Hyundai leading the WRC championship in Finland

  • Hyundai Motorsport has taken a fourth-place finish in Rally Finland, the ninth round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) with a spirited performance over the weekend
  • Andreas Mikkelsen claimed a hard-fought top-four result and third place in the Power Stage to end the rally as the highest placed Hyundai Motorsport driver
  • Thierry Neuville secured a strong second in the Power Stage to take sixth overall, one place ahead of his team-mate Craig Breen in seventh

- Hyundai Motorsport has emerged from a closely fought Rally Finland with valuable points for the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship, as the team retains a 24-point lead in the manufacturers’ table.

It was a fascinating fight to the finish in Finland as crews put on a sensational display of world class rallying for the cheering crowds, with high-octane stages and heart stopping jumps that epitomise Rally Finland.
 
Sunday’s itinerary included two stages; Laukaa (11.75km) and Ruuhimäki (11.12km). Each was run twice with the second run through Ruuhimäki acting as the Power Stage. Despite covering a total distance of just 45.74km, in a rally where every tenth-of-a-second counts, there was no let-up for the crews as they fought hard for their respective positions.

Andreas Mikkelsen had been embroiled in a tug-of-war battle with Sébastien Ogier for fourth place, the two drivers having swapped positions regularly throughout Saturday. On the final morning, it was the Norwegian who took the upper hand, cementing his advantage with a stage win on SS22 (Laukaa), his third fastest time of the weekend, and a strong run to third in the Power Stage.
 
Thierry Neuville, recovering from a tough start to the rally, took sixth place, benefitting from the support of his teammate Craig Breen, who ended his debut with Hyundai Motorsport in seventh place after an impressive performance all weekend. The Belgian finished second in the Power Stage to secure four points for the drivers’ championship, in which he lies third – three points behind Ogier.

In total, Hyundai Motorsport claimed five stage wins over the weekend, more than it ever has at Rally Finland, and demonstrated a notable performance improvement compared to previous visits. With two cars finishing in the top-six, the team holds onto its lead in the manufacturers’ championship with a 24-point lead over its nearest rivals and five rallies remaining on the calendar.

Crew Notes: Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger-Amland (#89 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)

  • Three stage wins over the weekend (SS8, SS19, SS22)
  • Third place in the Power Stage secured fourth place and valuable championship points

Fourth place, even if it wasn’t quite a podium, means a huge amount to me. We have been involved in an incredibly close battle with Sébastien for much of the rally, and it has really come down every tenth of a second, fighting right to the very end. Thankfully, we had the speed and performance in the car, and the confidence in ourselves, to get the job done. It’s been a tough rally in the past, so it’s fantastic to have cracked the code this weekend. I have had a good feeling with the car all weekend and we’ve been able to set some competitive times. This is thanks to the efforts of the whole Hyundai Motorsport team over many months. We had some upgrades on the car for this rally, including some specifically to help my driving, which have worked wonders. I feel like my old self again!

Andreas Mikkelsen

Crew Notes: Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (#11 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)

  • Tough start hampered the Belgians’ progress
  • Two stage wins over the weekend and second place in the Power Stage

We gave it everything we had this weekend and it is important to focus on the positives. We were able to take away from really important points for both championships, including four from the Power Stage. We could not have done more. The car has shown an improvement in these fast gravel conditions, which is encouraging. We didn’t have the best of tests ahead of this rally, and I struggled to find the right feeling on Friday, which really dictated our weekend. We keep our heads high and look forward to the next one.

Thierry Neuville

Crew Notes: Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (#42 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)

  • A strong WRC debut in the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC for the Irish crew
  • A hat-trick of top-two stage times on Friday, and many other highlights to take away

This has been an amazing rally, I have to say. To have the opportunity to return to this level of rallying has been very special and I am incredibly grateful to everyone who has made it possible. I have enjoyed myself immensely as part of the Hyundai Motorsport team, and I was immediately comfortable in the car. We knew the job we had to do this weekend, and I think we’ve achieved that; it’s been a privilege to play our part in the team’s championship efforts.

Craig Breen

I have been very impressed by the pace, performance and attitude from all three of our crews in Finland. Without wanting to sound like a stuck record, I really wish we had been able to give them a better car this weekend. Having said that, compared to our previous results in this rally, we have seen a significant improvement. We weren’t scared to come here; instead we have worked incredibly hard to make our car more suited to the demands of this rally. These results are not only thanks to the efforts of our crews but also to everyone at HMSG. I know what I have been asking of them with many sleepless nights to get us ready for Finland. It might not yet be a victory but it is a clear sign that when you work hard you get results.

Andrea Adamo

Next Rally

  • The tenth round of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), Rallye Deutschland, will take place August 22-25.
  • The event marks the first tarmac round since Tour de Corse at the end of March.

Final Overall Classification – Rally Finland

1O. TänakM. JärveojaToyota Yaris WRC

2:30:40.3

2E. LappiJ. FermCitroën C3 WRC

+25.6

3J.M LatvalaM. AnttilaToyota Yaris WRC

+33.2

4A. MikkelsenA. Jæger-AmlandHyundai i20 Coupe WRC

+53.4

5S. OgierJ. IngrassiaCitroën C3 WRC

+56.1

6T. NeuvilleN. GilsoulHyundai i20 Coupe WRC

+1:32.4

7C. BreenP. NagleHyundai i20 Coupe WRC

+1:38.2

8T. SuninenJ. LehtinenFord Fiesta WRC

+2:33.8

9K. RovenperäJ. HalttunenŠkoda Fabia R5

+7:54.1

10N. GryazinY. FedorovŠkoda Fabia R5

+10:28.7

2019 FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers’ Standings | After round 9

1Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team

262

2Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team

238

3Citroën Total World Rally Team

198

4M-Sport Ford World Rally Team

158

2019 FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers’ Standings | After round 9

1O. Tanak

180

2S. Ogier

158

3T. Neuville

155

4E. Evans

78

5A. Mikkelsen

71

6T. Suninen

66

7K. Meeke

60

8E. Lappi

58

9 J.M. Latvala

56

10D. Sordo

52

11S. Loeb

39


All results remain subject to official FIA confirmation.