- i30 N TCR driver Max Hart leads the TCR points after a pair of second place finishes at the season opener at Oulton Park
- Jessica Bäckman gave the Veloster N TCR a superb debut in TCR Germany with a controlled performance to win Race 1 of the weekend at Oschersleben
- A closely fought second place on the Circuit of Ireland Rally allowed i20 R5 driver Josh Moffett to extend his advantage at the top of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship.
Hyundai Motorsport TCR customers made fast starts to a quartet of national series in recent weeks, with wins in German and Italian competition and podiums in the UK and Spain, and an i30 N TCR driver taking the points lead in the former. There were podiums for i20 R5 crews to start national rallying season in the UK and Poland, while in Ireland, a second place allowed another customer team to stretch their lead in the championship.
Double podium give i30 N TCR driver early TCR UK points’ lead
i30 N TCR driver Max Hart leads the TCR UK points standings after a pair of second place finishes at the series’ opening weekend at Oulton Park (April 16-18). A total of seven Hyundai customers lined up as part of the championship’s biggest ever grid. Hart led the group by qualifying fourth, one place ahead of 2021 rival Lewis Kent, who has swapped the i30 N TCR he won his two titles with for a Veloster N TCR for the new campaign.
Both were able to make up places at the start, moving into third and fourth before Hart kept up his charge to take second before closing in on the leader – though never coming within range to mount a challenge for the lead. Kent, meanwhile, dropped to fifth in the closing laps of the race. The final lap would also see Hart’s JamSport team-mate Adam Shepherd slip from eighth to twelfth.
Shepherd, though, would take the top ten finish he deserved from his first weekend in the i30 N TCR in Race 2, picking up eighth. From ninth on the partially-reversed grid, Hart came across the line fourth after a remarkable opening lap, a gain that was to act as a springboard for a challenge for the lead for the second half of the race – following two Safety Car interventions. Kent, still adapting to his new car, took sixth.
TCR Australia rookie records dominant victory in strong weekend for Hyundai drivers
Bailey Sweeny secured his first career TCR Australia win in dominant style in Race 2 of the weekend at the Bathurst Mount Panorama circuit (April 15-17). The rookie HMO Customer Racing driver was the only one of the four i30 N TCR drivers to make it through to the final part of qualifying, starting Race 1 ninth. He held position during the race to take the same spot at the chequered flag and earn a front row spot for the reversed top ten grid for Race 2.
He made the most of the opportunity, taking the lead on lap two before pulling out a commanding gap to score the first win of the season for Hyundai customers in the series. Josh Buchan, in a second i30 N TCR run by the team, picked up third position on the final lap to put a second Hyundai on the podium, while Brad Shiels moved up to eighth in his home event.
The results left all three well-placed for the weekend finale and – like Sweeny before – they took full advantage. The HMO Customer Racing pair again both stood on the podium, after making their way through the middle of the top-ten. Second placed man Sweeny set a new lap record in the process, beating the benchmark he had set a day earlier on his way to victory. Shiels, too, completed a strong weekend in his Tilton Racing-run car in an impressive seventh.
Langeveld and Ceccon score podium finishes from TCR Italy opener
The Elantra N TCR claimed podium finishes in both races on its first competitive outing in TCR Italy at Monza (April 22-24). Niels Langeveld qualified his Target Competition-run example a strong second on his debut in the championship, with 2021 runner-up Kevin Ceccon fourth in his first outing with the new car for Aggressive Team Italia.
Both benefitted from a bad start by the pole-sitter, with Langeveld able to take a lead. He then successfully defend from multiple attacks from behind as wet conditions worsened during the event to start his season with a victory. Ceccon was also involved in the contest for the podium places, exchanging positions throughout on the high-speed circuit to claim third. From 20th on the grid Damiano Reduzzi was impressive in his Trico WRT i30 N TCR, finishing sixth at the end of dramatic race. Cesare Brusa, in an i30 N TCR prepared by Target Competition, put a fourth Hyundai in the top ten – in tenth.
From fifth on the partly-reversed grid, Ceccon claimed another podium finish in Race 2 after breaking away from a fierce fight in the midst of the top-ten. Despite a strong drive it was only in the final laps – and after a mistake from his rival – that he was able to clinch a second third place of the weekend.
Controlled Race 1 win marks Veloster N TCR’s TCR Germany debut
On her debut with the Veloster N TCR, and the ROJA Motorsport team, Jessica Bäckman scored a first TCR Germany victory with a strong performance in Race 1 of the weekend at Oschersleben (April 22-24). Starting from second on the grid, she made the best of the start to take a lead that she kept throughout the race – only having to defend her position in the closing laps.
Behind, Lithuanian Jonas Karklys held off Bäckman’s ROJA stablemate Rene Kircher in his i30 N TCR by a split second to take third and complete the podium.
Karklys and Kircher were on the podium once more in Sunday’s Race 2 after finishing second and third respectively, the points helping Kircher to take the lead in the Junior category. After suffering a technical problem in qualifying that kept her on the final row of the grid, Bäckman recovered well to take fifth.
In his own i30 N TCR Patrick Sing scored a pair of eighth placed finishes.
Teo Martin Motorsport driver scores podium on Elantra N TCR debut
The second season of TCR Spain began with two races at the Circuito de Madrid Jarama-RACE (April 23-24) with Teo Martín Motorsport fielding a pair of Elantra N TCR for drivers Alejandro Geppert and Miguel Villacieros. It was Geppert who provided the best results for the team in their debut with the car, finishing second in Race 1, and fourth in Race 2.
Irish crew take second to extend championship lead
Josh Moffett narrowly missed out on making it three wins from three rallies in the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship at the Circuit of Ireland Rally (April 15-16). Alongside co-driver Andy Hayes, he was fastest on two stages with his i20 R5 and part of the lead group, fighting for the podium throughout the event. With only three tests remaining, he took the lead. However, he would start the finale with only 0.2 seconds in hand – a gap that was unfortunately not enough to keep the lead in the final results. Still, the second place was enough to extend his lead at the top of the championship standings after three of seven rounds.
Third place continues Magalhães’ domestic podium streak
Team Hyundai Portugal i20 N Rally2 driver Bruno Magalhães continued his string of podiums to begin the Portuguese rally championship at Rali Terras d'Aboboreira (April 15-16). With co-driver Carlos Magalhães he was incredibly consistent on the gravel event – finishing every stage in the top five on his way to a third consecutive third place in the first three rounds of the season.
Magalhães’ stage victory on SS3 completed an excellent opening day for i20 N Rally2 crews, which he and Irish driver Josh McErlean finished 1-2. Using the event to prepare for next month’s Rally, Portugal Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Junior Driver McErlean made a superb start to the rally – not only matching the more experienced local crews, but beating them to two fastest times inside the first four stages. Sadly, he was unable to continue beyond SS5 after an accident.
In his place, brothers Paulo and Pedro Meireles were both able to take top ten finishes overall, in sixth and seventh respectively, to round out a strong weekend for Hyundai Portugal-supported i20 N Rally2 crews. Lucas Simões narrowly missed out on adding a fourth Hyundai to the top ten, losing a position on the final stage.
Final stage victory secures Junior Drivers’ podium
Victory on the final stage of Rally Argentina (April 22-24) gave Customer Racing Junior Driver Fabrizio Zaldivar a podium finish in the South American CODASUR championship event. In his i20 N Rally2 he showed strong pace to hold a spot in the top five and, after losing time on the penultimate stage, he bounced back superbly to snatch third place.
Strong pace delivers podium to begin British season
The fastest time on the second of Saturday evening’s Super Special Stages set-up i20 R5 crew James Williams and Dai Roberts for a podium to start their British Rally Championship season at the Corbeau Seats Rally Tendring & Clacton (April 23-24). After ending the first evening tied for second, a consistent performance through the full Sunday of action on tarmac roads kept him in the top three – maintaining third place throughout to make a strong start to the national campaign.
Podium finish for Swedish crew at Polish championship opener
Swede Tom Kristensson took his Kowax 2Brally-run i20 R5 to a superb podium on Rajd Świdnicki (April 22-24), the opening round of the Polish rally championship. He and co-driver Andreas Johansson were one of three i20 R5 in the top seven. After winning two stages – compared to Kristensson’s single top time – Jarosław Szeja finished fourth in his own Hyundai Poland-supported 2Brally-run i20 R5. Łukasz Byśkiniewicz completed the trio in seventh overall.
Our customers have had a fantastic few weeks of competition as more of them start their main championships for the season. In TCR Italy and TCR Germany, drivers scored victories in the first weekend in the debut events of the Elantra N TCR and Veloster N TCR in the series. We have also seen podiums in Spain and the UK, where a pair of podiums means Max Hart leads a very competitive field. In rallying competition, Josh Moffett continues to show the excellent potential of the i20 R5 in Ireland with another superb result on tarmac and we’ve also seen great performances rewarded for i20 N Rally2 drivers and teams on gravel in both Portugal and Argentina.