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FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP (WRC) 2015: HYUNDAI SHELL WORLD RALLY TEAM- HYUNDAI MOTORSPORT CONSOLIDATES TOP FIVE POSITION MOVING INTO FINAL DAY OF RALLY MEXICO

WRC A FULL 2015

Hyundai Motorsport consolidates top five position moving into final day of Rally Mexico.

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Dani Sordo still in a top-five position overall as Rally Mexico moves into its final day after a mixed Saturday for the Spaniard that saw him take a stage win in SS13
Thierry Neuville re-joined under Rally 2 on Saturday after being forced to stop early on Friday; the Belgian reaffirmed his Mexican pace with a string of top-five times on Saturday
Hayden Paddon was also able to restart under Rally 2 and continued his learning process in Rally Mexico despite starting first on the road on Saturday.

7 March 2015

León, Mexico

March 7, 2015 – The Hyundai Motorsport team remain in contention for a top five finish in this weekend’s demanding Rally Mexico – round three of the 2015 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) – with Dani Sordo on the penultimate day.

All three Hyundai i20 WRC cars are still in the running despite the driver crews facing different issues throughout Saturday’s eight stages. The team worked tremendously hard to ensure both Thierry Neuville and Hayden Paddon could join Sordo for Saturday’s stages after both cars were forced to retire on Friday.

Sordo (#8 Hyundai i20 WRC) set a positive pace on Saturday’s morning loop with top-four times in all four stages, including a stage win in the 11.07km El Brinco stage. The Spaniard experienced a gearbox problem which necessitated changing at lunchtime service but a front-left puncture in SS15 meant for a cautious approach to the final stages. Nonetheless, Sordo and co-driver Marc Martí are still in the hunt for a top-five finish.

Sordo said: “This morning, things went well and I was very happy. Our road position was good and I was pleased with the performance of the car. We lost the brakes a bit at the end of the opening stage of the day but we still set the fourth time so it wasn’t so bad. We were also able to set the fastest stage time in SS13 after a good run but we also experienced some gearbox issues which manifested themselves during the morning. The team changed our gearbox over lunchtime service but in the first stage of the afternoon loop, we hit a stone which caused a puncture and lost us a lot of time. I had one spare soft tyre with me but to cover almost 60km so I adopted a cautious approach. It was an unfortunate end to what had been a very positive day, but we are still 5th overall and we will look to consolidate this position on Sunday.”

Thierry Neuville (#7 Hyundai i20 WRC) put the disappointment of Friday behind him with a series of strong performances in Saturday’s stages. Twice on the podium in Mexico, Neuville and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul pushed hard on the penultimate day to reclaim lost time and positions, showcasing his ability around Mexico’s unforgiving stages and the performance potential of the Hyundai i20 WRC car.

Neuville said: “First of all, I would like to thank the team for their fantastic work in repairing our #7 Hyundai i20 WRC following our roll yesterday. They worked very professionally to fix the car to allow us to restart today. It has been a good day, generally, and things have gone well. We have been able to demonstrate a similar pace to yesterday, although our road position has not been as favourable. We had a big push again today and have found a decent rhythm but incurring a 21 minute penalty means it is hard to make up too many positions. We’ll keep fighting, as we always do.”

Hayden Paddon (#20 Hyundai i20 WRC) and co-driver John Kennard had the misfortunate of being first on the road on Saturday’s eight stages, which put the Kiwi crew at a disadvantage from the outset. Paddon also experienced a loss of power due to the high temperatures in the afternoon loop which prevented him from pushing too hard. Still, he made it to the end of Saturday with no issues and will now seek to finish his first Rally Mexico on a high tomorrow.

Paddon said: “It was a difficult morning as first on the road, but that was completely as we expected after yesterday. I was pleased to have the chance to re-join under Rally 2 because yesterday’s incident was such a small error which happened to have big consequences on our rally. We had to be patient today and accept that things would be tricky. We used today effectively as a test and to learn more about the nuances of this event. It’s not been easy but it has certainly been valuable. We were planning on pushing a bit more this afternoon but we experienced some loss of power the so we had to take things carefully to make it to the end. We hope to be able to push a bit more in tomorrow’s final stages.”

The Hyundai Motorsport mechanics showed their determination and professionalism on Friday evening after both Neuville and Paddon were forced to retire prematurely. The team fixed both cars in the required time to allow all three Hyundai i20 WRCs to take the start on Saturday. Another disrupted day has kept the team on its toes but a top five position gives optimism for the final day of this incident-filled rally.

Team Principal Michel Nandan said: “It’s been another hit and miss day for the Hyundai Motorsport team with some very positive performances as well as some disappointment along the way. This is very typical of Rally Mexico which can often be a rollercoaster of emotion. Dani started the day strongly by setting some impressive stages times, including a stage win in SS13. This allowed him to reduce the gap to fourth place. We had to change his gearbox over lunchtime service but then he hit trouble in SS15 when he had a front left puncture which lost a lot of time. Carrying just one spare tyre he had to take a steady approach to the final stages. We take comfort from the fact he is still in the top-five but it’s been a mixed day overall. Thierry had a good day after the team worked tirelessly to fix his car for today’s stages. He showed why he is so strong here in Mexico, setting good times and making up positions. Unfortunately, Hayden had a tough day, thanks in no small part to his position as first on the road. He also reported some loss of power due to the high temperatures in the afternoon loop, which we will need to look into. That said, he has acquitted himself very professionally and has used today’s stages as a valuable learning exercise. We hope all three drivers will be able to push fully in the final stages tomorrow.”

Sunday will take in three stages – the monster 55.82km Guanajuatito stage, which could prove decisive in the final rally result, the 10.54km Derramadero stage and the rally finale – El Brinco 3 – where Power Stage points will be up for grabs.

Overall Classification after Day Two

1- S. Ogier / J. Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 3:33:27.4
2- M. Østberg / J. Andersson (Citroën DS3 WRC) +1:15.2
3- A. Mikkelsen / O. Floene (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +1:19.7
4- E. Evans / D. Barritt (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +2:28.6
5- D. Sordo / M. Martí (Hyundai i20 WRC) +4:10.6
6- M. Prokop / J. Tomanek (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +4:39.6
7- N. Al-Attiyah / M. Baumel (Ford Fiesta RRC) +10:43.9
8- N. Fuchs / F. Mussano (Ford Fiesta R5) +18:34.5
9- J. Ketomaa / K. Lindstrom (Ford Fiesta R5) +19:39.5
10- A. Al-Kuwari / M. Clarke (Ford Fiesta RRC) +19:49.1
11- T. Neuville / N. Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +22:23.8


20. H. Paddon / J. Kennard (Hyundai i20 WRC) +53:18.3

-Ends-

About Hyundai Motorsport GmbH
Established on 19 December 2012, Hyundai Motorsport GmbH is responsible for Hyundai’s global motorsport activities and primarily for its World Rally Championship programme. Based in Alzenau on the outskirts of Frankfurt in Germany, the company embarked on its debut season in the FIA World Rally Championship in 2014 with a bespoke team of skilled staff and a brand new car, the Hyundai i20 WRC. The team made a strong impression in its first year claiming podium results in Mexico and Poland, as well as a memorable 1-2 in Germany with Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo. 2015 is Hyundai Motorsport’s second season in WRC and the team aims to build on the firm foundations laid in its maiden year of competition.

Further information about Hyundai Motorsport is available at: http://motorsport.hyundai.com

About Hyundai Motor Company
Established in 1967, Hyundai Motor Company is committed to becoming a lifetime partner in automobiles and beyond. The company, which leads the Hyundai Motor Group, an innovative business structure capable of circulating resources from molten iron to finished cars, offers top-quality best-sellers such as Elantra, Sonata and Genesis. Hyundai Motor has eight manufacturing bases and seven design & technical centers worldwide and in 2014, sold 4.96 million vehicles globally. With almost 100,000 employees worldwide, Hyundai Motor continues to enhance its product line-up with localized models and strives to strengthen its leadership in clean technology, starting with the world’s first mass-produced hydrogen-powered vehicle, ix35 Fuel Cell.

More information about Hyundai Motor and its products can be found at: http://worldwide.hyundai.com or http://www.hyundaiglobalnews.com

Nicoletta Russo / Thomas Villette

Media Hyundai Shell World Rally Team

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