- Hyundai Motorsport has secured its maiden win of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) with a confident victory in Rally Sweden
- Thierry Neuville won the rally by 19.8-seconds with fellow Hyundai Motorsport driver Andreas Mikkelsen taking his first podium for the team in third. Hayden Paddon finished fifth
- Hyundai Motorsport leads the Manufacturers’ Championship with 54 points, while Neuville tops the drivers’ standings on 41.
- Hyundai Motorsport has claimed its first-ever victory on the snowy stages of Rally Sweden as Thierry Neuville led a team 1-3-5 result in the second round of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship.
The Belgian, along with co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul, has been on imperious form all weekend, taking five of the team’s eight stage wins and adopting an intelligent approach to the event. Edging into the lead after Friday’s Svullrya stage (SS3), the #5 crew never relinquished their advantage over their rivals.
Ultimately, it was Citroën’s Craig Breen who finished in the runner-up spot ahead of the Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team crew of Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger.
Third place for Mikkelsen ensured a double podium success for the team in Sweden, as well as the Norwegian’s first top-three finish as a Hyundai Motorsport driver in his fifth WRC event with the team.
Sunday’s final stages were full of tension and drama. Two attempts at the 21.19km Likenäs stage acted as a suspenseful forerunner to the rally’s Power Stage, a comparatively short 9.56km run at Torsby.
One of the closest battles on the final morning was between Paddon and Toyota Gazoo Racing driver Esapekka Lappi with just 2.9-seconds dividing the two crews heading into the final stage. Unfortunately, a small off and an engine stall prevented Paddon from retaining his place, as the resultant time loss dropped him to fifth overall.
Mikkelsen secured third in the Power Stage to score three additional driver points, while Neuville added two extra points to his victory tally. The Belgian now sits atop the drivers’ championship with Hyundai Motorsport leading the way in the manufacturers’ standings.
First one of the season
- Debut victory for Hyundai Motorsport in Rally Sweden
- Eighth WRC win and ninth double podium in team’s history
This has been a fantastic rally for our team and it’s a great feeling to score our maiden win of the 2018 season. After the disappointment of Monte, we really needed to fight back and to score a good haul of manufacturer points. Thierry and Nicolas have been on top form all weekend, and they thoroughly deserve this result. As a team, we have performed strongly, which is reflected in the 1-3-5 results. Congratulations to Andreas and Anders on their debut podium with our team, the first of many we hope! Hayden and Seb also had a strong weekend to finish in a fighting fifth, despite their late drama in the Power Stage. I have said many times that the competition in WRC is the toughest and closest it has been for years, so we can’t take this result for granted. Mexico will offer a completely different set of challenges, so the battle lines will be redrawn. For now, though, we’ll celebrate this victory, double podium and positive all-round team result.Michel NandanTeam Principal
- Round three of the 2018 WRC season takes place in Mexico from 8-11 March
- First gravel round of the championship where Hyundai Motorsport has twice finished on the podium (2014/2017)