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HYUNDAI SHELL WORLD RALLY TEAM: LOTOS RALLY POLAND WRC – REVIEW

WRC A FULL 2014

Hyundai Shell WRT scores debut three car finish and closely-fought Polish podium

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The Hyundai Shell World Rally Team has taken its second podium of its rookie WRC season with Thierry Neuville finishing in third place in Poland
For the first time, the team has registered a three car finish in a competitive WRC event as Juho Hanninen and Hayden Paddon completed the four-day event
All three Hyundai i20 WRC cars finished in the top eight overall while the team also added two more stage wins in its debut WRC season.

Mikolajki, Poland

June 29, 2014 – The Hyundai Shell World Rally Team has today claimed its second podium result of the 2014 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) season as Thierry Neuville (#7 Hyundai i20 WRC, co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul) claimed third place after an action-packed Rally Poland.

In just its seventh WRC event, the rookie team has enjoyed a positive weekend and has had its hard work rewarded with a debut three car finish as Juho Hänninen (#8 Hyundai i20 WRC, co-driver Tomi Tuominen) and Hayden Paddon (#20 Hyundai i20 WRC, co-driver John Kennard) also completed the rally inside the top eight overall.

The team has shown competitive pace in this weekend’s event and has seen all three Hyundai i20 WRC cars and crews demonstrate podium potential as all three drivers registered quick stage times during the weekend. Neuville scored a stage win in the 14.41km Stare Juchy 2 stage on Saturday, Hänninen topped the times in SS2 (Kruklanki 17.24km) while Paddon, in just his second WRC event as a Hyundai Shell World Rally Team driver, finished 0.7s off a stage win in Friday’s SS4 (Wieliczki 12.89km).

Neuville had a strong Rally Poland, fighting hard after some struggles on the opening two days, including a locked rear brake towards the end of Friday. The team worked well to resolve the Belgian’s issue and he resumed on Saturday with renewed competitiveness and determination to make his way from tenth up into the podium positions.

Neuville said: “It has been a positive weekend for us and I am pleased with the podium result. To come back from tenth place, where we were at the end of Friday, to third is a great achievement. This rally is hard. You have to find your confidence, and once you have that you can be really fast. It has been a great job from the entire team this weekend. We have worked really well together to tackle the rally in a calm and focussed way. It is a very nice result to have all three cars finish a WRC event for the first time.”

Hänninen has also shown some impressive pace in Poland to claim a stage win on the opening day and regularly be among the pace setters. A steering problem on Saturday prevented him from maintaining his push for the podium but a top six finish gives the Finn his best result of the season and much cause for satisfaction.

Hanninen said: “I’m quite happy with the rally and it has been a very good weekend for the team overall. I made no mistakes during the four days and we have shown some strong pace at times.. I was happy with the set-up and, generally, it has been running perfectly. Yesterday, we had some issues which slowed us down but thankfully Thierry was able to regain the third position for the team. I lost a bit in this morning’s first stage so I took it steady after that to secure sixth place. There are definitely lots of encouraging aspects to take away from this event.”

Paddon registered a second consecutive rally finish in just his second event with the team, and has also claimed his first top eight result in the #20 Hyundai i20 WRC. The Kiwi crew set the second fastest time in SS4 and achieved their objective of gaining confidence in the often tricky conditions.

Paddon said: “All in all it was a good rally, one of progression, learning and enjoyment. I am pleased to finish in eighth place and to have contributed to the team’s first three car finish. Everyone has done a great job and personally I am pleased with the progress that John and I have made since Sardinia. Some of the stages here were definitely more suited to my style, and I think we showed what we are capable of when we have the confidence to push. There are still some areas I need to work on but for our second event with the team, we can be pleased. We now need to make another step forward for Finland.”

Team Principal Michel Nandan: “We can be very proud of our achievements in this rally. We set the objective of a three car finish and to challenge for some competitive stage times, and we have managed this well. All three driver crews have performed strongly, had good pace and shown the potential of the Hyundai i20 WRC when everything comes together. We have taken two stage wins in Poland and scored our second podium result – all in only our seventh WRC event. Considering the comparative infancy of our team, this is very encouraging. I would like to thank everyone in the team, both at the rally and back at Alzenau, for contributing. We have learned a lot from this rally, in some difficult and changeable conditions, and we look forward to Finland where we will have some updates on the Hyundai i20 WRC which we hope will mark another step forward for our young team.”

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Overall Classification after Day Four

1- S. Ogier / J. Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 2:34:02.0
2- A. Mikkelsen / O. Floene (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +1:07.7
3-T. Neuville / N. Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +2:13.5
4- M. Hirvonen / J. Lehtinen (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +2:32.4
5- J.M Latvala / M. Anttila (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +2:33.1
6- J. Hänninen / T. Tuominen (Hyundai i20 WRC) +2:49.9
7- K. Meeke / P. Nagle (Citroën DS3 WRC) +4:27.9
8- H. Paddon / J. Kennard (Hyundai i20 WRC) +4:32.1
9- H. Solberg / I. Minor (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +4:59.0
10-M. Prokop / J. Tomanek (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +6:11.3

2014 FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers’ Standings
S. Ogier 166 points / J.M. Latvala 116 / A. Mikkelsen 83 / M. Østberg 66 / M. Hirvonen 52 / T. Neuville 46 / K. Meeke 38 / E. Evans 36 / M. Prokop 31 / H. Solberg 24 / B. Bouffier 18 / R. Kubica 12 / J. Hänninen 12 / O. Tanak 10 / B. Guerra 8 / C. Atkinson 6 / J. Melicharek 4 / P. Tidemand 4 / H. Paddon 4 / N. Al-Attyiah 3 / M. Gamba 2 / C. Breen 2 / J. Protasov 2 / L. Bertelli 2 / J. Ketomaa 1 / K. Al Qassimi 1

2014 FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers’ Standings
Volkswagen Motorsport 262 points / Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team 115 / M-Sport World Rally Team 90 / Volkswagen Motorsport II 82 / Hyundai Motorsport 80 / Jipocar Czech National Team 34 / RK M-Sport World Rally Team 19 / Hyundai Motorsport N 8
All results remain subject to official FIA confirmation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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