Hyundai Motorsport has taken a dramatic victory in Rally Italia Sardegna, the seventh round of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), as Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul stole a last-gasp win with a sublime performance on the final morning. The Belgian crew started the day with a 3.9-second deficit to leader M-Sport Ford’s Sébastien Ogier, but a perfect Sunday morning with four stage wins, including the Power Stage, allowed them to steadily catch and pass the Frenchman.
They took a memorable result by a mere 0.7-seconds after 313.46km of competitive Sardinian stages. In one of the closest finishes in WRC history, it actually matches the same minuscule gap by which Neuville beat Elfyn Evans in the 2017 edition of Rally Argentina.
The result is Hyundai Motorsport’s third win of the 2018 season and tenth in its WRC history. It marks the team’s second victory in Rally Italia Sardegna following Neuville’s triumph in 2016 and the fourth Sardinia event in succession where it has finished on the podium.
Let’s have a look to the numbers after @Rally_d_Italia ! ??
9️⃣ stage wins (Total of 163)
5️⃣ points in the PS
9️⃣ #WRC wins (3️⃣rd win this season)
3️⃣2️⃣ podium finishes
Leading the Drivers’ standings by 2️⃣7️⃣ points#RallyItaliaSardegna #WRC #HMSGOfficial pic.twitter.com/L302edihIK
— Thierry Neuville (@thierryneuville) June 10, 2018
“I can’t believe it! We knew we had to give it everything we had [on Sunday] morning, and it was a truly fantastic fight with Sébastien. The gap at the end was so small and we left absolutely nothing behind. We kept pushing as hard as we could without doing anything stupid. Battling against Séb is one of the most difficult things to do, so this is a precious victory”, commented Neuville.
Neuville: It was a truly fantastic fight with Ogier
“Nicolas and I send massive thanks to the whole Hyundai Motorsport team for giving us a great car this weekend. Without them, we couldn’t have done this. Starting first on the road on Friday put us at a disadvantage. The rain helped a bit but we never gave up and we can share in one of the finest wins of our career. Leading both championships heading into the break gives us all the motivation we need for the second half of the season.”
The success in Italy was Neuville’s and Gilsoul’s third win during the 2018 season.
#WRC Drivers’ Standings
Paddon 22#WRC #HMSGOfficial pic.twitter.com/QrS6ob7IR4
— Hyundai Motorsport (@HMSGOfficial) June 10, 2018