Podium push for Hyundai Motorsport after mixed opening day in Corsica.


In its bid for a debut Tour de Corse podium, Hyundai Motorsport has one of its New Generation i20 WRCs firmly inside the top-three at the end of Friday’s stages
Thierry Neuville holds second place after a solid quartet of stages with his team-mates Hayden Paddon and Dani Sordo in 6th and 9th respectively
Hyundai Motorsport has four cars entered into Tour de Corse with the New Generation i20 R5 also competing in a WRC event for the first time.

30th September 2016

Tour de Corse Day One

Bastia, Corsica

September 30, 2016 – Hyundai Motorsport has had a mixed opening day for this weekend’s Rally de France – Tour de Corse, the tenth round of the 2016 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).

Thierry Neuville holds a provisional podium at the conclusion of the first four stages, showing the sort of pace that resulted in a top-three finish in Rallye Deutschland last month. Hayden Paddon is in the mix for the top-five in his New Generation i20 WRC. However, there was late drama for Dani Sordo, as the Spaniard dropped out of the top-three positions after a puncture midway through SS4, the final stage of the day.

Despite only four stages being run on Friday, drivers have still had to negotiate a total of 157 competitive kilometres, including two runs through the daunting 49.72km Acqua Doria – Albitreccia. Teams have also been faced with the added challenge of no lunchtime service. A remote tyre-fitting zone in the seaside town of Porticcio was the only break in between the morning and afternoon loops.

Unlike twelve months ago, where heavy rain affected the rally, today’s stages have been held in hot and dry conditions. All of the Hyundai Motorsport crews have identified room for improvement but are in positive spirits as the team aims to add another podium to its 2016 results this weekend.

Neuville (#3 New Generation i20 WRC) and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul have established themselves consistently among the front-runners with two second-placed stage times today. The Belgians are aiming to extend their recent run of form, which has seen them take victory in Sardinia and a podium in Germany.

Neuville said: “We had a good morning loop despite experiencing some small issues with the brakes towards the end of the opening stage. We could see on the last split that I lost around five seconds. That was a shame but we made improvements on the second stage. We haven’t been able to take the fight to Ogier today, but we are second, which will hopefully set us up nicely for the rest of the weekend. There are a few more details we want to adjust to make the behaviour of the car more consistent, but it’s a decent start to the rally.”

Paddon (#20 New Generation i20 WRC) and co-driver John Kennard struggled with their pace notes on the opening loop, but enjoyed a more promising start to the afternoon. A puncture on the final stage lost the Kiwi crew time but they are still firmly in the fight for the top-five this weekend.

Paddon said: “I’m definitely feeling more comfortable on these Corsican stages in the dry conditions we have had today. It’s not been a perfect day but we can see some positives, as well as some places to improve. We needed some adjustments to our pace notes after the opening run. The car was sliding around too much but we found a better direction for the repeat loop. It was a case of building things up step by step. We were doing precisely that but we had a puncture 8km from the end of the final stage, which lost us a bit of time. We’ll just work to take the positives from today forward into the rest of the weekend and see if we can break into the top-five.”

Sordo (#4 New Generation i20 WRC) and co-driver Marc Martí looked on course to repeat their podium push from the last rally in Germany, holding third overall for most of the day. However, a puncture on the final stage lost the Spaniards almost two minutes of time.

Sordo said: “It’s been far from a good start to the rally for us. I didn’t have a good feeling in the first stage this morning but we had a decent time. It was then the opposite in stage two; I felt good in the car but the time was not there. We also had some issues with the brakes, the same as some other drivers. We wanted to make improvements in the afternoon loop and to consolidate our top-three position. Unfortunately that wasn’t possible because we had a rear puncture in the first half of the final stage, so we had to stop to change tyre. We lost nearly two minutes of time as a result which has dropped us down the classification. We will try to make up ground tomorrow and see what we can pick up.”

For Hyundai Motorsport, this year’s Tour de Corse is an important rally with the three WRC crews joined by a New Generation i20 R5 car in the event for the first time. As the team aims to continue its strong 2016 season to date, all sights are set on scoring a debut Tour de Corse podium this weekend.

Team Principal Michel Nandan commented: “It’s a special rally for us with the R5 car competing in a WRC event for the first time alongside our three New Generation i20 WRC cars. We know that this rally is challenging – but it’s great for us to experience these tight and twisty Corsican stages for the first time in fully dry and hot conditions. All crews have had positive moments today, particularly Thierry who is running in a strong second place overall. But at the same time, there have also been a few issues. Hayden and Dani have worked hard to improve their feeling in the car as the day has progressed but both were affected by punctures in the final stage. For Dani, the time loss was around two minutes, which means he will be playing catch-up tomorrow.”

Saturday’s itinerary takes in a further four stages, totalling 169km. The 53.72km Orezza – La Porta – Valle di Rostino stage will kick things off before crews move onto the 30.80km Novella-Pietralba test. A lunchtime service will split the two loops.

Overall Classification after Day One
1-S. Ogier / J. Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 1:37:52.8
2-T. Neuville / N. Gilsoul (Hyundai New Generation i20 WRC) +44.0
3-J.M Latvala / M. Anttila (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +58.0
4-A. Mikkelsen / A. Jaeger (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +59.3
5-C. Breen / S. Martin (Citroën DS3 WRC) +1:18.7
6-H. Paddon / J. Kennard (Hyundai New Generation i20 WRC) +1:26.2
7-E. Camilli / B. Veillas (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +2:00.7
8-E. Evans / C. Parry (Ford Fiesta R5) +2:36.3
9-D. Sordo / M. Martí (Hyundai New Generation i20 WRC) +2:39.1
10-M. Østberg / O. Floene (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +2:41.9

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:

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.

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Nicoletta Russo
Media Hyundai Motorsport

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