Hyundai Motorsport in prime position for Polish podium

  • With podiums from the past four gravel events, Hyundai Motorsport hopes it can extend its run at Rally Poland, the eighth round of the 2017 World Rally Championship (WRC)
  • The team has a good track record in Poland with top three finishes in 2014 with Thierry Neuville and again last season with Hayden Paddon
  • Currently holding second place in the Manufacturers’ Championship, Hyundai Motorsport wants to reduce its deficit to current leaders M-Sport with a strong team result in Poland.

- Hyundai Motorsport will aim to continue its recent run of podium results as the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) moves to Poland for round eight of the 2017 season.

Having secured top-three finishes at every gravel event so far this year, including victories at Tour de Corse and Rally Argentina, hopes are high that the team can once again challenge at the front of the competitive WRC field.
 
The scene of two previous podiums, in 2014 for Thierry Neuville and in 2016 for Hayden Paddon, the team will be looking for another assured performance in this year’s event.
 
Despite claiming a podium last time out in Sardinia, and showing the rally-winning capabilities of the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC, the team lost some ground to M-Sport in the close Championship battle. Efforts will therefore be refocused on securing a stronger combined team result.

Polished performance

Set against the backdrop of the picturesque Masurian Lake District region, the Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally crews will need to be at their best to traverse the super-quick sandy roads of northern Poland.
 
Renowned for its rapid speeds and grassy sections, Rally Poland also sees plenty of rocky passages and stretches of limited visibility, meaning that crews will be put to the ultimate test.
 
First run in 1923, the Polish entry to the WRC Calendar is one of the oldest rallies in the world. It was included in the inaugural WRC Championship schedule in 1973, where only three entrants managed to cross the finish line. The crews will be hoping for a much higher success rate this time out.
 
More than one third of this year’s itinerary is new, meaning that accuracy of pace notes will be of paramount importance. The three Hyundai Motorsport crews of Hayden Paddon/Seb Marshall, Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul and Dani Sordo/Marc Martí all tested in Lithuania this week in preparation for Rally Poland. With five different winners across the first seven events, it promises to be another competitive WRC weekend.

From the hot coastal setting of Sardinia, we move onto the fastest rallies of the season – Poland and Finland – which will offer a brand new set of demands for our Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC. Poland is a rally at which we have always been quite competitive, with a podium in our debut season and again last year. We know our car is well suited to gravel but now will be the first true test at higher speeds. Our target is very much on the Championship battle, which is intensifying with each event. We need to ensure a strong team result at all rallies if we are to take the fight to M-Sport. That means we need to work with all three of our crews to help them to get the best out of their cars, and indeed themselves on each stage.

Michel NandanTeam Principal

Rally Poland at a glance

Consisting of 23 stages run across 326.64km, Rally Poland will be the fifth gravel outing of the season.
 
Mikolajki, several hours north of the capital Warsaw, will serve as the rally’s base. It will host the start and finish, as well as a Super Special stage next to the service park that is run three times throughout the weekend.
 
After Thursday evening’s curtain raiser, Friday’s format is unchanged from last year. The action will comprise of two loops of four tests to the north-east, before a repeat of the Super Special stage duels – meaning a total of 116.16km of ground covered on the event’s second leg.
 
Saturday sees the action head north for four stages that are driven twice, before a final pass over the Mikolajki Super Special Stage.
 
Sunday will feature four final tests, amongst which will be the Paprotki Power Stage, a new addition to the 2017 schedule.

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