Hyundai Motorsport has completed the 23-stage Rally Finland, round eight of the 13-event 2018 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), with a fourth placed finish for Hayden Paddon and co-driver Seb Marshall. It equals the team’s best-ever result in Finland.

Starting as one of the first on the road for the entire weekend, Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul adopted a defensive strategy to minimise the points loss to championship rival Sébastien Ogier. A ninth-place finish for the Belgians saw them drop just six points to the M-Sport crew, with Neuville still leading the drivers’ table by 21 points.

Andreas Mikkelsen and birthday boy Anders Jæger opened Sunday’s four stages, just as they did on Saturday, using the opportunity to learn more about the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC on the fast and flowing Finnish roads. They were classified in tenth overall.

Sunday’s itinerary saw a repeat loop of the 11.74km Laukaa and 11.12km Ruuhimäki stages. With all eyes on the battle for the podium, the only real drama occurred when the Toyota of Esapekka Lappi went off in SS20 (Laukaa 1), elevating Paddon into fourth place.

Rally Finland has never been a strong event for Hyundai Motorsport, the team, however, has taken enough points to retain its lead of the manufacturers’ championship with a 26-point buffer over M-Sport and 27 ahead of the rally-winning Toyota Gazoo Racing team.
 
Crew Notes: Paddon/Marshall (#6 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)

  • Strong performance with 16 top-five stage times
  • Second consecutive fourth place finish after Sardinia

Paddon said: “On the whole, I’m really happy with the weekend. We have been able to keep pace with some of the event favourites, maintaining a consistent performance. Naturally, we would have preferred to score a podium, of course, but we took a measured approach to secure important points for the manufacturers’ championship. The final morning was all about taking it easy to bring the car home with a comfortable gap behind us. I’ve really enjoyed the stages this weekend, the car has been a joy to drive and it has given me the confidence I need. We are back on the right track.”
 
Crew Notes: Neuville/Gilsoul (#5 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)

  • Championship leader followed sensible strategy to minimise loss to Ogier
  • Secured two extra points in the Power Stage with spectacular jumps through Ruuhimäki

Neuville said: “Road position has really dictated a lot this weekend. Even without our mistake on Friday, when we misread a pace note, I don’t think we would have been any higher up the classification. We have had to accept our limits and focus on completing each stage with no further trouble. The main target was not losing too many points to Ogier, which we did to the best of our ability. We could only control what’s in our hands. We gave it everything we could in the Power Stage and it was good to take a couple of extra points. Overall we have done our best, the team has done a good job and we can be proud of ourselves. We now look ahead to the team’s home event in Germany.”
 
Crew Notes: Mikkelsen/Jæger (#4 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)

  • Tough weekend for the Norwegian crew, unable to mount a challenge after Friday incident
  • Used the rally to build more confidence on high-speed stages

Mikkelsen said: “A difficult weekend for us. Any chance we might have had to feature further up the order was spoiled with our time loss on Friday morning’s loop. Losing three minutes due to a pace note error was just what we didn’t need, and it meant we were penalised as first on the road for Saturday and again this morning. We have had to avoid any unnecessary risks and use this event as a way of better understanding the car in these conditions but I’m sure we’ll be back on pace in Germany.” 
 
Picking up the pieces
Team Principal Michel Nandan commented: “I don’t think we could have done much more this weekend. We knew we would face strong competition from crews who are always competitive on the Finnish stages. Congratulations to Ott, for an outstanding performance. Hayden and Seb had a positive event, doing all that we asked of them to score important points of the manufacturers’ championship. We’ve come to see fourth place here as a pretty decent result! Considering their road positions, there wasn’t much more Thierry and Andreas could have done. It’s been a character-building weekend and they’ve shown maturity in a frustrating situation. We now move onto our own home event, Rallye Deutschland, which brings an entirely different set of challenges – and hopefully opportunities.”
 
