.6-seconds ahead in sixth.

The legendary Colin’s Crest jump offered a visual feast for fans today as part of an eight-stage itinerary. A repeat loop of the 23.13km Rämmen, 23.40km Hagfors and 14.21km Vargåsen stages, the latter featuring the famous high-flying leap, resulted in more thrills and spills for the WRC crews. A tricky – and wet – attack of the 1.9km Super Special Stage at Karlstad in the early evening was followed by the 2.80km Torsby Sprint. As weather conditions continue to present unusual challenges to the competing crews, the fight for the final podium places looks set to go, once again, down to Sunday’s Power Stage.

Crew Notes: Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger-Amland (#89 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)

  • Norwegians continue to show podium pace, despite hitting a snowbank in SS13 (Hagfors 2)
  • Crew holds second, equal on combined time with Esapekka Lappi

Mikkelsen said: “It is developing into a very intense battle in some very complicated driving conditions, but I am really enjoying myself. We had a good morning loop, and moved up into second place, but we were still lacking some top speed. Changes we made at lunchtime service worked well but we had a moment midway through the loop. We lost grip and went into a snowbank that lost us a bit of time. The times are incredibly close so we will keep pushing on Sunday morning and do everything we can to finish this rally on the podium.”

Crew Notes: Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (#11 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)

  • Belgians moved from seventh to fourth overall on strong Saturday
  • Regularly in the top-two stage times, including stage win in SS16 (Torsby Sprint)

Neuville said: “We have made good progress today and second place is now firmly in our sights. It’s going to be a close battle between many crews, which sets up another exciting final day – perfect entertainment for the fans! I have tried to focus on finding grip and traction in the difficult conditions. I was missing a bit of confidence in the faster sections but overall we have had a positive day. The afternoon loop was about managing tyres. We were pushing hard in SS14 (Vargåsen) when I got caught out off the line and had a spin. We lost four or five seconds there but we got straight back on it to minimise the time loss. It’s definitely game on for second tomorrow, and we’re right in the hunt.”

Crew Notes: Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena (#19 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)

  • Loeb continues to find confidence on Swedish stages the crew hasn’t contested in six years
  • Close competition for sixth place

Loeb said: “It has been another day of two halves. It has been quite some time since I last competed in Rally Sweden, and we only had one day of testing, so considering those limitations it has been OK. The car has felt good; the question is just about finding the right rhythm. The afternoon loop was an improvement, even if we had to manage the tyres, and we now need to focus on our fight with Kris Meeke for sixth place.”

Team Director Andrea Adamo: “Our three crews have done their best in difficult conditions, and we can look forward to another exciting rally conclusion on Sunday. We are looking at a strong all-round team result this weekend. There are three tough stages still to run, so we can’t discount anything yet; we will keep pushing right to the very end of the Power Stage. Andreas and Thierry are both hungry for that second place, while Sébastien will also want to assert his authority on the final day, as he chases down sixth place. Let’s see what Sunday has in store.”

Sunday at a glance

  • Three stages remain on the final morning with two runs through the 21.19km Likenäs route, separated by a remote refuel at Ambjörby
  • The short 8.93km Torsby Power Stage will bring the 2019 edition of Rally Sweden to its competitive conclusion with extra points available to the top-five fastest crews.

Classification after Day Two

1 O. Tänak M. Järveoja Toyota Yaris WRC 2:19:31.7
2 A. Mikkelsen A. Jæger-Amland Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +54.5
3 E. Lappi J. Ferm Citroën C3 WRC +54.5
4 T. Neuville N. Gilsoul Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +56.8
5 E. Evans S. Martin Ford Fiesta WRC +1:08.7
6 K. Meeke S. Marshall Toyota Yaris WRC +1:36.5
7 S. Loeb D. Elena Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +1:38.1
8 P. Tidemand O. Fløene Ford Fiesta WRC +3:08.0

Press release Hyundai Motorsport


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