- Defending champion Gabriele Tarquini scores a race win on the opening weekend of the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup season and left Morocco third in the standings
- Luca Engstler gave the i30 N TCR victory on its TCR Asia debut, one of four Hyundai drivers to stand on the podium during the Sepang weekend
- Hyundai Paraguay supported Diego Dominguez won the Rally Trans Itapúa, starting his national campaign win victory, and adding to his lead in the CODASUR series.
Hyundai customers’ victorious performances truly spanned the globe, with Diego Dominguez taking the top spot in the first round of the national championship in Paraguay.
Race win for Tarquini caps consistent i30 N TCR performance in WTCR opener
Defending champion Gabriele Tarquini made a winning start to the 2019 WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup season at the Race of Morocco (April 6-7). The Italian took his BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse entered i30 N TCR to victory in Race 2 of the weekend.
Despite a restrictive Balance of Performance to start the year all four drivers with Hyundai customers were able to take points away from the event in Marrakech. In the first race of the season Hyundai was the only manufacturer to have all of their cars in the points scoring positions. The teams added more points in Sunday’s Race 2 and 3. Behind Tarquini both his teammate Norbert Michelisz and TCR newcomer Augusto Farfus added to their personal tallies in Race 2.
Tarquini completed his weekend with fifth place in Race 3. Together with his earlier win and fourth in Race 1 the result left him in third in the early points’ standings. A trio of points’ finishes for Michelisz, topped by an eighth in the final encounter, helped put BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse similarly third in the teams’ standings to start the year.
i30 N TCR wins on TCR Asia debut in Malaysia
i30 N TCR drivers took away a handsome collection of podiums and points from the car’s debut in the TCR Asia series at the Sepang International Circuit (April 5-7) in Malaysia. Team Engstler stablemates Luca Engstler and Théo Coicaud dominated Saturday’s running. The duo secured 1-2 results in both qualifying – which ended with an all-Hyundai top three completed by Pepe Oriola – and Race 1.
Engstler was never headed throughout the event, the fastest lap completing a perfect day for the German. Coicaud, though, had to recover from a poor start that left him only fifth at the end of the opening tour. However, he was able to drive up the order to reclaim his second place. Oriola finished fourth, and TCR debutant Daniel Miranda completed the top six in his Eurasia Motorsport car.
TCR debutant Miranda moved into the early lead of Race 2 after starting second on the reverse grid. The Filipino driver held on to take second place. Oriola, too scored a first i30 N TCR podium in his Solite Indigo Racing entry, climbing up the order after starting only eighth. Coicaud performed a similar feat, turning ninth on the grid into fourth at the chequered flag, lifting the Frenchman to second in the points’ standings to lead the Hyundai customers after the opening weekend.
Hyundai Paraguay crew start national championship with victory
Paraguayan Diego Dominguez continued his strong start to the season by winning the Rally Trans Itapúa (April 5-7), the opening round of the national championship in his home country. The Hyundai Paraguay supported team was consistent throughout the two-day event. After arriving second at the end of the first day, after winning the last stage before the halt Dominguez and co-driver Edgardo Galindo kept up the performance on Sunday. They moved into the lead with at the start of the final loop, and protected the position to claim the victory.
Not only was the win the perfect start to his national campaign but, with the event counting towards the continent-wide CODASUR championship, it strengthened his advantage in that series after his win in the previous round in Argentina.
Double top ten finish on French gravel stages
Sarrazin Motorsport drivers Brice Tirabassi and Dominik Dinkel put two i20 R5 in the top ten at the Rallye Terre des Causses (April 6-7), the first round of the French gravel championship. Returning for a second season with the Hyundai in the series Tirabassi finished second in the R5 class and fourth overall.
Running with co-driver Loïc Declerck Tirabassi moved into the position with the fastest R5 time on the penultimate stage, and held the spot on the finale, the longest test of the event. Dinkel, also made places in the late running, taking tenth place and sixth in class on that final section.
Top ten result starts Hungarian national campaign
The Hungarian national rally championship for 2019 began with the Eger Rallye (March 29-31). Long-time i20 R5 campaigners Lovász Pál and Tamás Kürti were joined on the stages by Zsolt Marozsi and Máté Szegedi of the Corse Attack Rallye Team.
It was Pál, once more competing under his own LPWM Sport banner who was the better of the two drivers, finishing eighth overall, while Marozsi – in only his second start with an i20 R5 completed the rally to gain valuable knowledge about the chassis to begin the season.
Customers take i20 R5 into new territory at Czech series’ opener
The number of i20 R5 on the stages continues to grow Hyundai customers are arriving in new series. At the opening date for the Czech national championship, the Valašská Rally (March 29-31) two of the latest teams to adopt the car for their season made their debut in the championship. Kowax Racing fielded two entries for drivers Martin Vlček and Petr Trnovec. Meanwhile Pole Maciej Lubiak used the Czech event in order to learn more about his new charge in preparation for planned outing in in the Polish championship.
Vlček provided the best result of the trio , breaking into the top ten stage times on three occasions and finishing in the top ten places for the Czech championship, where his and team’s main focus for the season lies.
Slovenian pairing take Mitropa Cup podium from Lavanttal Rallye
Pál was also one of three drivers to start their i20 R5 at the Lavanttal Rallye in Austria (April 5-6), the Hungarian combining commitments in the Mitropa Cup and his national championship. Another of the Hyundai crews, the Hyundai Slovenia supported duo of Rok Turk and Blanka Kacin was the best of the three. They ran inside the top ten overall throughout the rally, continuing to learn the car run by Italian outfit Friulmotor. The finished sixth overall, claiming second of those registered for the international competition.
Class podium for Italian crew
Matteo Daprá completed the top five overall at the Rally 1000 Miglia (March 29-30) in a Promo Racing run i20 R5. With co-driver Fabio Andrian at the opening round of the Italian WRC series, which includes both R5 machinery and older WRC-spec cars, he was one of the fastest R5 entrants for the duration of the event, moving into second position in class on the last stage.
Pace on WRC2 stages on the Tour de Corse
Two i20 R5 crews took on the challenge of the Tour De Corse (March 28-31). Both Simone Tempestini and Andrea Nucita showed the pace of the car on the twisting island tarmac, each setting times that put them among the best of the 25 R5 teams entered for the event. Driving mistakes, however, left neither able to collect the result which their speed on the stages promised.
This last weekend our customers truly spanned the globe, and delivered winning results in Africa, Asia and South America. On a very competitive FIA WTCR grid our customers proved that the Hyundai i30 N TCR is a world class package and Tarquini’s victory in Race 2 was deserved reward for the work over the winter despite a penalizing Balance of Performance. The car also had a fantastic debut in TCR Asia, taking another race win, and with both experienced i30 N TCR drivers and newcomers to the car and class on the podium. Our number of Hyundai i20 R5 continues to grow, and their performances show that the quality matches the quantity. Dominguez’s victory in Paraguay maintains a very strong start to 2019, and the podium finishes for crews across Europe promise a great year to come.