Next Rally

  • The 2018 FIA World Rally Championship moves back to tarmac for the next round of the season, Rallye Deutschland, which takes place 16-19 August
  • A home event for the Alzenau-based Hyundai Motorsport team, the rally holds special memories from the team’s maiden WRC victory back in 2014.

Final Overall Classification – Rally Finland


1

O. Tänak

M. Järveoja

Toyota Yaris WRC

2:13:18.2

2

M. Østberg

T. Eriksen

Citroën C3 WRC

+32.7

3

J.M. Latvala

M. Anttila

Toyota Yaris WRC

+35.5

4

H. Paddon

S. Marshall

Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC

+1:35.6

5

S. Ogier

J. Ingrassia

Ford Fiesta WRC

+2:15.0

6

T. Suninen

M. Markkula

Ford Fiesta WRC

+2:19.2

7

E. Evans

D. Barritt

Ford Fiesta WRC

+2:29.5

8

C. Breen

S. Martin

Citroën C3 WRC

+3:08.4

9

T. Neuville

N. Gilsoul

Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC

+3:51.8

10

A. Mikkelsen

A. Jæger

Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC

+8:37.4

Volkswagen won the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) in Sweden through Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) and remains unbeaten on ice and snow with the Polo R WRC. Four wins in a row at the only winter rally in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) For Ogier and Ingrassia, this latest victory was the third success in four years at this classic rally and their 34th in total. The road to victory demanded a herculean effort from the three-time world champions, for which Volkswagen was rewarded with its eleventh win in a row and 36th triumph in 41 rallies. The duo overcame the challenge of opening the route on roads covered with a layer of fresh snow, and thus having to sweep the road clear for the following cars, with one of the best displays of driving and navigating in recent years. Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger (N/N) ended their home race in fourth place. In contrast, Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila had to abandon any hope of a fourth victory at the Rally Sweden on Friday, when they suffered a broken drive shaft.

Hyundai Motorsport is celebrating another podium result as Hayden Paddon clinched second place in Rally Sweden, the second round of the Rally. The result marks the first occasion that Hyundai Motorsport has taken back-to-back podium finishes in the WRC and also represents the second podium for the New Generation i20 WRC which only made its rally debut at Rallye Monte-Carlo last month. Further underlining the performance of the new car, Dani Sordo added a second top-six result to his 2016 tally, finishing in sixth place, having shown top-three potential prior to a puncture on Saturday morning. Thierry Neuville ensured all three New Generation i20 WRC cars completed the rally, although the Belgian’s rally was hampered by differential troubles on the opening day.

Temperatures above zero and persistent rain before the rally, heavy snowfall and frost during it: the competitors at the 2016 Rally Sweden had to battle changing and difficult conditions. During the Recce on Wednesday and Thursday, the special stages were dominated by soft loamy ground and mud. Once the rally started, and the cars hit full speed, they were faced with ice and fresh snow. Thanks to the huge commitment shown by the organiser and the many volunteers who worked tirelessly overnight to prepare the route, 68.37 per cent of the timed kilometres originally scheduled were completed. Full points are awarded if more than half of the route is completed.

A true rally sprint. The warm weather in Sweden and the persistent thawing ahead of the second WRC event of the year forced the organisers to cancel nine of the 21 special stages. This reduced the distance of the classified kilometres to 226.48 km - making the 2016 Rally Sweden the shortest WRC rally of all time. Before this, the 2015 Rally France at 245.35, the 2007 Rally Argentina at 248.90 and the 2011 Rally Jordan at 259.56 timed kilometres were the shortest competitions in WRC history.

FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), Rally Sweden – Final Results

01. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), Volkswagen, 1h 59m 47.4s
02. Hayden Paddon/John Kennard (NZ/NZ), Hyundai, + 29.8s
03. Mads Østberg/Ola Fløene (N/N), Ford, + 55.6s
04. Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger (N/N), Volkswagen, + 1m 10.8s
05. Ott Tänak/Raigo Mõlder (EST/EST), Ford, + 1m 50.7s
06. Dani Sordo/Marc Martí (E/E), Hyundai, + 2m 24.0s
07. Henning Solberg/Ilka Minor (N/A), Ford, + 2m 40.0s
08. Craig Breen/Scott Martin (IRL/GB), Citroën, + 2m 44.6s
09. Elfyn Evans/Craig Parry (GB/GB), Ford, + 5m 17.0s
10. Pontus Tidemand/Jonas Andersson (S/S), Škoda, + 5m 31.7s

Sebastien Ogier increases lead in the World Rally Championship by winning Rally Sardinia in his Volkswagen Polo by over three minutes. Ogier overcame Hayden Paddon when he spun out and hit a rock, damaging his Hyundai i20 in a shocking display. Paddon still managed to secure his career-best result in second, ahead of his teammate Thierry Neuville.

The Belgian was 4m22s behind Ogier after inheriting third from Citroen’s Mads Ostberg on the final morning. Ostberg crashed while fiddling with his helmet’s intercom. The damage wasn't substantial but it cost him his brakes and meant he had to stutter through the following stage. This cost him the fourth place to Elfyn Evans of Ford and managed to hold onto fifth from Jari-Matti Latvala from Volkswagen.

Ogier also took the three points for the fastest time on the powerstage, ahead of VW teammates Latvala and Mikkelsen.

Position Driver Time
1 Sebastien Ogier (VW Polo) 4h25m54.3
2 Hayden Paddon (Hyundai i20) 4h28m59.7
3 Thierry Neuville (Hyundai i20) 4h30m16.8
4 Elfyn Evans (Ford Fiesta) 4h31m29.1
5 Mads Ostberg (Citroen DS3) 4h33m44.4
6 Jari-Matti Latvala (VW Polo) 4h34m01.0

Hyundai Motorsport has brought an action-packed Rally Mexico to a positive conclusion as all three Hyundai i20 WRC cars finished the gruelling 21-stage event, successfully tackling some of the season’s most demanding stages in the process. Dani Sordo (#8 Hyundai i20 WRC) battled through the pain barrier on Sunday to secure a satisfying fifth-place finish, scoring valuable Manufacturer points to help Hyundai Motorsport keep its second place in the standings. The Spaniard, who was forced to miss Rally Sweden after sustaining injuries in a pre-event training accident, returned to rally action for one of the season’s physically most demanding events. Alongside co-driver Marc Martí, Sordo put in a heroic performance, claiming a stage win in Saturday’s SS13 (El Brinco) and scoring his best result of the season to date.

Sordo quote: “I have really enjoyed this weekend and being back with the team. I have felt at ease with the car this weekend and the performance was competitive on most of the stages. We were able to set some good times, including a stage win on Saturday, but we also had a few issues to contend with along the way – which is quite normal in this tough rally. Physically, I have felt ok most of the time but I started to feel some pain after the long Guanajuatito stage this morning. To come away from this rally with a top-five result is very good, and great that we have been able to add some important points for the Manufacturers’ Championship. I look forward to building on this for Argentina.”

Thierry Neuville (#7 Hyundai i20 WRC) and Hayden Paddon (#20 Hyundai i20 WRC) both made the most of their Saturday morning restart under Rally 2 conditions to complete the event with no further issues. Neuville, who was one of the fastest men on the opening day with two stage wins, fought back superbly from his Friday roll, to claim eighth place overall. He put in a particularly eye-catching performance in Sunday’s monster 55.82km Guanajuatito stage, the longest stage of the rally. He then took a stage win in the SS20 Derramadero stage before finishing third in the final El Brinco stage to take an important Power Stage point.

Neuville commented: “Our objective today was to push to the maximum in the final stages. The long Guanajuatito stage was perfect; we had to manage the brakes but I took the jump flat out at 190kph and we set a good time. We then took a great stage win and third in the Power Stage to finish in eighth overall, so I am happy. The car has been competitive this weekend so it is a shame that the roll we had on Friday prevented us from capitalising on that. Nonetheless, the team has done a good job this weekend so it has been important for us to salvage some points today. Our stage wins on Friday and today, and strong performances in other stages, show what our potential was this weekend. Still, it is good for us to have a three car finish and keep our second place in the Championship considering the demands of this rally.”

