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

 

Hyundai Motorsport has completed a challenging weekend on the tarmac terrain of Tour de Corse, the fourth round of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) season, with a podium finish as Thierry Neuville secured third place.

The team saw all three of its Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC cars inside the top-seven with Dani Sordo in fourth and Andreas Mikkelsen in seventh overall after a demanding event.

Sunday’s itinerary included the monster 55.17km Vero – Sarrola – Carcopino stage, followed by the 16.25km Power Stage around the former prison at Coti-Chiavari. It was another tough day on the Corsican tarmac for the three crews who have struggled for pace and performance on the tight and twisty stages this weekend.

Neuville and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul were focused on securing third place on the final morning but ran into difficulty on the long opening stage, damaging their rear-left wheel. An undiagnosed engine-related issue prevented them from pushing in the Power Stage, but the Belgians were still able to confirm their third consecutive Corsican podium.

With manufacturer points awarded for the two highest placed crews in a team, Hyundai Motorsport continues to lead the championship with a reduced four-point advantage over the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team.

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

  • Belgians claim second podium finish of 2018
  • Neuville retains second in drivers’ championship with 17-point gap to Ogier

Neuville said: “It’s good to finish on the podium but there has been a bit of frustration over the weekend. We haven’t been able to match the times of the front-runners, even if we tried really hard. We have to be content with the results we have achieved, securing a podium and important points for the manufacturers’ championship. In general, I am pleased with the final result but in terms of outright performance we were just not on the pace this weekend.”

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

  • Fourth place for the Spaniards moves Sordo to eighth in drivers’ table
  • 12 points scored for the manufacturers’ championship

Sordo said: “Our end result is not too bad considering the disappointing weekend we have had in Corsica. We have just not been able to find the speed and performance needed to tackle these roads. It was a similar story on Sunday; we have pushed as hard as we can but the times have not been there. Still, fourth place gives us important points for the championship so that’s something positive we can take away. Now we need to work together as a team to get more speed on tarmac for later in the season.”

WRC Crew Notes: Mikkelsen/Jæger (#4 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)

  • Mikkelsen battles to seventh overall and holds fourth in drivers’ championship
  • Norwegians will seek to find more tarmac experience with Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC

Mikkelsen said: Absolutely not the result we wanted and a very difficult weekend overall. We made some more set-up changes for Sunday morning’s two stages but unfortunately we couldn’t find the breakthrough that we needed. It has been a challenging rally but we know that we have to do to gain more experience with this car on tarmac. We need more mileage to understand where we can find more performance from ourselves and from the car. We have some time before the next asphalt event in Germany, so we have to put in lots of effort to make the improvements we need. That’s the homework we are taking from this weekend.”

Tough at the top
Team Principal Michel Nandan commented: Starting with the positives, we have registered our fourth individual podium result of the season with Thierry in third place. With Dani able to finish one place behind, we have added some important championship points, helping us to retain our lead. It’s still incredibly close, as I think it will continue to be all season. We can’t afford to have difficult weekends like this too often, so we will have to regroup and work harder to improve our performance on tarmac. It wasn’t a trouble-free final morning, unfortunately, with Thierry experiencing issues on the Power Stage with only three cylinders. We have to investigate this to understand what caused it. There are lots of lessons for us to learn from this rally.”     

Next Rally

  • Rally Argentina takes place from April 26-29, returning to the scene of a memorable Hyundai Motorsport win from 2017
  • The 18-stage gravel event will be the fifth rally of the 13-round WRC season


Final Overall Classification - Tour de Corse

1

S. Ogier

J. Ingrassia

Ford Fiesta WRC

3:26:52.7

2

O. Tänak

M. Järveoja

Toyota Yaris WRC

+36.1

3

T. Neuville

N. Gilsoul

Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC

+1:07.5

4

D. Sordo

C. del Barrio

Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC

+2:02.6

5

E. Evans

P. Mills

Ford Fiesta WRC

+2:06.1

6

E. Lappi

J. Ferm

Toyota Yaris WRC

+2:33.5

7

A. Mikkelsen

A. Jæger

Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC

+2:43.4

8

J. Kopecky

P. Dresler

Škoda Fabia R5

+10:34.8

9

K. Meeke

P. Nagle

Citroën C3 WRC

+10:40.5

10

Y. Bonato

B. Boulloud

Citroën C3 R5

+12:26.0

To coincide with the 2016 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, Mercedes-AMG is presenting its very latest racing car: the new Mercedes-AMG GT3 for the first time in Australia. Motorsport and Mercedes-AMG are inseparable entities: competition on the racetrack is deeply ingrained in the DNA of AMG, and constantly drives the team in Affalterbach on to achieve top-class performance. In no other customer race series in the world is there so much variety as in those held according to the FIA's GT3 rules. They attract the entire international sports car elite to the starting line. The mixture of demanding sprint races and legendary endurance classics around the globe constantly confronts the teams with new challenges.

