Our champion crews add final honours to successful seasons
Even as rallying seasons around Europe draw to a close New Generation i20 R5 customers continue to be a fixture on the stages.
Two drivers, who have already sealed championship victories this year, brought their campaigns to a successful end with a final event. Meanwhile, the newest team to take delivery of their brand new car wasted no time in grabbing the headlines.
Debut podium for latest New Generation i20 R5 customers
Only a few days after taking delivery of their New Generation i20 R5 at Hyundai Motorsport headquarters in Alzenau, Germany the Onyx Racing by Enjolras team started their debut with the car. With driver Yohan Rossel alongside Benoit Fulcrand the French squad lined-up for the Rallye du Var (November 24-26), the event where the New Generation i20 R5 scored a first international victory twelve months ago.
The young French driver was immediately on the pace. He finished the opening stage fourth, facing up against an entry list led by crews aboard former WRC machinery. With consistent pace, including top-five times on each of seven timed runs on Saturday, Rossel and Fulcrand held fifth place entering the final day. In the midst of the battle for R5 class victory the pair moved up to third overall on the penultimate stage, taking a podium from their first event with the new car.
Comeback completes Ares remarkable season
Spanish crew Iván Ares and José Pintor brought their title winning Spanish Tarmac Championship campaign to a remarkable end at the Rally Comunidad de Madrid (November 24-25).
A poor tyre choice for the opening day left the pair struggling for pace, a problem that was only compounded by a 20 second penalty for arriving late to start SS4. With the additional time taken into account the duo were twelfth overall. However, the fastest run on the following stage, the last of the day, marked the beginning of a superb comeback.
On the final day of the rally and of the season the pair showed the speed that has made them almost unbeatable in the second half of the year. Their New Generation i20 R5 won six of the eight stages and the crew took third position overall on the final test of the event. The comeback, while incredible on its own, was made all the more impressive as it preserved the duos perfect record of having stood on the podium at each of the ten rounds of the championship.
Surhayen Pernía and Carlos del Barrio finished seventh overall on the event. The Hyundai Canaries supported crew finished the season fourth in the points standings, despite missing one round.
Dominant tarmac showing for gravel champion Berfa
French Gravel champion Jordan Berfa also added one final honour to his already successful season. With Nathalie Berfa taking on the role of co-driver they entered their Turbo ABP Competition run New Generation i20 R5 in the Rallye National du Fenouillèdes (November 18-19).
The duo won all but one of the twelve stages on the two-day rally, dominating the event, winning overall by nearly five minutes, providing a triumphant finale to their year of competition.
Customers close out seasons with show runs
With the end of the season come the now traditional Rally Shows that take place around Europe. Hungarian driver Szabolcs Várkonyi took a Korda Racing owned New Generation i20 R5 to the Rally Show Santa Domenica (November 25-26) in Croatia. Finishing in sixth position, he and countryman Gergely Makai recorded an impressive result in their first event with an R5-specification car.
A pair of customer run New Generation i20 R5 were among a total of seven Hyundai at the Monza Rally Show (December 1-3), with teams HMI and Bernini Rally closing out their busy seasons at the famous venue.
Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Manager Andrea Adamo said: It has been a remarkable year for so many of our New Generation i20 R5 customers. With their latest results our champion crews in Spain and France have added an exclamation point to their already successful seasons, which promises great things for next year. Our most recent customers are also looking towards the coming campaigns. Their third place at the Rallye du Var on their first event with the car is a very impressive result at such a difficult rally. Within the Customer Racing department we are also looking toward next season, as we continue to work supporting our New Generation i20 R5 to ensure they can again compete for championship honours in 2018.