Hyundai Motorsport preserved Championship lead in Finland

  • Hyundai Motorsport continues to lead the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) after a challenging weekend in Rally Finland, round eight of the 13-event season
  • Hayden Paddon equalled the team’s best-ever finish in the high-speed gravel rally in fourth place overall after 23 competitive stages
  • Thierry Neuville and Andreas Mikkelsen finished in ninth and tenth overall, with Neuville still leading the drivers’ classification by 21 points.

- Hyundai Motorsport has completed the 23-stage Rally Finland with a fourth placed finish for Hayden Paddon and co-driver Seb Marshall.

Hyundai Motorsport has completed the 23-stage Rally Finland, round eight of the 13-event 2018 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), with a fourth placed finish for Hayden Paddon and co-driver Seb Marshall. It equals the team’s best-ever result in Finland.

Starting as one of the first on the road for the entire weekend, Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul adopted a defensive strategy to minimise the points loss to championship rival Sébastien Ogier. A ninth-place finish for the Belgians saw them drop just six points to the M-Sport crew, with Neuville still leading the drivers’ table by 21 points.

Andreas Mikkelsen and birthday boy Anders Jæger opened Sunday’s four stages, just as they did on Saturday, using the opportunity to learn more about the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC on the fast and flowing Finnish roads. They were classified in tenth overall.

Sunday’s itinerary saw a repeat loop of the 11.74km Laukaa and 11.12km Ruuhimäki stages. With all eyes on the battle for the podium, the only real drama occurred when the Toyota of Esapekka Lappi went off in SS20 (Laukaa 1), elevating Paddon into fourth place.

Rally Finland has never been a strong event for Hyundai Motorsport, the team, however, has taken enough points to retain its lead of the manufacturers’ championship with a 26-point buffer over M-Sport and 27 ahead of the rally-winning Toyota Gazoo Racing team.

Picking up the pieces

I don’t think we could have done much more this weekend. We knew we would face strong competition from crews who are always competitive on the Finnish stages. Congratulations to Ott, for an outstanding performance. Hayden and Seb had a positive event, doing all that we asked of them to score important points of the manufacturers’ championship. We’ve come to see fourth place here as a pretty decent result! Considering their road positions, there wasn’t much more Thierry and Andreas could have done. It’s been a character-building weekend and they’ve shown maturity in a frustrating situation. We now move onto our own home event, Rallye Deutschland, which brings an entirely different set of challenges – and hopefully opportunities.

Michel NandanTeam Principal

Next Rally

  • The 2018 FIA World Rally Championship moves back to tarmac for the next round of the season, Rallye Deutschland, which takes place 16-19 August
  • A home event for the Alzenau-based Hyundai Motorsport team, the rally holds special memories from the team’s maiden WRC victory back in 2014.