"We are entering a hotly contested and strongly occupied competitive environment with the new Mercedes-AMG GT3. The high technological level and fair race rules motivate us to be right up in the front rank with our new customer racing car," says Tobias Moers, Chairman of Mercedes-AMG GmbH. "Our standard version of the AMG GT is already aimed specifically at the fiercely contested sports car segment. We are now systematically continuing this strategy on the racetrack as well. Only those who win against the best can substantiate a claim to leadership."

The spectacular design and cutting-edge technology of the Mercedes-AMG GT3 will make their mark in customer sport, and the high racetrack performance of the standard GT already provides the best possible basis for this. The development team also had the benefit of the experience gained from the successes of the SLS AMG GT3. This first customer sport racing car from AMG, which celebrated its debut in 2010, has had an impeccable career with 187 victories, and was able to win the "Grand Slam" in 2013: the four endurance classics in Dubai, Bathurst, at the Nürburgring and in Spa-Francorchamps.

The design lines of the new Mercedes-AMG GT3 say everything about the character and ambitions of this racer: make way for a car that is primed for the attack, and wants only one thing, namely to win. Its matte paintwork in designo selenite grey magno covers the muscular contours like a second skin. As an alluring contrast, yellow exterior highlights create sophisticated effects in counter lighting. From whatever the viewing angle: this racing car from Affalterbach already makes a mighty impression at standstill, and embodies sheer power.

The widened body, the large air inlets, the diffuser and the enormous rear aerofoil – numerous features from motorsport give the Mercedes-AMG GT3 a decidedly dynamic appearance. At the same time it avoids any sign of unnecessary showmanship: all modifications to the body are in the interests of maximum downforce and aerodynamic efficiency, for best results on the racetrack. The specially incorporated features also improve the effective cooling of components subject to high thermal loads.

The new "Panamericana" radiator grille is particularly noticeable when viewed from the front. Its design with vertical chrome struts is reminiscent of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL racing sports car. In 1952 this won the famous "Carrera Panamericana" endurance race across Mexico. With this modern reinterpretation of a classic design, Mercedes-AMG is paying respectful homage to its illustrious racing antecedent. Its victories are both a powerful incentive and an obligation to strive for peak position once again. 

The three-dimensionally formed Panamericana radiator grille is more convex at the top than at the bottom – designers refer to these proportions as a "shark nose". It is particularly recognisable from the side, and gives the Mercedes-AMG GT3 a combative demeanour. The shape of the Panamericana radiator grille opens out downwards, suggesting the stylised "A" that is typical of the front end in AMG cars. The lower air inlet above the large front diffuser is likewise A-shaped. The carbon-fibre front diffuser transitions into a smooth underbody to produce hefty downforce together with the rear diffuser and rear aerofoil. Special cooling ducts in the front apron ensure efficient cooling of the front brakes, which are particularly subject to high thermal loads when racing.

To keep the vehicle weight as low as possible, the body is mainly of carbon-fibre: the bonnet, doors, front wings, front and rear aprons, side walls, side skirts, diffuser, boot lid and rear aerofoil are made from this particularly lightweight yet extremely strong material. As in the road going version, the vehicle structure of the GT3 consists of a likewise extremely lightweight yet rigid aluminium spaceframe. With numerous detailed improvements, systematic implementation of the "AMG Lightweight Performance" strategy has resulted in an even lower kerb weight than that of the SLS AMG GT3.

Flics mounted on the sides of the front apron generate downforce at the front axle, as do the so-called "louvres", the wheel arch air vents at the top of the front wings. On each side, the wider body compared with the standard version of the AMG GT3 creates space for the wide track of the double wishbone axles and 45.7 cm (18-inch) light-alloy wheels with centre locks. An air inlet on the left and right shoulders ahead of each rear wheel conducts the necessary cooling air to the transmission at the rear axle. The standardised connection for the fast-fuelling system is located in the C-pillar, where it is ergonomically ideal for the pit crew.

