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HYUNDAI MOTORSPORT DRIVERS IN CLOSE FIGHT TO THE FINISH IN RALLY FINLAND

WRC A FULL 2016

Hyundai Motorsport drivers in close fight to the finish in Rally Finland.

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A positive final day for Hyundai Motorsport with a stage 1-2 in SS22 and in the Power Stage, with two cars inside the top-five
Thierry Neuville finished the rally in fourth place just 2.3 seconds ahead of his team-mate Hayden Paddon after a thrilling battle, and only 4.6-seconds off the podium
Kevin Abbring claimed his first top-ten finish of the season in his first WRC event with the New Generation i20 WRC.

Rally Finland Day Three

31 July 2016

Jyväskylä, Finland

July 31, 2016 – Hyundai Motorsport has completed Rally Finland with two New Generation i20 WRCs inside the top-five of the overall classification after a close fight throughout the weekend and a strong Sunday for the team.

On a positive final day, Thierry Neuville registered a stage win in SS22 (Oittila) with Hayden Paddon right behind. It marked the team’s 30th stage win of the season and a fourth stage 1-2 of 2016. They then added to that in spectacular style with a 1-2 in the rally-concluding Power Stage – picking up extra points.

Hyundai Shell World Rally Team drivers Neuville and Paddon have been inseparable all weekend, as they have fought hard for a podium finish. Ultimately, the pair had to settle for fourth and fifth positions despite reducing the gap to the podium to just 4.6-seconds during Sunday’s four stages.

The result gives Hyundai Motorsport a healthy haul of manufacturer points and helps to solidify the team’s second position in the WRC Manufacturers’ Championship.

Neuville (#3 New Generation i20 WRC) and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul equalled their Rally Finland result from twelve months ago as they finished in fourth place. Although not the podium they were hoping for, it continues a strong run of results for the Belgian crew following victory in Sardinia and fourth place in Poland.

Neuville said: “We have given our maximum throughout the weekend and been absolutely on the limit. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to get on the podium – but it was very close! We had a strong finish with two stage wins today including the Power Stage, so that was a nice way to end the rally. It was particularly pleasing for the whole team to have a 1-2 in the Power Stage after a tricky weekend. We have had some difficulties with the car settings and grip levels on most stages so I think we can be reasonably satisfied. It was an exciting battle with Hayden and to have the opportunity to compete on these incredible Finnish stages is always a pleasure. There are definitely some more things we need to learn about the performance of our car in these conditions. We can now look forward to Germany – a rally where we have fond memories!”

Paddon (#4 New Generation i20 WRC) and co-driver John Kennard enjoyed a competitive Sunday with a quartet of top-two stage times, including second place in the Power Stage. The Kiwi crew finished right on the tail of their teammates in fifth after a tough weekend, earning valuable championship points.

Paddon said: “It’s been a challenging weekend but there are some positives to take away. We were second on the road for much of the weekend, so to come away with a top-five result is not too bad. We had a decent final day even if the driving was a bit untidy at times. We didn’t take any massive risks and concentrated on getting the cars home. With that in mind, to take 1-2 in the Power Stage was a nice consolation. We gave it our all but we’ve struggled with the car in the slippery conditions. It was a close fight with Thierry and I’ve really enjoyed these fantastic stages.”

Abbring (#20 New Generation i20 WRC) and co-driver Seb Marshall achieved their pre-rally objectives of a top-ten finish with ninth place overall. In their first WRC event in the New Generation i20 WRC, the crew had a solid Sunday, including a top-six time in this morning’s opening Lempäa stage.

Abbring said: “I am happy with how this weekend has gone all things considered. We haven’t made any mistakes and we’ve come away with a top-ten result in Rally Finland. It has been an extremely valuable learning experience and I’d like to thank the team for giving us the opportunity. The New Generation i20 WRC has performed well and it’s been a real pleasure to drive. We have made improvements with each stage, refining our pace notes and we’ve done what we set out to achieve.”

For Hyundai Motorsport, despite missing out on an elusive maiden Rally Finland podium by just 4.6-seconds, this weekend’s result continues a strong season. The team has completed one of the toughest rallies of the season with all three cars inside the top-ten, adding more manufacturer points to consolidate second position in the Championship.

Team Principal Michel Nandan commented: “We’ve had a better final day than the rest of the rally, that’s for sure. There’s no hiding from the fact we have had a challenging weekend so to take two stage 1-2s today, including the Power Stage was a positive way to end the rally. Thierry and Hayden have been involved in a close battle for most of the weekend, which was interesting to watch. Kevin and Seb did everything we expected of them. It was a big task to come to Rally Finland at short notice. They have acquitted themselves very professionally and fully deserve their top-ten finish. We have had a generally reliable weekend with the New Generation i20 WRCs. We just need to understand why we couldn’t get more out of the car on these stages. There are just a few weeks before we compete in Rallye Deutschland, which will be a special event for the whole team – and I’m confident we will come back fighting.”

The FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) moves next to Germany for Rallye Deutschland, round nine of the season from 18-21 August. It will be the home rally for the Alzenau-based Hyundai Motorsport team, who celebrated a memorable 1-2 result in the asphalt event two years ago.

Overall Final Classification

1-K. Meeke / P. Nagle (Citroën DS3 WRC) 2:38:05.8
2- J. M. Latvala / M. Anttila (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +29.1
3- C. Breen / S. Martin (Citroën DS3 WRC) +1:41.3
4- T. Neuville / N. Gilsoul (Hyundai New Generation i20 WRC) +1:45.9
5- H. Paddon / J. Kennard (Hyundai New Generation i20 WRC) +1:48.2
6- M. Østberg / O. Floene (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +2:04.6
7- A. Mikkelsen / A. Jaeger (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +2:22.4
8- E. Lappi / J. Ferm (Škoda Fabia R5) +4:53.8
9- K. Abbring / S. Marshall (Hyundai New Generation i20 WRC) +5:22.4
10- T. Suninen / M. Markkula (Škoda Fabia R5) +5:35.5

2016 FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers’ Standings

S. Ogier 143 points / A. Mikkelsen 98 / J. M. Latvala 87 / H. Paddon 84 / T. Neuville 76 / M. Østberg 70 / D. Sordo 68 / O. Tanak 52 / K. Meeke 51 / C. Breen 25 / E. Camilli 23 / H. Solberg 14 / S. Lefebvre 12 / M. Prokop 12 / T. Suninen 8 / M. Ligato 6 / E. Evans 6 / E. Lappi 6 / L. Bertelli 4 / K. Abbring 4 / P. Tidemand / N. Fuchs 2 / A. Kremer 1 / V. Gorban 1 / J. Kopecky 1

2016 FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers’ Standings

Volkswagen Motorsport 227 points / Hyundai Motorsport 168 / M-Sport World Rally Team 112 / Volkswagen Motorsport II 109 / Hyundai Motorsport N 86 / DMACK World Rally Team 58 / Jipocar Czech National Team 18 / Yazeed Racing 6

All results remain subject to official FIA confirmation.

-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. In its second season, the team was involved in a closely fought battle for second place in the Manufacturers’ Championship, adding more podiums and stage wins to its tally. For its third season in WRC, Hyundai Motorsport has developed a brand new car, the New Generation i20 WRC, which made its rally debut with a podium finish in Rallye Monte-Carlo in January 2016. The team registered its first win with the new car in Rally Argentina, the fourth round of the season.

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

About Hyundai Motor
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 2015, sold 4.96 million vehicles globally. With more than 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://globalpr.hyundai.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nicoletta Russo
Media Hyundai Motorsport
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