Hyundai Motorsport’s victory charge halted as Sardinia bites back

All three Hyundai Motorsport crews experienced difficulties on the penultimate day of Rally Italia Sardegna, hampering the team’s push for victory
Hayden Paddon was forced to relinquish a near ten-second lead of the rally after hitting a bank in SS13, causing damage to his Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC which forced him to retire for the day
Thierry Neuville holds third position despite battling brake problems in SS12, while Dani Sordo endured a puncture and paddleshift issues as he tried to bounce back from his Friday woes.

Rally Italia Sardegna Day Two

10 june 2017

Alghero, Sardinia

June 10, 2017 – A dramatic penultimate day in Rally Italia Sardegna saw Hyundai Motorsport’s crews all run into trouble as they jostled for position at the front of the field. From chasing potential victory with two crews at the start of the day, it was all change by the end of Saturday’s 143.16km of special stages.

Beginning Saturday’s morning loop as rally leaders, Hayden Paddon and Seb Marshall scored their first stage win of the weekend in SS10 (Coiluna-Loelle) as they set about extending their advantage. With a 9.4-second gap to second place by lunchtime service, things were looking good as they began the afternoon loop. However, they clipped a bank before the first split in SS13 (Coiluna-Loelle 2), which caused damage to the #4 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC. Despite completing the stage with a time loss of 1m20, Paddon was unable to continue.

Podium promotion

There was also drama for Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul as they looked to consolidate a podium place in the morning. Taking a stage win in SS11 (Monti di Alá), their second of the weekend, the Belgians then ran into difficulties on the first run through Monte Lerno (SS12) and the famous Micky’s Jump. Suffering from brake problems, they nursed their #5 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC through with a 1m10 time deficit, dropping to fourth overall. With Paddon’s retirement, they were promoted back into a podium position during the afternoon.

After their turbo dramas on Friday, Dani Sordo and Marc Martí were hoping to push on Saturday’s six stages. As first on the road, they were tasked with sweeping the dusty stages. Paddleshift issues in SS11 and a puncture in SS13 hampered their progress but they will be hoping to salvage some points from a tough weekend, as they begin Sunday in 14th place overall.

Crew Notes: Neuville/Gilsoul (#5 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)

Neuville and Gilsoul seemed on course for another victory challenge in the morning loop as they kept in touch with their rally-leading teammates Paddon and Marshall. Brake problems in SS12 put a halt to that charge but they were able to put the disappointment behind them to complete the afternoon with more competitive times and to consolidate a podium position in third.

Neuville commented: “It was a frustrating morning but we are still in with a shout of the podium so we can’t be too disheartened. There have been issues for most crews so, on balance, we have to accept these things can happen at tough rallies like Sardinia. After our win in SS11, we had brake issues and we lost over a minute in SS12. We knew we were battling for the win and without this problem we would most likely have been leading at the end of Saturday. But this is rallying. The mechanics did a fantastic job to fix the car during lunchtime service. It was tight but they really allowed us to keep going into the afternoon loop, and to continue our fight for the podium. We will do all we can on the final day to consolidate this third place, and who knows what other twists this rally has to come!”

Crew Notes: Sordo/Martí (#6 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)

Sordo and co-driver Marc Martí were always going to be at a disadvantage on Saturday’s stages, starting first on the road after their Friday troubles. They persevered despite the circumstances and also battled with paddleshift problems and a puncture as they chase a points-finish this weekend.

Sordo commented: “We knew it would be a tough day from our starting position on the road, but we haven’t given up and just wanted to enjoy the stages. Frustratingly, we had a paddleshift problem in SS11 this morning. The upshift was working fine but we couldn’t downshift. The first run through Monte Lerno was better, though. In the afternoon, we picked up a puncture after about 1km into the first stage but again we just fought through as best we could.”

Crew Notes: Paddon/Marshall (#4 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)

Following a consistent Friday, in which they moved to the top of the classification, Paddon and Marshall wanted to increase control of the rally during Saturday’s stages. A stage win was the perfect way to start the day, but they were forced to retire after SS13 due to damage sustained after a hitting a bank. They will re-join under Rally 2 on Sunday.

Paddon said: “I am devastated. It was such a schoolboy error, which caused us to break the rear wheel. I turned in too early and clipped a bank. That was that. There is no one to blame but myself, and I am hugely sorry for the team and all of our supporters. It’s important that I learn from this and do all I can to put things right at the next event. Things were going so well and we were maintaining our lead, which makes it even more frustrating.”

Finish with a flourish

All three of the Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team crews have shown rally winning potential in Sardinia this weekend, but the team is now targeting a consolatory podium on Sunday. The team has secured top-three results at all gravel events so far this season, and has finished on the Sardinia podium in the past two seasons.

Team Principal Michel Nandan said: “What a day! Sardinia is an incredibly tough event but all three of our crews have had problems today, which make it even more frustrating. Firstly, Hayden has been gracious in acknowledging the incident in SS13 that ended his chance of victory. Thierry saw his opportunity to fight for victory hampered by a brake problem in SS12, but he is still in with a chance of continuing his podium run, which would be a small consolation for everyone this weekend. We can’t be happy with where we are because we have shown that we have multiple crews who were capable of battling for the win. All we can do is understand what has happened and resolve to improve for future events. A podium in Sardinia is no mean feat, so we will focus on securing that on Sunday, and seeing if our crews can score themselves some Power Stage points with the performance of the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC.”

Sunday at a glance

The final day of Rally Italia Sardegna takes in four stages – a repeat loop of the 14.06km Cala Flumini stage and the 6.96km Sassari-Argentieri test.

Just 42.04km of stages will be contested, offering all crews a final opportunity to shine under the Sardinian sun.

Overall Classification after Day Two

1-O. Tanak-M. Jarveoja-Ford Fiesta WRC- 2:56:37.3
2-J.M Latvala -M. Anttila-Toyota Yaris WRC-+24.3
3-T. Neuville-N. Gilsoul-Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +1:02.2
4-E. Lappi-J. Ferm-Toyota Yaris WRC +2:10.8
5-J. Hänninen-K. Lindstrom-Toyota Yaris WRC +2:42.1
6-S. Ogier-J. Ingrassia-Ford Fiesta WRC +3:26.1
7-M. Østberg-O. Floene-Ford Fiesta WRC +3:56.0
8-A. Mikkelsen-A. Jaeger-Citroën C3 WRC +7:47.6












Media Hyundai Motorsport

Admin and Translation:

All The Best, Pablito, Pablo MACHI WRC
Media & Comunication Top Run Motorsport
Media & Comunication TEIN Motorsports
Rally Report Magazine Argentina
Photos: @World Media Agency
Media Hyundai Motorsport



This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.