Hyundai Motorsport achieved a strong podium finish in Wales Rally GB, securing the team second place in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) Manufacturers’ title in the penultimate round of the season.
Thierry Neuville completed the 21-stage event in second position overall, behind Welshman Elfyn Evans, who claimed a popular victory on home soil. The result was not enough to stop Sébastien Ogier from clinching a fifth Drivers’ Championship, but the Belgian crew gave it absolutely everything. Alongside co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul, Neuville took five stage wins over the weekend, including a dominant Power Stage victory – and five extra points.
Demonstrating the strength of the Hyundai Motorsport package in Wales, Andreas Mikkelsen took fourth place overall in just his second event with the team
Scoring two stage wins on Sunday morning (SS18 Brenig and SS20 Alwen 2), he fended off Jari-Matti Latvala and Ott Tanak for fourth and ended the rally only four seconds from the podium. He also picked up an extra point for fifth place in the Power Stage.
“We have done our absolute best, trying to go as fast as we could”, Mikkelsen said.
“We wanted to show progress from Spain and we definitely did that. The battle for the podium was really close and I am pleased that we could finish so close to Séb. Fourth place in our second event with Hyundai Motorsport is pretty good. We took a few stage wins, but also made a few mistakes as well, so there is still room for improvement. Overall, I am happy. As a team, we must now prepare to finish the season in the best way possible in Australia, and then aim to make another improvement in the Championship in 2018.”
The team’s two other drivers Hayden Paddon and Dani Sordo endured a more complicated weekend en route to eighth and tenth positions overall
Paddon said: “We concentrated on keeping things nice and smooth. The result isn’t what we wanted, of course, but we have started to regain our confidence in the car, and just enjoy ourselves a bit more. It has been hard to read the stages, but it’s been fun to get behind the wheel and to be part of the team again. We can now reset and refocus our efforts on Rally Australia, where we have our sights set much higher!”
We wanted a lot more from this rally but good to get a finish under the belt. A few things to sort and a full reset to come back at Rally Oz pic.twitter.com/pi6yk33WMq
— Hayden Paddon (@HaydenPaddon) October 29, 2017
Sordo added it was a challenging rally for everyone – with slippery and often unpredictable conditions.
“Unfortunately, we haven’t had the confidence that we needed to mount a stronger attack”, he continued.
“It’s nice to extend our run of rally finishes this season but it isn’t the result we know we are capable of. We have had some positive results this year. Although I am not competing in Australia, we will be hoping for a competitive event for the team as we prepare to come back stronger in 2018.”