Hyundai looking to build on its strongest ever start to a WRC...

Hyundai looking to build on its strongest ever start to a WRC campaign

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Hyundai Motorsport will be looking to build on its strongest ever start to a FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) campaign as the team heads to the snowy climes of Rally Sweden for round two of the 14-event season.

An impressive performance at the opening event, Rallye Monte-Carlo, saw Thierry Neuville battle for victory right up to the Power Stage with Andreas Mikkelsen and Sébastien Loeb also showing podium pace. The strength in depth of the three Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC crews allowed the team to take an early lead in the manufacturers’ championship.

The Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team line-up remains unchanged for Sweden, with Neuville and Mikkelsen in the #11 and #89 cars joined once again by Loeb in the #19

The trio will be aiming to defend the team’s 2018 success at Rally Sweden, in which Neuville and Mikkelsen claimed a 1-3 result. Loeb has also been a five-time podium scorer in the rally over the years.

Team Director Andrea Adamo said: “We had an exciting and competitive start to the new season at Rallye Monte-Carlo, so we want to continue with a high performance level at Sweden. We are hungry for our first win of the season! All three of our crews impressed in Monte with consistent pace and it was a close fight to the finish for both Thierry and Sébastien. Sweden has been good to us in the past, including our victory and double podium last year. We have all the ingredients to win and while we do not underestimate our rivals, who are very strong, we want to let our ambition dictate our performance.”

Thierry Neuville
photo: Helena El Mokni/Hyundai Motorsport

Neuville secured Swedish victory in 2018 and also finished second in 2015

The Belgian crew will start second on the road behind championship leader Sébastien Ogier.

“Monte-Carlo was a good sign of potential for us and we can’t wait to get in the car again in Sweden. It has been a nice event for us in the past. We’ve had some pretty competitive performances in previous years, including our victory last season. It is a rally we enjoy as a crew. Our car has always worked well, allowing us to set fast times on the frozen roads and use the snow banks to push to the limit. We know our rivals will be strong, as they will be at all rallies, so we have to focus on ourselves and do the best job we can”, Neuville explained.

Mikkelsen and Jæger finished third in 2018, their third podium finish in Rally Sweden

The Norwegian crew previously finished second in 2014 and third in 2015.

Mikkelsen commented: “Rally Sweden is a highlight in our calendar as we spend one day in Norway, so it is kind of a home rally for us. It’s the only event that is fully snow on ice. Driving with studded tyres on the stages gives you an incredible feeling like you are floating. We were disappointed to retire from Monte but we had found a good rhythm with the car and we are confident we can be fighting at the front throughout the season.”

Sebastien Loeb
photo: Helena El Mokni/Hyundai Motorsport

Loeb and Elena finished fourth on their Hyundai Motorsport debut at Rallye Monte-Carlo

It will be their first participation in Rally Sweden since they finished second in the 2013 event.

Loeb said: “Rallye Monte-Carlo was a solid start in our new relationship with Hyundai Motorsport, particularly with our limited pre-event testing. We were in the fight for the podium all weekend, and we are ready to build from that. Rally Sweden is a very different challenge. It can be the most exciting rally of the season if it’s full ice with good conditions and sun, yet it can be very difficult if the snow is melting with rain – so naturally, we’re hoping to have good conditions.”

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