Rally Finland – Day One Report

The FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) returned to action for the first complete day of Rally Finland, the eighth round of the 2018 season 
Hyundai Motorsport’s crews have struggled for pace on the high-speed gravel stages with Hayden Paddon leading the team’s charge in fourth overall
Thierry Neuville and Andreas Mikkelsen both had incidents on Friday after misjudging pace notes, dropping them down the order.

Jyväskylä, Finland

July 27, 2018 – Hyundai Motorsport has endured a tough start to Rally Finland, as the second half of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) got underway in earnest on Friday.

The eighth round of the season has never been a favourable one for the team, having never finished on the podium in its four previous visits to the popular event. At the end of Friday’s ten stages, Hayden Paddon is the highest placed of the Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team drivers in fourth place, 13.3-seconds from the podium positions.

Following Thursday evening’s opening test at the 2.31km Harju stage, teams moved onto a busy Friday with 126.37km of competitive running in extremely hot conditions. A repeat loop of four stages – Moksi 20.04km, Urria 12.28km, Ässämäki 12.33km and Äänekoski 7.71km – were supplemented by the 19.34km Oittila stage and a repeat of Harju.

Championship leader Thierry Neuville had the disadvantage of being first on the road, cleaning the dusty gravel roads for his rivals. He battled to a top-ten finish at the end of Friday, losing time in SS5 (Äänekoski 1) after going into a ditch. His team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen was similarly caught out in the preceding SS4 (Ässämäki 1), suffering a slow roll after misjudging a pace note.

Crew Notes: Paddon/Marshall (#6 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
Third consecutive gravel event for the crew after Portugal and Sardinia
Consistent start sees them keep in touch with podium positions

Paddon said: “I think we can be pretty happy with our opening day, even if we could have probably taken a few more risks. We didn’t want to overdo it, because we were focused on getting the set-up right for the whole weekend. In the morning loop, we had to adapt to the conditions and our pace notes were a bit slow in places. From there, we started to enjoy the car and the stages more. We’ve been consistent, had good pace and that’s allowed us to stay in touch with the leading three. We’ve now got to build on this over the next two days.”

Crew Notes: Neuville/Gilsoul (#5 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
Championship leader and first on the road on Friday’s stages
Lost time in SS5, dropped to tenth overall – four places behind Sébastien Ogier

Neuville said: “Starting first on the road, particularly in this event, makes life really tough from the outset. There was not much more we could do, as we struggled for grip and consistency. Things weren’t helped by the mistake in SS5 when we were too optimistic with a pace note. I was thinking about correcting it, but then missed the next one and ended up going straight into a ditch. We had to take it a bit easier after that. The mechanics did a great job at midday service to fix the car. We are losing some positions compared to Ogier, so we can’t really be happy but we knew it would be hard. We can only do our best in these circumstances and minimise the damage.”

Crew Notes: Mikkelsen/Jæger (#4 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
Tough day for the Norwegian crew after losing minutes of time in SS4
40-second penalty for late check-in after lunchtime service

Mikkelsen said: “It has been a very challenging start to Rally Finland for us. We made a mistake in SS4 during the morning loop, but we’ve struggled for pace throughout the day. You never want to make a mistake but I misheard a pace note. I thought Anders had said five minus, when it should have been four, which is quite a difference. We had a slow roll but were pushed back onto the stage by the Finnish spectators, who were very helpful. Thanks to my mechanics for getting us ready for the afternoon. We still have some work to do to get the right feeling but we will aim for a fresh start on Saturday.”

Tough love

Team Principal Michel Nandan commented: “Rally Finland is one of those events that any rally enthusiast loves. Unfortunately, it seems like the feeling is not mutual for our team, as we have had another difficult start to the event. On the positive side, Hayden and Seb have put in a consistent performance to finish the day in fourth, and I am sure they have more to give on the final two days. Thierry and Andreas have both had their respective problems, with Thierry compounded by being first on the road. We can’t be satisfied with the positions or the performance of our car, but we will keep pushing and supporting our crews to get the best out of our package this weekend.”

Saturday at a glance
Eight stages will be held on Saturday over a competitive distance of 142.86km – the longest individual day of the rally
Päijälä (23.92km), Pihlajakoski (14.90km), Kakaristo (23.66km) and Tuohikotanen (8.95km) will each be run twice, once in the morning and once in the afternoon
Lunchtime service will split the two loops

Classification after Day One

1 O. Tänak M. Järveoja Toyota Yaris WRC 1:04:14.9
2 M. Østberg T. Eriksen Citroën C3 WRC +5.8
3 J.M. Latvala M. Anttila Toyota Yaris WRC +23.1
4 H. Paddon S. Marshall Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +36.4
5 T. Suninen M. Markkula Ford Fiesta WRC +46.1
6 S. Ogier J. Ingrassia Ford Fiesta WRC +58.9
7 E. Evans D. Barritt Ford Fiesta WRC +1:01.1
8 E. Lappi J. Ferm Toyota Yaris WRC +1:01.4
9 C. Breen S. Martin Citroën C3 WRC +1:34.1
10 T. Neuville N. Gilsoul Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +1:57.7










Media Hyundai Motorsport GmbH

Photos: Media Hyundai Motorsport GmbH

27 july 2018



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