Hyundai Motorsport continued Rally Finland with two Hyundai i20 WRC cars following Hayden Paddon’s retirement on Friday.
The Hyundai Motorsport team has continued to battle resiliently as Rally Finland entered its penultimate day on Saturday. The eighth round of the 2015 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) has offered new challenges for the team today following the unfortunate retirement of Hayden Paddon’s #20 Hyundai i20 WRC on Friday.
With two cars remaining – the #7 Hyundai i20 WRC of Belgians Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul, and the #8 car of Spaniards Dani Sordo and Marc Martí – the Hyundai Motorsport crews set out to build their confidence on the second full day of special stages and to consolidate their top six positions in the overall classification.
The morning loop of four stages saw a more buoyant approach by both crews with drivers reporting better grip levels and slightly improved feeling with their cars. Although stage times were not as competitive as hoped, the two Hyundai Shell World Rally Team drivers were close in fifth and sixth overall this morning.
#7 Hyundai i20 WRC - Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul
Neuville picked up from where he left off on Friday with a determined drive on Saturday. Putting his shakedown crash behind him, the Belgian gained momentum during the morning and – despite some engine issues in the afternoon – he was able to complete the day in fourth place overall.
Neuville said: “To be in fourth at the end of today is really good and quite a nice surprise. We started the morning with more confidence than yesterday and I enjoyed the stages a lot more, even if we were still struggling for traction. My aim was to defend fifth position from Dani. In the afternoon, we had a problem with the engine and lost one of the cylinders. We worked quite a lot on the car and it was much better after the team gave us some good advice, so we could get to the end of the day. We have inherited fourth place today so now our target is to keep this in tomorrow’s stages and hope for a trouble-free end to the rally.”
#8 Hyundai i20 WRC - Dani Sordo and Marc Martí
Sordo also had a solid morning as he reacquainted himself with the high-speed Finnish stages. However, there was drama for the Spaniard in the opening stage of the afternoon (SS15 – Mökkiperä – 13.84km) when he slid off the road into a ditch. Thankfully, the crew was able to extract the car to finish the stage but with a five minute time loss.
Sordo said: “We had a better start to the morning and could get a good feeling from the car in the stages. It was not perfect but I enjoyed it a lot more and we were quite close to Thierry. The afternoon was not so good because I made a mistake in SS15, going offline and getting stuck in a ditch. We were able to get it back on the road but we lost a lot of time in the process, which meant we were out of the fight. I didn’t take any risks in the remaining stages but we will try to push a bit more in the final stages tomorrow to learn more about the car in these conditions.”
Hyundai Motorsport team
It has not been the easiest of weekends for the Hyundai Motorsport team as it continues to master the complexities of the demanding Rally Finland stages. The team will analyse today’s stages carefully and use the final stages of the rally tomorrow to secure a two-car finish and fourth place.
Team Principal Michel Nandan said: “We have had another challenging day but there were some signs of improvement. The morning loop was encouraging as both Thierry and Dani reported more confidence compared to yesterday. We had some issues in the afternoon. Firstly, Dani went off into a ditch and, although there was not much damage, he lost five minutes getting the car out. Thankfully he was able to continue. Thierry was able to keep his pace despite a problem with his engine, and it has been good to see him move into fourth place overall. We will see what tomorrow brings but our aim is to get a clean finish and pick up as many manufacturer points as we can.”
Sunday will see the 14.40km Myhinpää stage run twice, once as the Power Stage. Hyundai Motorsport will do all it can to salvage points, which will be invaluable to the team in its chase for second place in the Manufacturers’ Championship.
Overall Classification after Day Two
J.M Latvala / M. Anttila (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 2:20:20.6
S. Ogier / J. Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +13.2
M. Østberg / J. Andersson (Citroën DS3 WRC) +1:28.0
T. Neuville / N. Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +3:26.5
O. Tanak / R. Molder (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +4:19.1
J. Hänninen / T. Tuominen (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +4:21.0
M. Prokop / J. Tomanek (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +5:41.2
E. Lappi / J. Ferm (Škoda Fabia R5) +6:32.6
P. Tidemand / E. Axelsson (Škoda Fabia R5) +7:55.9
L. Bertelli / L. Granai (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +8:56.8
D. Sordo / M. Martí (Hyundai i20 WRC) +9:22.5