A large, central aperture in the bonnet has the appearance of a gaping mouth. Its purpose is to expel large volumes of air warmed by the cooling module. Behind the front wheels there are noticeable wheel arch air vents which likewise conduct away warm air. Air inlets ahead of the rear wheels assist cooling of the rear brakes. Directly in front of each one is an exhaust tailpipe – it is from these scarcely muffled "sidepipes" that the typical AMG eight- cylinder sound thunders. Music to the ears, not only of hard rock enthusiasts. Below the side skirts, the smooth underbody ensures an efficient airflow beneath the vehicle.

Extremely wide and sporting its large rear aerofoil, the Mercedes-AMG GT3 also cuts an impressive figure from the rear. Maximum downforce at the rear axle and high aerodynamic performance are ensured by the multiply adjustable rear aerofoil and the prominent diffuser. Large apertures in the rear apron expel the warm air from the rear wheels.

The AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine, with additional improvements for the new racing car, ensures the fulminating power already familiar from the SLS AMG GT3. Low operating costs, long service intervals, the user-friendly technology and, not least, the great reliability of this naturally aspirated, high-revving AMG engine were the reasons for staying with this concept for the customer sports segment. Dry sump lubrication obviates the need for an oil sump, allowing the V8 engine to be installed low down in the chassis and well behind the front axle.

As is usual for the standard production engines, the racing engine also has an AMG engine badge bearing the signature of the technician who assembled it: Production of the V8 engine is a manual operation following the traditional "one man, one engine" principle applied in the AMG engine shop in Affalterbach. Naturally these AMG engine specialists are particularly proud to be assembling engines that are used to compete on legendary race circuits.

The sequential six-speed racing transmission of the Mercedes-AMG GT3 is mounted at the rear axle (transaxle concept), and connected to the engine by a torsionally rigid torque tube. A drive shaft rotates at the engine speed inside the torque tube. Both components are of lightweight carbon-fibre. A multi-disc locking differential integrated into the transmission acts together with the adjustable traction control to ensure that the engine power is optimally transferred to the racetrack during acceleration. The driver shifts the six gears using two steering wheel shift paddles. Gearshifts are performed by pneumatic actuators which are likewise integrated into the transmission.

Like the road going version, the GT3 has a double wishbone suspension made almost completely of aluminium. This solution once again demonstrates how closely regular production and racing technology are linked at AMG. The same applies to the vehicle concept, with a low centre of gravity, perfect weight distribution, long wheelbase and wide track. This layout guarantees precise self-steering characteristics, high lateral acceleration, first-class agility, high traction and low inertia during fast changes in direction. On the different race circuits, all of these attributes give the driver the advantages necessary to achieve top placements.

For their individual, circuit-specific setup, customer teams are able to precisely set the springs and dampers, stabilisers, suspension height, track and camber. The servo-assisted, direct ratio rack-and-pinion steering likewise contributes to agile handling. The development team paid particular attention to the vehicle's predictable handling and good controllability at the critical limits. In these respects the SLS AMG GT3 has already scored top marks from racing drivers all over the world.

Neither did the AMG engineers accept any compromises when it came to the brakes: Good deceleration is ensured by a fade-resistant and very effective steel racing braking system with composite technology and adjustable racing ABS. Rapidly replaceable brake linings reduce idle time during endurance races. The pneumatic jacking system with four plungers integrated into the underbody allows fast pit stops and tyre-changes.

Functionality and safety are dominant features in the cockpit of the new Mercedes-AMG GT3. In addition to high passive safety standards, ergonomics was very high up in the list of development specifications. A clearly laid-out interior, ergonomic access to the controls and good ventilation to ease driver stress are very important aspects during sprints and endurance races.

The cockpit layout is basically the same as that of the road going sports car: the low, sloping dashboard resembles a powerful wing, and emphasises the width of the car. Numerous controls are arranged in the prominent centre console, whose shape is reminiscent of an NACA air intake, e.g. the main switch, the switch activating the ignition and the starter button for the V8 engine. A manual brake balance adjustment is located next to the rotary switch for traction control and ABS. Reverse gear and the fire extinguishing system can also be activated on the centre console.

