- Hyundai Motorsport aims to secure its maiden title in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) at Rally Australia, the 14th and final round of 2019.
- Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul, Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio and Craig Breen/Paul Nagle will fly the team’s flag in the three Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC cars
- Hyundai Motorsport currently holds an 18-point lead in the manufacturers’ championship following its 1-3 in Rally de España, with 43 points available in Australia.
Victory and third place in the previous round, Rally de España, helped the team to increase its advantage in the classification to 18 points with 43 up for grabs in the season finale.
Rally Australia, the 14th and final round of an action-packed year of WRC, will bring the 2019 title chase to its culmination with 25 special stages run over a four-day itinerary.
Hyundai Motorsport will field three crews - Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul, Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio and Craig Breen/Paul Nagle – as it aims to finish the season on a high ‘down under’. The win in Spain was the team’s fourth victory of the year, having taken the top spot in Corsica, Argentina and Sardinia, and underscored the versatile performance of the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC.
The dusty gravel forest tracks near to the Coffs Harbour located service park offer crews a tricky test to end the season with road position often playing a key role.
We are approaching Rally Australia in the same way as every other event on this year’s calendar, with attention to detail, determination and a clear focus on securing a strong team result. Of course, there is a much bigger prize at stake at the end of it, but if we concentrate on managing the things in our control, doing a professional job, we have every chance of fulfilling our title ambitions. We know what we have to do, so our destiny is in our own hands.
Crew Notes: Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (#11 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
- Victory in Spain moved the pair into second place in the drivers’ championship
- Belgians won Rally Australia in 2017
I have always enjoyed Rally Australia, with its fast and flowing gravel stages through the forest. In recent years we have been among the first on the road, as will be the case again this time round, which brings with it some disadvantages. The cleaning effect is a bit more severe in this event so it won’t be easy for us. Even so, we will give our maximum effort in order to secure the manufacturers’ title. We have some great battles this season, and I expect Australia to deliver more of the same.
Crew Notes: Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio (#6 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
- Strong pace in Spain secured the crew a second podium finish of 2019
- Sordo’s first Rally Australia since 2016
I am pleased to take part in Rally Australia and to play a role in helping the team’s championship target. It has been a few years since I competed in this event but it has always been a nice rally. The surface tends to be quite slippery on the opening pass, but you can benefit from a good road position. As the final round of the season, everyone will be focused on the championship. Our result in Spain helped to extend the team’s lead but there is still the most important part of the job still to complete in Australia.
Crew Notes: Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (#18 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
- Irish crew returns for third WRC event of season for Hyundai Motorsport
- Strong performance on gravel in Finland was followed by disappointment at Wales Rally GB
I really enjoy Rally Australia and it’s great to be heading back as part of the Hyundai Motorsport squad. Paul and I are looking forward to getting back in the i20 Coupe WRC and we’re delighted to have the chance to show what we can do. There are some nice roads in this rally with some incredibly beautiful landscapes, too. There is a lovely flow; it’s nice and fast in places as well. We are back with one mission: to help the team lock down the manufacturers’ championship. That’s what we fully intend to do.
Weekend at a glance
- Rally Australia includes 25 special stages that cover a total distance of 324.53km
- The action begins on Thursday with two short runs on the Destination NSW at Coffs Harbour
- Friday moves north to the Coldwater (16.78km), Sherwood (26.68km) and Kookaburra Rd (16.82km) stages with each run twice on the longest individual leg of the rally
- Saturday sees four stages – Northbank Reverse (8.00km), Utungun Reverse (7.54km), Argents Hill Reverse (13.13km), Welshs Creek Reverse (28.83km) – make up the two loops. Stages are run in a slightly different order on each pass with the 1.99km Raleigh test just before lunchtime service
- The final day will bring the 2019 WRC season to a conclusion with Mount Coramba (19.05km), Lower Bucca (11.47km) and Wedding Bells (10.31km) each run twice, the latter acting as the Power Stage