Brian Joss –
Hyundai Motorsport reclaimed second place in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) manufacturers’ standings on Sunday August 23 when they finished Rallye Deutschland with two Hyundai i20 WRCs inside the top-five overall and all four cars successfully completing the event.
With the objective of securing strong points-scoring positions, the Hyundai Motorsport drivers achieved their targets in the ninth round of the 2015 WRC season from August 20 to August 23 in Trier, Germany, with a steady run to the end of the last Power Stage.
Hyundai Shell World Rally Team drivers Dani Sordo and Thierry Neuville held onto to their respective fourth and fifth positions in this rally. It was also a clean finish to Rallye Deutschland for Hyundai Mobis World Rally Team drivers Hayden Paddon and Kevin Abbring, who used the weekend’s event as a valuable learning experience.
Sordo was on competitive form and has been involved in an exciting battle for fourth place with his team-mate Neuville. “It has been a positive rally for me, and I am really happy to finish in a competitive fourth position with a Power Stage point as well. The car has been very nice to drive, especially today, and I don’t think we could have done much more. We took things calmly because it was very clear that our target – both for Thierry and myself – was to secure the top-five positions and to pick up important championship points,” said Sordo.
“We have managed to move back into second place in the Manufacturers’ standings, which is great in our home event. I’d like to say congratulations also to Thierry, he has also had a very strong rally.”
Neuville has had a positive and generally trouble-free Rallye Deutschland with a fine run to fifth overall, which has helped the Belgian and his co-driver, Nicolas Gilsoul, to strengthen their own championship position. “All in all, I think we can be very pleased with our weekend in Germany. The target was to bring the car home safely in the top five and we have been able to do that without any difficulties. It was fun to be in the fight with Dani for fourth place. I had a couple of stages where the rhythm was not perfect and where Dani was stronger, and that made the difference, so he deserved it. We can now look to build on this performance for the next rallies and, hopefully, we can consolidate this position,” said Neuville.
Rallye Deutschland offered Paddon an opportunity to learn more about competing on tarmac, a terrain on which he is less familiar. “It’s definitely been tough for us last weekend. We knew coming into the rally that we’d have to lower our expectations a bit because we still have a lot to learn on tarmac. We have accumulated a lot of data and information, which we can study back at home to see what we have to work on for the future,” said Paddon.
In only their third WRC event with Hyundai Motorsport, Abbring and co-driver Sebastian Marshall have made good progress, finishing just outside the top-ten. Abbring commented: “This rally has been an interesting one for us and a valuable experience. The car felt good in final stages and we were able to really enjoy ourselves. It’s been astonishing how many Dutch flags and spectators from Holland there have been here – I’ve really appreciated the fantastic support as a Dutch.”
Hyundai Motorsport has achieved its target of a strong points haul in Rallye Deutschland, a home event for the Alzenau based squad. The result has moved the team back into second in the manufacturers’ championship, a position the team aims to defend in the remaining events of 2015.
Michel Nandan was a very pleased team principal on Sunday. “We have achieved what we set out to accomplish in Rallye Deutschland, so I’m very satisfied with this result. The drivers performed well and worked as a team to secure a four-car finish with two cars inside the top-five. We have moved back into second place in the Championship and we must now build on this momentum to consolidate that in the next rounds. Dani and Thierry have both been on competitive form, as we knew they would be, but have shown a sensible approach to the rally to get both cars home in the top-five. For Hayden and Kevin, it was a weekend of learning,” he said.