Hyundai Motorsport has consolidated second place in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) after a solid finish to the tenth round of the season, Rally Australia, today.
Hyundai Motorsport continues to hold second place in the WRC Manufacturers Championship following a successful Rally Australia in which all three Hyundai i20 WRC cars registered top-eight finishes.
The final day of the tenth event of 2015 has seen competitors tackle five stages, including two runs of the 21.95km Bucca Long and 9.23km Wedding Bells stages, as well as the shorter 6.4km Settles Rd. The second pass of Wedding Bells played out as the rally’s Power Stage.
Hayden Paddon (#8 Hyundai i20 WRC) scored his fourth top-five result of the season so far with a strong run to fifth overall, after a clean end to the event in front of many Kiwi supporters. His fellow Hyundai Shell World Rally Team driver Thierry Neuville completed the event in a solid seventh place, picking up important championship points for the Manufacturers’ Championship.
Rallying under the Hyundai Mobis World Rally Team for this event, Dani Sordo finished in eighth place after a highly respectable weekend for the Spaniard in his first participation in the Coffs Harbour-based version of Rally Australia.
Hayden Paddon (#8 Hyundai i20 WRC)
For Paddon, a largely competitive performance - complete with two stage wins on Saturday morning - met the Kiwi’s high expectations as he rallied in front of many New Zealand rally fans and supporters who had made the trip to Australia this weekend.
Paddon said: “It was a solid final day for us and a pleasing end to a positive weekend. I was happy with our pace today and enjoying driving the car. We were a bit in no man’s land with a big gap in front of us and an equally big one behind, so we concentrated on bringing the car home in fifth - picking up important points which has helped the team to consolidate second place in the Manufacturers’ classification. Personally, it has been a fantastic weekend. We had a particularly good morning on Saturday with two stage wins but overall I have been happy with the car and my own performance. It has been great to see so much support from the Kiwi fans. It gives me such a buzz and makes Rally Australia a special event. Thanks also to the team for all their hard work this weekend.”
Thierry Neuville (#7 Hyundai i20 WRC)
Neuville was focused this weekend on picking up championship points and achieved that objective by completing the rally safely in seventh overall. The Belgian enjoyed a steady Sunday to bring the 17-stage event to a positive conclusion.
Neuville commented: “I had a good clean drive today, not taking any risks and just making sure we brought the rally to a successful end. There was no reason to push today as we focused instead on picking up as many Championship points as possible for the team. This rally is very enjoyable and we’ve had a decent weekend. We struggled a bit at times, mainly on the opening days because of our road position, which meant a bit of cleaning. Overall, we’ve made steady improvements to the car during the three days and I’ve been pleased with the way I’ve approached - and driven - the rally this weekend.”
Dani Sordo (#20 Hyundai i20 WRC)
Sordo found a good rhythm in his debut run at this version of Rally Australia, claiming a trio of stage wins on the opening morning, leading the rally and ultimately finishing the rally in eighth place.
Sordo commented: “I’ve enjoyed this rally a lot and I’ve been pleased with the performance of the car. We concentrated this morning on making sure we had a trouble-free run to the end. The positions were pretty secure so we had little to fight for. This has been my first participation in this particular format of Rally Australia and I feel that I have learned a lot. It was nice to take those stage wins on the opening day, when the stages were new for everyone. I felt that we were getting better and better with each day and we were able this morning to try a few new things on the car, which will hopefully benefit us for the future. It’s been a fun weekend!”
Getting all three Hyundai i20 WRCs safely to the finish
Hyundai Motorsport has approached this weekend’s rally, its second ever Rally Australia, with the clear focus on the Championship. Getting all three Hyundai i20 WRCs safely to the finish was the priority today, so it was a case of job done for the Alzenau-based team.
Team Principal Michel Nandan said: “We have fulfilled our pre-rally target of retaining second place in the Manufacturers’ Championship, which is the most important thing. Rally Australia is a very demanding event and we have worked well as a team to help get everything out of the car. Hayden had a strong weekend. He wanted a podium but he wasn’t far off with two stage wins and a competitive performance throughout the weekend, so he can be proud of himself. Thierry picked up more Championship points and Dani also acquitted himself well on unfamiliar stages. We can be reasonably satisfied with the event although we are always looking to reduce the gap to those at the front. We now move back to Europe where we will push hard in the final three events of the season with second place in the Championship our number one objective. Thanks to everyone in the team for their efforts this weekend.”
The FIA World Rally Championship returns to Europe for the 11th round of the season, in Corsica, at the start of October. Hyundai Motorsport will field a four-car entry with Neuville and Sordo in the #7 and #8 cars, Paddon in the #20 and Kevin Abbring returning in the #10 Hyundai Mobis World Rally Team entry.
Overall Final Classification
- S. Ogier / J. Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 2:59:16.4
- J.M Latvala / M. Anttila (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +12.3
- K. Meeke / P. Nagle (Citroën DS3 WRC) +32.6
- A. Mikkelsen / O. Floene (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +38.5
- H. Paddon / J. Kennard (Hyundai i20 WRC) +55.1
- O. Tanak / R. Molder (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +1:38.0
- T. Neuville / N. Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +2:08.3
- D. Sordo / M. Martí (Hyundai i20 WRC) +2:15.2
- E. Evans / D. Barritt (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +4:33.7
- N. Al-Attiyah / M. Baumel (Ford Fiesta RRC) +11:46.5
2015 FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers’ Standings
S. Ogier 235 points / J.M. Latvala 134 / A. Mikkelsen 111 / M. Østberg 90 / T. Neuville 86 / K. Meeke 71 / E. Evans 63 / O. Tanak 62 / H. Paddon 56 / D. Sordo 56 / M. Prokop 33 / K. Al Qassimi 9 / Y. Protasov 8 / J. Hänninen 8 / N. Al-Attyiah 7 / S. Loeb 6 / A. Al-Kuwari 6 / R. Kubica 6 / D. Dominguez 4 / P. Andreucci 4 / E. Lappi 4 / N. Fuchs 2 / G. Saba 2 / J. Kopecky 2 / P. Tidemand 2 / J. Ketomaa 1 / F. Villagra 1 / L. Bertelli 1 / S. Lefebvre 1
2015 FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers’ Standings
Volkswagen Motorsport 343 points / Hyundai Motorsport 177 / Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team 164 / M-Sport World Rally Team 148 / Volkswagen Motorsport II 76 / Hyundai Motorsport N 49 / Jipocar Czech National Team 43 / FWRT SRL 9