The quick-release racing steering wheel eases access and egress. Like that of the pedal cluster, its position is adjustable within a wide range for rapid adaptation to different sizes of driver. As only the steering wheel and pedals are adjusted, but not the seat shell, the car's centre of gravity and therefore the wheel load distribution always remain the same. This safeguards the setup during endurance races, where up to four different drivers often take the wheel. It also ensures that each driver is seated in the safest position within the confines of the rollover cage. Ergonomically arranged shift paddles allow gear changes without the driver's hands leaving the wheel – a further safety aspect. The driver is able to activate the two-way radio, headlamp flasher or drink function using keys on the steering wheel. 

The central display is optimally positioned in the driver's field of vision. The so-called DDU (Digital Display Unit) provides all relevant information such as road speed, engine speed, operating temperatures, lap times, current gear and upshift indicator. A function key on the steering wheel is also used to switch between the information shown by the colour display.

The safety concept of the Mercedes-AMG GT3 translates the exemplary safety level of the road going GT to the racetrack. The development focus was on the greatest possible driver safety. One of the central elements of this philosophy is the carbon-fibre seat shell for the driver, which has a specially developed structure providing much greater protection than a conventional racing seat. The already well-proven concept of the SLS AMG GT3 was further optimised and adapted to the current FIA requirements. 

Thanks to its special shape, the safety cell bolted to the rollover cage and aluminium spaceframe provides a high level of protection for the driver's shoulders, pelvis and legs, and it is also compatible with the HANS system (Head and Neck Support). The HANS system helps to prevent serious head, neck and spinal injuries, and is mandatory in many race series. The seat shell is individually foam-padded for every driver, features a six-point seat belt with reinforced anchorage points and provides an outstanding level of occupant protection.

Additional protection is ensured by the rollover cage of high-strength steel, which is bolted to the aluminium spaceframe and helps to rigidify this even further. It too was optimised for easier access and egress by the driver. An escape hatch is integrated into the roof, so that the driver can be rapidly rescued in an emergency if e.g. no access is possible via the doors. For reasons of balance, the carbon-fibre safety fuel tank is located directly behind the passenger cell and features an inner sac of elastic rubber.

Production is in close cooperation between Mercedes-AMG GmbH and HWA AG, at the Affalterbach plant. A long-standing motor racing partner of Mercedes-Benz, HWA AG is one of the most successful teams in international motor sport: in total, the team won ten driver's titles (DTM and ITC) and three team titles for Mercedes-Benz and as such is the most successful team in the history of the DTM.

Hankook Tyre driver Fredric Aasbo brought home a first place podium finish in Long Beach, California at the opening round of the 2015 Formula Drift season, that also sees Hankook Tire as an official series sponsor. Competition was intense from the start of the racing weekend which saw Aasbo qualify in third place on Friday in his Hankook/Rockstar Energy Drink Scion tC, placing him in an ideal position for the following day’s battles. After contact with driver Masashi Yokoi early on competition day, Aasbo quickly worked his way through the field meeting up against Aurimas ‘Odi’ Bakchis in the Final. After a close final battle, Aasbo piloted his turbo nitrous Scion to a first place finish, putting him in the 2015 championship points lead and placing Hankook number one in the 2015 Tyre Manufacturer Championship.

“This is the perfect way to begin the 2015 Formula Drift season,” said Aasbo. “After losing second gear earlier in the day I had to shift between first and third for the final battle, but my Hankook tyres performed great all weekend and gave me the edge I needed to bring home our first win of the season.” All of Hankook’s Formula Drift drivers race on Hankook’s Ventus RS-3 Extreme Performance tyre. The Ventus R-S3 is designed for serious sports car, sports coupe and performance sedan enthusiasts looking for race tyre-like traction on the street, or for use in autocross, drifting or track events. “Fredric and his team did a great job this weekend, from qualifying on Friday to the podium on Saturday,” said Paul Jho, Hankook Motorsports Marketing Manager. “A first place win at Round 1 is the perfect way to begin the season.” In front of a sell-out crowd of 20,000, defending 2014 Formula Drift champion Chris Forsberg qualified second in his Hankook Nissan 370Z, but was eliminated in the Top 16 battle, eventually placing ninth.

Formula Drift next heads to Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia on May 8-9 for round two of the 2015 season.