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WRC – Hyundai Motorsport takes second in Wales after fierce battle

Hyundai Motorsport has achieved a strong podium finish in Wales Rally GB, securing the team second place in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) Manufacturers’ title in the penultimate round of the season.

Thierry Neuville completed the 21-stage event in second position overall, behind Welshman Elfyn Evans, who claimed a popular victory on home soil. The result was not enough to stop Sébastien Ogier from clinching a fifth Drivers’ Championship, but the Belgian crew gave it absolutely everything. Alongside co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul, Neuville took five stage wins over the weekend, including a dominant Power Stage victory – and five extra points.

Sunday’s schedule covered five stages with the 10.41km Alwen and 6.43km Brenig tests run twice, split by the 7.49km Gwydir run. The slippery gravel stages made for an entertaining final day of action with 12 seconds separating second to sixth positions at the start of the morning. The close battle kept crews fighting until the very end, and ensured a thrilling finale.

Demonstrating the strength of the Hyundai Motorsport package in Wales, Andreas Mikkelsen took fourth place overall in just his second event with the team. Scoring two stage wins on Sunday morning (SS18 Brenig and SS20 Alwen 2), he fended off Jari-Matti Latvala and Ott Tanak for fourth, and ended the rally only four seconds from the podium. He also picked up an extra point for fifth place in the Power Stage.

The team’s two other drivers Hayden Paddon and Dani Sordo endured a more complicated weekend en route to eighth and tenth positions overall.

Despite conceding the Manufacturers’ title to M-Sport, Hyundai Motorsport is able to reflect on its most competitive season to date in a season that is rightly lauded as one of the most fiercely contested in WRC history. Over the 12 rounds of 2017 to date, the team has amassed three victories, 77 stage wins, 14 stage 1-2s and ten podiums, with Rally Australia still to come.

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

Neuville and Gilsoul scored Hyundai Motorsport’s best ever Wales Rally GB result after a competitive weekend. The crew took a ten-second penalty on Thursday evening, but fought back spectacularly to claim their seventh podium of the season. Neuville will look to build further on his 183 Championship points in Rally Australia to confirm second place in the drivers’ title.

Neuville said: “Our congratulations to Sébastien on his fifth WRC title, and to M-Sport. We got the message just before the start of the Power Stage that he had done enough. It has been a really exciting battle this year and although we have had our moments of misfortune, we have enjoyed some great fights along the way. Everyone in the team has worked incredibly hard this year, so we can be pleased with our performances and for playing our part in the Championship fight. We could not have done any more this weekend. Elfyn was on incredible form, so to finish second to him is a great achievement. Our five Power Stage points shows our performance level this weekend, and I have enjoyed the rally, despite having to concede the Championship. We will now aim to finish the season well in Australia and to secure second place ahead of Ott.”

Crew Notes: Mikkelsen / Jæger (#6 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)

Mikkelsen and his co-driver Anders Jæger impressed on Sunday morning with two stage wins and picking up the final Power Stage point. Finishing on the tail of Sébastien Ogier, just outside the podium positions, gives the Norwegian crew another boost of confidence before the season finale, Rally Australia, where they were victorious twelve months ago.

Mikkelsen said: “We have done our absolute best this weekend, trying to go as fast as we could. We wanted to show progress from Spain and we definitely did that. The battle for the podium was really close and I am pleased that we could finish so close to Séb. Fourth place in our second event with Hyundai Motorsport is pretty good. We took a few stage wins this morning, but also made a few mistakes as well, so there is still room for improvement. Overall, I am happy. As a team, we must now prepare to finish the season in the best way possible in Australia, and then aim to make another improvement in the Championship in 2018.”

Crew Notes: Paddon/Marshall (#4 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)

For Paddon and co-driver Seb Marshall, Wales Rally GB has been a valuable opportunity to regroup and rebuild confidence. A top-eight finish may not be a representative result for the crew but offers a platform from which they can build for Rally Australia next month.

Paddon said: “We have been in a bit of a no man’s land today, so we have concentrated on keeping things nice and smooth. The result isn’t what we wanted, of course, but we have started to regain our confidence in the car, and just enjoy ourselves a bit more. It has been hard to read the stages this weekend, but it’s been fun to get behind the wheel and to be part of the team again. We can now reset and refocus our efforts on Rally Australia, where we have our sights set much higher!”

Crew Notes: Sordo/Martí (#16 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)

Sordo and co-driver Marc Martí completed a tough rally in tenth place overall. Wales Rally GB marks their final WRC event of the 2017 season.

Sordo said: “It has been a challenging rally for everyone, with slippery and often unpredictable conditions. Unfortunately, we haven’t had the confidence that we needed to mount a stronger attack this weekend. It’s nice to extend our run of rally finishes this season but it isn’t the result we know we are capable of. We have had some positive results this year. Although I am not competing in Australia, we will be hoping for a competitive event for the team as we prepare to come back stronger in 2018.”

Acknowledgements and accolades

Today’s result is the second consecutive Wales Rally GB podium for Hyundai Motorsport, and represents an improvement on its third place in 2016. The team extends its congratulations to M-Sport and Sébastien Ogier for winning the Manufacturers’ and Drivers’ Championships respectively.

Team Principal Michel Nandan said: “First of all, our congratulations go to M-Sport and Sébastien Ogier for taking the titles this weekend. They have had the strongest overall package this season and that’s the way to win the Championship. From our point of view, we did all we could this weekend in Wales, and saw much improved performance from our crews and cars. We established ourselves as ‘best of the rest’ after an imperious Elfyn Evans, who fully deserved his home win. We are pleased to be back on the podium after a tough run of results, and to have secured our best ever Wales Rally GB result. Thierry and Andreas have demonstrated an extremely competitive pace with several stage wins. We will now aim for a competitive conclusion to the season in Australia, now we are guaranteed the runners-up position in the Manufacturers’ table.”

Next rally The final round of the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), Rally Australia, will take place from 16-19 November.   Final Overall Classification  – Wales Rally GB

1 E. Evans D. Barritt Ford Fiesta WRC 2:57:00.6
2 T. Neuville N. Gilsoul Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +37.3
3 S. Ogier J. Ingrassia Ford Fiesta WRC +45.2
4 A. Mikkelsen A. Jæger Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +49.8
5 J. M. Latvala M. Anttila Toyota Yaris WRC +50.3
6 O. Tänak M. Järveoja Ford Fiesta WRC +1:02.3
7 K. Meeke P. Nagle Citroën C3 WRC +1:20.5
8 H. Paddon S. Marshall Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +2:16.3
9 E. Lappi J. Fern Toyota Yaris WRC +2:46.5
10 D. Sordo M. Martí Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +3:50.5

2017 FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers’ Standings After round 12

1 S. Ogier 215
2 T. Neuville 183
3 O. Tanak 169
4 J.M Latvala 136
5 E. Evans 118
6 D. Sordo 95
7 J. Hänninen 71
8 K. Meeke 70
9 C. Breen 64
10 H. Paddon 59
11 A. Mikkelsen 52

 2017 FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers’ Standings After round 12

1 M-Sport World Rally Team 398
2 Hyundai Motorsport 305
3 Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team 241
4 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team 210

 All results remain subject to official FIA confirmation.

Press release Hyundai Motorsport


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