August 22, 2017 – Despite difficult conditions throughout the event the Hyundai Motorsport driver Development Program (HMDP) pairing of Chewon Lim and Martijn Wydaeghe completed Rallye Deutschland, finishing just outside the top 20 overall.
At 309km the rally was the longest on the duo’s 2017 schedule, and with changing weather conditions throughout the weekend presented one of the biggest challenges of the year for the team in their New Generation i20 R5. Adding further to the demands was the mix of settings across the rally. Though the service park had moved south from Trier the round retained runs on some of the famous vineyards, alongside the fearsome Panzerplatte tests and a new set of very fast stages laid on the country roads close to the event’s new base at Bostalsee.
Rain during the opening day left many stages wet and slippery, with each corner offering up slightly different levels of grip. Running down the start order in a rally headlined by the crews contesting the WRC championship Lim also frequently had to contend with roads littered with dirt and mud dragged onto the road by other crews as they took advantage of the cuts available on many sections.
Despite the list of potential pitfalls the Korean pilot and his Belgian co-driver completed a mature performance, completing all of the event’s stages, adding significantly to their experience in the car as they build the foundations of a rallying career together.
Gaining confidence throughout the weekend
After a trouble free run through the vineyards on Friday the headline stages of the second day of the rally were the two passes through the Panzerplatte. The 41km runs through the Baumholder military range were by far the longest Chewon and Martijn have faced together. However, they completed both without incident, visibly growing in confidence on their second visit as they improved their time by more than a minute.
That pattern was repeated on the final day. The second run on both the day’s competitive sections brought improvements, not only in their raw times, but also relative to more experienced R5 crews around them in the event. Taking nine seconds off their previous time to complete the final stage Chewon and Martijn finished the rally in 22nd position overall.
Chewon Lim said: “It is difficult to say how pleased I am to have completed Rallye Deutschland, I feel very good about our weekend. In our schedule this year this event always stood out as one of the biggest, and certainly one of the most challenging, so I am very happy to have completed the rally. On the wet roads on Friday I really focused on completing the stages, rather than always pushing to the maximum. This allowed me and Martijn to have more confidence in the car, and better road position for the next two days. As we got used to the conditions and made some adjustments to the set-up and the pacenotes we were able to improve our times, which is obviously a big positive to take away from the weekend.”
Hyundai Motorsport Team Manager Alain Penasse said: “Chewon completed the rally with a very mature approach. The main aim for he and Martijn was to complete the weekend without any issues. Because of the nature of the event this year there was a real mix of different types of stages across the three days, so it was a valuable opportunity for them to get some experience in different conditions, and of the longer WRC event. The first day, especially, was very difficult with rain and slippery roads, but he took an intelligent approach. He didn’t push to the limits to compete with the R5 crews further up the order, and instead focused on his own driving, and came through without any problems. As the weekend continued he gained more confidence and that showed in the better times on the second pass through most of the stages, which illustrates the difference that a consistent weekend can make.”