Hayden Paddon (#20 Hyundai i20 WRC) and co-driver John Kennard have been on the back foot ever since a small off during Friday’s El Chocolate stage forced them to retire and re-join under Rally 2. The Kiwi crew were then first on the road on Saturday, which hampered any progress, but they made a clear step forward on Sunday as they improved their feeling in the car on Mexico’s unique stages.

Paddon said: “It’s been an eventful rally for us but I think there are plenty of positive things for us to take away. The car has been good. Coming into today’s final stages, I watched the on-boards from my team-mates last night and I learned a few valuable things about my driving which I can now take forward to Argentina. The final stage today pretty much summed up the weekend for us after I was caught out under braking early on in the stage, but we have still got lots of mileage this weekend and built up a good bank of experience in these stages, which was the main target, so I’m reasonably happy.”

Hyundai Motorsport continues to hold second place in the Manufacturers’ Championship following a determined and professional performance in Rally Mexico. Four stage wins and a Power Stage point gives the team a lot of encouragement heading to the next event in Rally Argentina, but everyone is aware of the work still required to keep up the pace with the front-runners. Team Principal Michel Nandan said: “All in all, it has been a busy and gruelling rally but the team has worked exceptionally well to cope with the tough conditions we have faced in Mexico. The performance of the Hyundai i20 WRC cars met our expectations for this event, where the high altitude can really affect the car’s behaviour; I am satisfied that our hard work in this area paid off. Dani did a good job in his first rally back from injury and showed a real determination to perform at the highest level. Fifth place is a good result and, with Thierry in eighth, gives us more Manufacturer Points. Thierry set some strong stage times this weekend, and this was perfectly highlighted with third in the Power Stage. The puncture and subsequent roll on Friday stopped him from mounting a podium challenge this weekend. Hayden, too, was unfortunate on Friday and was hurt by an early road position on Saturday. He showed the usual professionalism and fight, making a breakthrough in today’s final stages. We have a lot to be happy with, a lot still to work on but we hope that Rally Argentina will show another improvement in our overall team performance against tough opposition.”

Overall Unofficial Final Classification

1.  S. Ogier / J. Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 4:19:13.4
2.  M. Østberg / J. Andersson (Citroën DS3 WRC) +1:18.8
3.  A. Mikkelsen / O. Floene (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +1:25.1
4.  E. Evans / D. Barritt (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +3:40.2
5.  D. Sordo / M. Martí (Hyundai i20 WRC) +5:01.8
6.  M. Prokop / J. Tomanek (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +6:36.1
7.  N. Al-Attiyah / M. Baumel (Ford Fiesta RRC) +14:52.7
8.  T. Neuville / N. Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +22:43.3
9.  N. Fuchs / F. Mussano (Ford Fiesta R5) +22:49.0
10. J. Ketomaa / K. Lindstrom (Ford Fiesta R5) +23:10.2

17. H. Paddon / J. Kennard (Hyundai i20 WRC) +54:20.5

2015 FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers’ Standings

S. Ogier 81 points / A. Mikkelsen 47 / T. Neuville 35 / M. Østberg 32 / E. Evans 26 / J.M. Latvala 19 / D. Sordo 18 / M. Prokop 14 / O. Tanak 12 / H. Paddon 10 / K. Meeke 10 / S. Loeb 6 / N. Al-Attyiah 6 / Y. Protasov 2 / N. Fuchs 2 / J. Ketomaa 1

2015 FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers’ Standings

Volkswagen Motorsport 99 points / Hyundai Motorsport 75 / M-Sport World Rally Team 48 / Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team 42 / Jipocar Czech National Team 20 / Volkswagen Motorsport II 15 / Hyundai Motorsport N 3 / FWRT SRL 1