WRC A FULL 2016
Hyundai Motorsport firmly in the fight after penultimate day in Spain.
Dani Sordo holds second position after relinquishing lead of Rally de España to Sébastien Ogier during Saturday’s afternoon loop
All three New Generation i20 WRCs are inside the top-four as Thierry Neuville and Hayden Paddon moved up to third and fourth places respectively after SS12
Kevin Abbring continued to make progress as the rally switched from gravel to asphalt stages. The Dutchman completed Saturday in eighth overall.
Rally de España Day Two
15 October 2016
October 15, 2016 – Hyundai Motorsport has all three of its New Generation i20 WRC cars inside the top-four at the end of the penultimate day of Rally de España, round 11 of the 13-event FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).
The team started Saturday’s itinerary of eight stages in the overall lead of the rally after Dani Sordo impressed in tricky conditions on Friday. Sordo gave another accomplished showing as the rally moved onto its asphalt stages.
However, a quartet of second-placed stage times for the Spanish crew today was not enough to resist the hard charging Sébastian Ogier, who took over the rally lead after SS14 (El Montmell 2). Sordo has just a 5.8s deficit to the lead with four stages still to run on Sunday.
Hyundai Motorsport extended its grasp on the podium during this afternoon’s loop with Thierry Neuville up into third place. Hayden Paddon is only 16s further back in fourth position, as the Kiwi enjoyed a steady day.
Hyundai Shell World Rally Team duo Sordo and co-driver Marc Martí (#4 New Generation i20 WRC) have excelled on home terrain so far this weekend – whether gravel or asphalt. They will do all they can to keep up pressure on the rally leader on Sunday while aiming for their second podium of 2016.
Sordo said: “I was disappointed to lose the lead of the rally this afternoon, if I am honest. We knew it would be a tough challenge but when you are in the top spot, it’s natural instinct to want to protect it. The morning loop was not too bad, and we defended well but Ogier was pushing hard. We had a bit of understeer but I felt happy with my driving overall. We made a few adjustments at lunchtime service, but there wasn’t any more we could do. It’s very easy to make mistakes when pushing too hard, so we have to find a compromise. We’re not too far off in terms of the overall time, and there are still plenty of opportunities tomorrow. I’m not one to give up so we’ll see what we can do. It’s our home rally, so we want to win for all the Spanish fans.”
Neuville (#3 New Generation i20 WRC) and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul were involved in a close battle with Andreas Mikkelsen for much of the day, reducing the gap until the Norwegian went off in SS12. The Belgians then moved into the final podium position, to strengthen their push for second in the WRC Drivers’ Championship.
Neuville said: “It’s been a solid day for us and obviously it’s nice to be in the podium positions heading into the final day. The battle with Andreas this morning was poignant, not only because we are friends but also because we are involved in a close fight for second in the drivers’ classification. We were already putting some pressure on before he went off in the afternoon loop. I have been pretty pleased with my driving today. We had a bit understeer and there has been some room for improvement, but all in all we can be happy. As a team, we’re looking strong, so we need a clean Sunday to pick up these important manufacturer points.”
It’s been a consistent Saturday for Paddon (#20 New Generation i20 WRC) and co-driver John Kennard. They have been regularly inside the top-six but third place in SS12 (Alcover-Capafonts 2) showed their improvement. They are just 16.1s behind Neuville in a comfortable fourth place, scoring this weekend for Hyundai Mobis World Rally Team.
Paddon said: “Consistency has been the word of the day for us. The team did a great job in service last night to get all the cars switched for today’s asphalt tests. We have been in or around the top-six in most stages today and we’ve been able to move up to fourth place, following Andreas’s retirement. Things feel better than they were in Corsica, although we’ve still had to work hard to adapt to the conditions and to the car. We’ve been digging deep and trying to move forward – and we’ll continue to do that through Sunday’s four stages.”
Abbring (#10 Hyundai i20 WRC) and co-driver Seb Marshall adapted well to the tarmac stages on Saturday to move into the top-eight overall. It was a measured performance from the Dutchman as he experiences Spain’s mixed surface demands in a WRC car for the first time.
Abbring said: “It’s been a really enjoyable day. I have felt my confidence grow inside the car with each stage. The rhythm has been getting better and better. We had a good morning loop, improving the car bit by bit. It’s been a year since we were on tarmac in Corsica in a WRC car so we’ve had to reacclimatise. We wanted to gain some positions today – and circumstances have allowed us to do that. We made some good progress this afternoon, and have a few ideas for tomorrow. To be inside the top-eight is great and something we want to defend in the final stages on Sunday.”
Hyundai Motorsport is nicely placed to add another podium to its 2016 successes on Sunday afternoon with Sordo second , Neuville third and Paddon fourth. It’s one of the team’s strongest all round performances with Abbring’s top-eight position adding to an impressive display.
Team Principal Michel Nandan commented: “Dani has put up a brave fight today against the charge of Sébastien Ogier. We know what Ogier is capable of so the fact that Dani was able to defend his lead for much of Saturday showed an admirable performance. We end Saturday with all three New Generation i20 WRC cars in with a shout of a podium finish, which would be a great result for us. I’d like to commend our mechanics for an outstanding job last night to prepare all four cars for today’s asphalt stages. We have had a trouble-free day, although we recognise there is still scope to improve the balance of the cars in these conditions. From a Championship perspective, we’re looking at a healthy collection of points if things stay like this but we will still push for the win tomorrow. Anything can still happen at the front – so we’ll be there to capitalise if it does.”
Four stages remain on Sunday – a repeat loop of the 19.30km Pratdip and 12.10km Duesaigües asphalt tests – run over a total of 62.80km competitive kilometres.
Overall Classification after Day Two
1-S. Ogier / J. Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 2:35:12.8
2-D. Sordo / M. Martí (Hyundai New Generation i20 WRC) +5.8
3-T. Neuville / N. Gilsoul (Hyundai New Generation i20 WRC) +1:03.9
4-H. Paddon / J. Kennard (Hyundai New Generation i20 WRC) +1:20.0
5-K. Meeke / P. Nagle (Citroën DS3 WRC) +1:57.9
6-M. Østberg / O. Floene (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +2:35.7
7-O. Tanak / R. Molder (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +4:24.7
8-K. Abbring / S. Marshall (Hyundai i20 WRC) +6:22.7
9-M. Prokop / J. Tomanek (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +7:13.3
10-J. Kopecky / P. Dresler (Škoda Fabia R5) +7:41.6
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.
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