Hyundai Motorsport heads into the six-week break with clear intentions to refocus on its championship campaign after a tough weekend in Rallye Deutschland, the tenth round of the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).

 

Despite being a home rally for the Alzenau-based squad, and a happy hunting ground for results in the past three seasons, none of the team’s three crews have had cause for celebration on the past weekend at Bostalsee.

 

Hayden Paddon and Seb Marshall were the highest placed Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team pair, down in eighth place. Dani Sordo and Marc Martí were put out of contention early on Friday morning after rolling down a bank, and forced to start again under Rally 2 on Saturday.

 

Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul also had to make use of Rally 2 to re-join on Sunday morning, after their rally was brought to a sudden halt on Saturday’s opening stage. Overall, it was an unrepresentative weekend for Hyundai Motorsport, although it ended on a positive as Sordo claimed Power Stage victory and five extra points towards his drivers’ championship total. That result gave Sordo take a total of five stage wins, equal with rally winner Ott Tanak.

 

Crew notes: Paddon/Marshall (no. 4 Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC):

Paddon and Marshall suffered two separate punctures over the weekend, which cost them time on Friday and Saturday. In their fifth event together, the crew continued to push and were rewarded with a handful of top-three times later in the rally, including second in Sunday’s SS20 (Losheim am See).

 

Paddon said: “When conditions were more consistent, we showed some improvement in performance compared to last year, so there are some positives to take away from this tough weekend. I knew this would be one of the hardest rallies of the season, so I am pleased that we made it to the end, and showing better stage times. I am going back home to New Zealand for a month, during which I will also take part in a few gravel rallies, so I am looking forward to that.”

 

Crew notes: Sordo/Martí (no. 6 Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC):

For Sordo and Martí, their hopes of a third podium of the season were ruined after an off on Friday morning. However, the Spaniards showed improved performance on Saturday, including three stage wins, and ending the rally with Power Stage victory on Sunday.

 

Sordo said: “This hasn’t been the rally we wanted at all, so it was nice to end it with a win in the Power Stage. It shows what we might have been able to achieve without our problems this weekend. I am disappointed in myself for the mistake I made on Friday, which ended our hopes of a good result. I am sorry to the team for what happened, but we have tried to perform better in these past two days. Now, all I can do is look forward to my home event in Spain where I will be trying all I can to get back onto the podium.”

 

Crew notes: Neuville/Gilsoul (no. 5 Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC):

Having moved into the podium positions at the end of Friday, it was a stark turnaround in fortunes for Neuville and Gilsoul on Saturday. Forced to restart on Sunday morning under Rally 2 after they broke the left rear suspension of the Hyundai i20 WRC in a corner on Saturday, the Belgians struggled for pace and saw their run of Power Stage points broken as well.

 

Neuville said: “We made too many small mistakes this morning and struggled with the handling of the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC. We didn’t have enough time in the car on Saturday to prepare ourselves in the best way for these final stages. It’s obviously a massive disappointment to come away with so little from a rally in which we were hoping to be at the front. The championship is not over. I will give everything to turn things around in the final three rounds of the season.”

 

Short trip home

Hyundai Motorsport had a short return trip to its headquarters in Alzenau to reflect and learn from a difficult home rally weekend. Team principal Michel Nandan said: “Not so much a weekend to forget, as a rally from which we must learn and bounce back. We thought we would be able to mount a stronger challenge in our home event, but for a number of different reasons we were just not able to do it.

 

“We know from other rallies this season that our Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC is competitive, so this result is hard to accept. As I said after our disappointing Saturday, it is not in our nature to give up without a fight, and that’s the mentality with which we will tackle the three remaining rallies.”

 

Next rally

The WRC takes a six-week break before returning for Rally de España, which takes place from 5 to 8 October. It will act as the 11th round of the 13-event 2017 season.

 

The Spanish round of the championship is the only mixed surface rally of the season, tackling gravel and tarmac terrain.

 

Final results in Rallye Deutschland:

  1. Ott Tänak M-Sport World Rally Team 2:57:31.7
  2. Andreas Mikkelsen Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT +16.4
  3. Sébastien Ogier M-Sport World Rally Team +30.4
  4. Juho Hänninen Toyota GAZOO Racing WRT +1:49.2
  5. Craig Breen Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT +2:01.5
  6. Elfyn Evans M-Sport World Rally Team +2:03.4
  7. Jari-Matti Latvala Toyota GAZOO Racing WRT +3:58.2
  8. Hayden Paddon Hyundai Motorsport +4:32.4
  9. Armin Kremer M-Sport World Rally Team +10:19.4
  10. Eric Camilli M-Sport World Rally Team +10:44.3

 

 

WRC Drivers’ Championship standings:

  1. Sébastien Ogier (170); 2. Thierry Neuville (160); 3. Ott Tänak (144); 4. Jari-Matti Latvala (123); 5. Dani Sordo (89); 6. Elfyn Evans (87); 7. Craig Breen (64); 8. Juho Hänninen (58); 9. Hayden Paddon (55); 10. Esapekka Lappi (49).

WRC Manufacturers’ Championship standings:

  1. M-Sport World Rally Team (325); 2. Hyundai Motorsport (261); 3. Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team (213); 4. Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team (163).

 

 

 

 

For further information, contact:

 

Deon Sonnekus

 

General manager: Corporate Communications

Hyundai Automotive South Africa

 

deons@hyundai.co.za

Tel.          +27 (0) 61 355 1153

 

 

About Hyundai Motor Company
Established in 1967, Hyundai Motor Company is committed to becoming a lifetime partner in automobiles and beyond. The company leads the Hyundai Motor Group, an innovative business structure capable of circulating resources from molten iron to finished cars. Hyundai Motor has eight manufacturing bases and seven design & technical centers worldwide and in 2016 sold 4,86 million vehicles globally. With more than 110 000 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 and IONIQ, the world’s first model with three electrified powertrains in a single body type.

 

About Hyundai Automotive South Africa

Hyundai Automotive South Africa has been the sole importer and distributor of Hyundai passenger cars and commercial vehicles in the country since its establishment in 2000 as a subsidiary of Imperial Holdings. During the past 16 years, Hyundai Automotive SA has sold more than 500 000 vehicles in South Africa and, based on passenger car sales, is currently the 4th largest car company in the country. It has a network of just more than 100 dealerships in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Swaziland, and the Commercial Vehicle Division produces locally assembled H100 Bakkies and medium commercial trucks from its factory in Benoni, Gauteng.