- Hyundai Motorsport has completed the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) with its 11th podium result of the season after Hayden Paddon finished second in Rally Australia
- A retirement for Thierry Neuville at the start of Sunday’s second loop ended any remote chances of a maiden WRC title
- Having taken three victories, 11 podiums and 68 stage wins in 2018, Hyundai Motorsport will now regroup and prepare to fight back when the 2019 season gets underway in January.
- Hyundai Motorsport has brought the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship to a conclusion with a podium finish on a dramatic final day of the season at Rally Australia.
Hayden Paddon secured second place to take his best result of the season, improving on third place at Rally Turkey back in September. Andreas Mikkelsen brought his Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC home in 11th overall, having mounted a solid comeback following his Friday retirement.
For championship contender Thierry Neuville, it was a heartbreaking final morning as he retired at the start of Sunday’s second loop. Neuville had started the day with a slim chance of claiming of the drivers’ title. Unfortunately, having closed the gap on the opening loop, his hopes ended when he clipped a tree in SS22 (Coramba II), causing terminal damage to his Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC.
Sunday’s Rally Australia itinerary included six stages over a total distance of 84km. A repeat loop of the 15.55km Coramba, 19.27km Sapphire and 7.16km Wedding Bells stages completed an impressively competitive and unpredictable 2018 season.
All four manufacturer teams have shown the WRC in its best light throughout the year with Hyundai Motorsport scoring three victories, 11 podiums and 68 stage wins. Building to an epic three-way fight in Rally Australia, the championship has been a fascinating rollercoaster of emotions and Hyundai Motorsport is proud to have played its part in a truly incredible season. The team ultimately finished as runners-up in the manufacturers’ battle with Neuville second in the drivers’ classification.
Everyone in the team extends its congratulations to Sébastien Ogier on securing the drivers’ championship and to Toyota Gazoo Racing on winning the manufacturers’ title. There is just two months to regroup and mount a new challenge for when the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship gets underway at Rallye Monte-Carlo.
Crew Notes: Paddon / Marshall (#6 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
- Second place represents crew’s best result since Rally Poland 2017
- Second podium of the season and highest placed WRC finish in Rally Australia
A great weekend for us! I’m really pleased to be back on the podium and to take our best result of the season. This feels like a proper podium. I felt the last few we’ve benefitted from others’ misfortune but we’ve definitely earned this one. Each year we’ve been getting one place better in Australia, so I must be on to win it next year! We’ve made good strategy calls all weekend and I’ve felt comfortable in the car. Thanks to the team and to the travelling Kiwi fans who have come out in their droves to support us. It makes all the difference. We have to see what happens next season but I hope this result helps our cause.Paddon
Crew Notes: Mikkelsen/Jæger (#4 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
- Completed first full season as Hyundai Motorsport crew with strong comeback
- Podium finish in Rally Sweden remains highlight of frustrating year for Norwegians
In many ways I am pleased that the 2018 season has come to a close. It has been a troublesome year for me. This weekend is a perfect example; we’ve been quick and competitive at times but our event has been overshadowed by pure bad luck. Throughout the year we have made improvements and felt increasingly comfortable with the car, we just haven’t been able to translate that into results. Still, it has been a great season for the fans and it has been a pleasure to be part of it. We have had great support from the team and we’re all pushing in the right direction. We now look forward to a bit of time off, and then some proper testing ahead of Monte when we’ll go again in good spirits.Mikkelsen
Crew Notes: Neuville/Gilsoul (#5 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
- Finished second in the 2018 WRC drivers’ standings following heroic effort
- Belgian crew amassed three victories and six podiums in total in 2018
We gave it everything and had to take some risks today to try and capture the title. Even it was only a small chance, we had nothing to lose. In SS22, the conditions were really bad, and we simply went wide and clipped a tree. That was it, championship over. It has been a difficult and tricky weekend, and not the way we wanted the season to end but it’s part of the game. I would like to say thanks to the team and everyone at Hyundai Motorsport in Alzenau for giving us the car to fight for the title this year. Congratulations to Sébastien and Julien; it has been great to fight with them this year. We knew there would be one winning crew and that two would go home empty handed. It’s unfortunate we are the unlucky ones on this occasion. It’s been a great season for WRC and we’ve attracted some new fans, so now we have a short break and we can look ahead to another season.Neuville
Fight to the finish
First of all, well done to Hayden and Seb for a great podium result and for demonstrating such competitive pace all weekend. They have hardly put a foot wrong all weekend and this result is thoroughly deserved. In terms of the championship, of course we are disappointed but we gave it everything we had. It was always going to be tough for Thierry to capture the title today; he had no other option than to push. That’s rallying and we accept all the emotions that come with it. This has been one of the most closely fought championships for years. The fact it went right down to the final morning shows just how competitive this season has been. We have utmost respect for our rivals and our congratulations go to Sébastien for the drivers’ title and to Toyota for the manufacturers’. We will now look back on the highs and lows of our season as we prepare to come back fighting in 2019. On a final note, I would like to congratulate Gabriele Tarquini on securing the FIA World Touring Car Cup drivers’ title in an i30 N TCR.Michel NandanTeam Principal
Final Overall Classification – Rally Australia
Toyota Yaris WRC
Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC
Citroën C3 R5
Toyota Yaris WRC
Ford Fiesta WRC
Ford Fiesta WRC
Citroën C3 R5
2018 FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers’ Standings
After round 13
2018 FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers’ Standings
After round 13
Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team
Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team
M-Sport Ford World Rally Team
Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
All results remain subject to official FIA confirmation.