Home hero leads the way with podium all three drivers in top-eight overall
October 25, 2015 Our team has come away with a well-deserved podium from this weekend’s Rally de España, the penultimate round of the 2015 WRC season.
Dani was the highest-ranked of our drivers in his home event, claiming valuable Championship points with his third-place finish. Hayden Paddon showed growing tarmac experience, taking sixth overall. Thierry Neuville was unlucky as transmission problems sent him off the road in SS22, but he secured eighth overall.
The results means just four points separate us from second in the Manufacturers’ Championship, so it will be a fight to the finish of Wales Rally GB next month the crucial season finale!
Dani pleased his home crowd all weekend with consistent runs. He was in contention for the podium all weekend, and ultimately claimed third after Sébastien Ogier’s Power Stage retirement.
I am so happy with this result and our performance, declared the Spaniard. We fought hard for a podium and it was looking like we were going to settle for fourth, which would still have been a great result. It’s never nice to benefit from the misfortune of others but to be on the podium in front of the Spanish crowd is fantastic. We knew it would be hard to break into the top-three but we never gave up and the outcome shows you can never be sure of anything until the very end. We have some very important points for the Championship and something nice to celebrate with the team and fans. Its a positive thing to take into the final rally of the season, which will be decisive in our push for second in the Championship.
Hayden climbed quickly to the top-three during Friday’s gravel stages, including a joint win on SS2 Punctures slowed his progress on Saturday but he gained valuable experience on the tarmac and finished in a pleasing sixth overall.
I am happy with our weekend, admitted the Kiwi. We made a good start on the mixed surface on day one and have shown improvement on tarmac compared to last year. We had a decent Sunday and were able to move back into seventh, from where we took it easy to bring the car home. We then moved into sixth after Ogiers incident in the final stage. There is always room for improvement but we tried to keep pressure on the guys in front and I think we can be satisfied. We look forward to the gravel of Rally GB with our focus on the team’s fight for second in the Championship.
Thierry built his rhythm in the car throughout the weekend and was unlucky to go off in the penultimate stage as a result of a transmission issue. He showed his composure to get the car to the finish and took eighth overall.
Obviously this is not the way we wanted to end our rally, said the Belgian, Which up to todays final stages had been very positive for us. We had a difficult start but found more confidence in the car, which led to improving to seventh on Saturday. Unfortunately, we lost time in the first pass through Pratdip following a spin. Then in the second run through that stage, we had an issue with the transmission, which pitched us into a ditch. We lost five minutes and had to run the Power Stage with two-wheel drive. We have one round of the season left and I am focused on continuing to find the confidence we have started to rediscover this weekend.
Dani’s podium is his first of the year, and the third for our team after Sweden and Sardinia. It was a perfect way to end the weekend for our Spanish hero.
We can celebrate a brilliant podium thanks to a dramatic end to this rally, commented Team Principal Michel Nandan. It’s great to see Dani secure a podium in his home rally. Haydens sixth place is a good result after suffering from punctures yesterday, while Thierry can take consolation to finish eighth after his tough day. He had a transmission issue in SS22, the penultimate stage, which sent him off the road, and he then had to complete the rally with two-wheel drive. Three cars in the top-eight and a podium result is a nice achievement. The team has done an exceptional job. We have shown solid pace from the Hyundai i20 WRCs. I remain confident that we can take second in the Manufacturers’ Championship in the final rally well have to fight but were up for it!