Hyundai Motorsport fights back to fifth in Wales Rally GB

  • Hyundai Motorsport concluded a challenging Wales Rally GB, the 11th round of the 13-event 2018 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), with its highest placed crew in fifth place
  • Thierry Neuville battled back from eighth overnight to finish the rally in the top-five, adding two extra points for fourth in the Power Stage
  • Andreas Mikkelsen registered three stage wins over the weekend to score a top-six result ahead of Hayden Paddon in seventh.

- Hyundai Motorsport has suffered a setback in its FIA World Rally Championship bid following a lacklustre performance at Wales Rally GB this weekend.

Thierry Neuville salvaged a fifth-place finish after dropping down the classification following an off on Saturday morning. His Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team colleagues Andreas Mikkelsen and Hayden Paddon completed the rally in sixth and seventh respectively with just four seconds separating all three crews.

Hyundai Motorsport has consequently lost ground to Toyota Gazoo Racing in the manufacturers’ fight, now holding a 20-point deficit. With two rounds of the 2018 WRC season remaining in Spain and Australia – and a maximum 86 points up for grabs – the title battle remains fierce.

Neuville continues to lead the drivers’ championship, albeit with a reduced seven-point advantage over Wales Rally GB winner Sébastien Ogier. Ott Tanak also remains firmly in the chase in third.

Sunday’s schedule included five stages, held over a distance of 55.64km. The 10km Elsi stage kicked off proceedings before crews were faced with the 14.76km Gwydir Power Stage, taking place earlier in the final day than usual. There was no opportunity for a practice run in the slippery conditions, so it was a leap into the unknown. Neuville set the fourth fastest time to add two extra points to his championship total.

A tyre fitting zone at Dolgarrog separated Sunday’s two loops with an additional run through Gwydir and two attempts at the shorter Great Orme Llandudno making up the schedule. All in all, Hyundai Motorsport is ready to regroup for the final rounds of the year, in a bid to finish the season on a high.

Rescue mission

  • Five stage wins for the team over the weekend
  • Hyundai Motorsport holds second in manufacturers’ standings

Our aim today was to salvage whatever we could from a difficult weekend. We came to this rally hoping to fight for a podium, or even the win, but it hasn’t transpired. We failed to get the correct set-up of the cars for this event. We made improvements during Friday afternoon, and things were better by Saturday but with Thierry’s issue we were too far behind. We have to accept the result, learn from the experience and move on. We have allowed ourselves to fall behind in the championship and we now have just two rallies remaining this season from which we can bounce back. It will be an uphill battle but we have to give it everything possible.

Michel NandanTeam Principal

Next Rally

  • The FIA World Rally Championship moves onto the mixed surfaces of Rally de España later this month, for the penultimate round of the 2018 season
  • The rally takes place from 25-28 October with Hyundai Motorsport fielding a three-car line-up of Andreas Mikkelsen, Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo