Hyundai Motorsport will be aiming for a podium-scoring performance when the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) returns to tarmac for Rallye Deutschland, round nine of the 13-event season, and the team’s home event. The team endured a difficult weekend on the high-speed gravel stages of Rally Finland, finishing in fourth place, having taken back-to-back victories in the previous events in Portugal and Sardinia. Nonetheless, taking valuable points enabled the squad to remain on top of both championship standings.
Rallye Deutschland holds a special place on the WRC calendar for the team, both as its home rally and as the scene of its first-ever victory in WRC back in 2014
Thierry Neuville will be hunting for glory in Germany alongside teammates Andreas Mikkelsen and Dani Sordo, who returns for his first event since Portugal.
Team Principal Michel Nandan commented: “Rallye Deutschland is an important event for us, and one where we have built up a lot of good memories from previous seasons. It requires a very different approach to other rallies, with a unique combination of stages. We struggled for performance on tarmac in Corsica earlier in the season, so we have carried out development tests with our i20 Coupe WRC to make some progress in this area. Our work has centred on suspension items as well as differential in an effort to improve the balance of the car. We had a more intensive five-day test ahead of this rally because of the mix of stage characteristics that we will face. We want to demonstrate a more assured performance, but I am quite optimistic we can be competitive.”
— Hyundai Motorsport (@HMSGOfficial) August 9, 2018
Mikkelsen finished second in Rallye Deutschland in 2017
Now he is sixth in drivers’ championship on 57 points.
“Rallye Deutschland is one of my favourite tarmac events. It is a rally with plenty of variety and challenges, but one that I find highly enjoyable. I finished second in last year’s event, so it brings back good memories. I hope for a good result this time around with Hyundai Motorsport. We’ve not had the sort of results recently that we know we are capable of, so I am determined to rectify that in Germany”, Mikkelsen explained.
Neuville was twice on the German podium with Hyundai Motorsport, including the 2014 victory
He is leading the drivers’ championship by 21 points over Sébastien Ogier.
“After four consecutive gravel events, it is going to be nice to get back onto tarmac. Rallye Deutschland is a great event. It is a home rally for the team, and it is also situated close to the Belgian border, so we see lots of travelling fans coming to support us. We have had some fantastic results here in the past – including our debut win in 2014 – as well as some more difficult ones. Still leading the championship after a frustrating weekend Finland, I am ready to get back to the front in Germany”, Neuville commented.
Ready for one of my favorite rally of the season! It will be my 8th participation to @ADACRallye this year. I got my first #WRC victory on this rally in 2014 and climbed the podium 3 times. Really hoping for a good result here this weekend! ?? ??#HMSGOfficial #TN #NG pic.twitter.com/Anx5baIYKY
— Thierry Neuville (@thierryneuville) August 13, 2018
Sordo returns for first WRC event since Portugal and is still holding fifth in the championship
He has taken two German podiums with Hyundai Motorsport (second in 2014 and 2016).
Sordo said: “I am pleased to be back in the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC for Rallye Deutschland, which is a very nice event and a home rally for the team. It is not a straightforward event with lots of different stage profiles. We often see some rain over the weekend, which can leave the roads muddy and slippery, but who knows what we will face this year. We have been competitive in Germany in past seasons, with some happy memories of the podium. That’s got to be our target against tough competition from our rivals.”