Hyundai Motorsport crews target tarmac glory at Tour de Corse

  • The World Rally Championship (WRC) returns to Tour de Corse for the second time in six months as Corsica plays host to the fourth round of the 2017 season
  • Following its podium finish on the Mexican gravel, Hyundai Motorsport is aiming to hit the ground running in the French island, the first full tarmac rally of the season
  • The team finished second in Corsica last season, so hopes are high that the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC can show a similar level of performance – and fight at the front of the field.

- Fresh from securing its first podium finish of the season at Rally Mexico, Hyundai Motorsport is ready to take to the tarmac at next week’s Tour de Corse (6-9 April).

The Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC has already proven to be a strong and versatile challenger in this competitive WRC season. The team has amassed 20 stage wins and 16 Power Stage points in the opening three rounds – across all driver crews.

Corsica will offer Hyundai Motorsport an opportunity to build on its recent podium at a venue where the team finished second just six months ago. The Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team trio of Hayden Paddon/John Kennard, Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul and Dani Sordo/Marc Martí will all be aiming to repeat that feat – and hopefully go one better in this year’s event.

Long and winding roads

Tour de Corse is famed for its many tricky twists and turns, which have contributed to its nickname, ‘Rally of 10,000 Corners’. Providing some of the most stunning scenery on the calendar, the rally takes place against a variety of backdrops, ranging from jaw-dropping cliff edges, to crystal blue seas and picturesque villages.

This will be only the third iteration of the event since its reinstatement to the WRC calendar in 2015. The itinerary itself will have a familiar feel, although several stages have been shortened to reduce the competitive distance from 390.92km to 316.80km.

The crews have been working hard to make the shift from Mexican gravel to Corsican tarmac. They have all had the chance to test on Corsica this week over a total of five days. Paddon will also be competing in Rallye Sanremo in the New Generation i20 R5 this weekend in a bid to prepare himself fully for a return to tarmac.

We can’t be completely satisfied with the results from the first three rallies of the season, but we have definitely shown promise. We hope our podium in Mexico will unlock the full potential from the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC and our crews as we turn our attention to Corsica. This year’s WRC is incredibly close with three different manufacturers winning in the opening rounds. I hope it’s our turn now! Corsica will present its own tough challenges, of course, so we have to keep focused on the job in hand and remain confident in our own abilities.

Michel NandanTeam Principal

Tour de Corse 2017 at a glance

Taking place over ten stages and a competitive distance of 316.80km, Tour de Corse will serve as the first all-tarmac event of the 2017 WRC season. The service park remains at Bastia Airport in the northeast. Stamina will be key for the drivers on Friday.

There will be no midday service, instead just two tyre fitting zones in Porticcio. Saturday sees only four stages run but it will represent the greatest distance covered on any of the three days, with both loops totalling 131.96km.

The final leg on Sunday features the longest stage of the entire rally. SS9 runs between Antisanti and Poggio di Nazza and covers a whopping 53.78km. There will be no respite for the crews ahead of the rally-concluding Porto-Vecchio – Palombaggia Power Stage.

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