- Hyundai Motorsport secured a double podium finish with a 2-3 result in Rally de Portugal, the sixth round of the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC)
- Thierry Neuville finished just 15.6s behind rally winner Sébastien Ogier in second place with Dani Sordo in third, taking the team’s first ever Portuguese podium
- Hayden Paddon completed a frustrating weekend by claiming two stage wins on Sunday morning, with Hyundai Motorsport crews taking nine stage wins in total this weekend.
- Hyundai Motorsport has claimed its second double podium of the 2017 FIA WRC with Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo completing Rally de Portugal in second and third positions respectively.
The result fulfils Hyundai Motorsport’s pre-rally objectives in style, securing the team its first-ever Portuguese podium finish. It is the sixth time in the team’s history where it has had two crews on the podium and continues its run of 2017 top-three finishes after third in Mexico, a 1-3 in Corsica and victory at the previous round in Argentina.
All three Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team crews registered stage wins this weekend with Hayden Paddon and Neuville notching up four apiece, with Sordo also taking one. It is the first rally this season where all crews have achieved the feat and represents one of the team’s most successful rallies to date in terms of stage wins with nine in total.
Starting Sunday’s final four stages, including two attempts at the legendary Fafe jump, Neuville and Sordo set about defending their positions. Paddon, on the other hand, having suffered technical issues on Friday and Saturday, went about showing his true credentials with some impressive times.
Neuville could do little to reduce the gap to eventual winner Sébastien Ogier, but finished the rally less than 16 seconds behind the reigning World Champion. The Belgian continued his unbroken run of Power Stage points finishes, taking second in the concluding Fafe stage to score a total of 22 points.
With today’s result, Hyundai Motorsport maintains second in the Manufacturer’s Championship on 173 points and keeps up the pressure on leaders M-Sport, who are 26 points ahead on 199. Neuville, meanwhile, moves up into second place in the Drivers’ Championship, breaking through the 100-point barrier to 106 after six rounds of the season.
Following two consecutive victories, Hyundai Motorsport recalibrated its targets for Portugal, where it had never previously scored a podium finish. With each season, the team has edged closer and closer so today’s second and third positions continue that trend. The team now has 26 individual WRC podiums in its history, and has taken a top-three finish in 12 of the 13 rally events on the calendar.
We have achieved our objectives this weekend with two of our Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC cars on the podium. Congratulations to Thierry and Nicolas, Dani and Marc on a good job this weekend. When Sébastien Ogier starts the final day with a 16-second advantage, you know it is going to be an easy gap for him to manage. We set about securing our second and third places, which the crews did comfortably, while also putting on a nice show for the many thousands of fans out on the stages. Hayden and Seb showed great pace this morning, too, with two stages wins to add to their collection from this weekend. It’s disappointing that we experienced two separate problems with their car over the weekend, which we need to investigate more deeply. We have lacked a bit of performance compared to our nearest rivals this weekend, but we can be satisfied to take our first Portuguese podiums. Sardinia will offer another challenge but we have happy memories from last season, which we will definitely want to repeat!Michel NandanHyundai Motorsport Team Principal
The seventh round of the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship will be held on the island of Sardinia, where Hyundai Motorsport was victorious twelve months ago. Rally Italia Sardegna sees the Championship move into its second half with Hyundai Motorsport determined to register more wins and podiums with its Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC.