World Rally Championship

Extending our lead in Sardinia

Team takes three stage wins on Saturday

Team takes three stage wins on Saturday

Thierry and Nicolas head into the final day of Rally Italy Sardinia with a 16.1s advantage!

Sardinia continues to be a rally of milestones for our young team! After taking our first ever stage 1-2 here in 2014, and a double podium just twelve months ago, we are on the eve of another fantastic result at the end of Saturday’s six stages.

After 177.7 competitive kilometres on the penultimate day, our Belgian crew of Thierry and Nicolas have increased their rally lead. Meanwhile, Kevin and Seb claimed their first ever WRC stage win at the start of the morning loop.
The Ones to Beat

Thierry added two more stage wins to his weekend total, taking the team’s total to 8 out of 15 stages – over 50%! His closest challenger for the lead, Volkswagen Motorsport’s Jari-Matti Latvala, reduced the gap to three seconds at the end of the morning. But Thierry kept calm to rebuild and extend his lead to over 16s by the end of the day

“It’s been another fantastic day for Nicolas and me,” he said. “The New Generation i20 WRC has been great to drive. We couldn’t find the same rhythm on the morning loop but we could push more in the afternoon. It’s a pleasure to be involved in this thrilling battle with Jari-Matti. It will be tough to fight for the win, but we’re up for it.”
Writing History

Kevin and Seb were determined to put the difficulties of Friday behind them. And they reacted in perfect style on the opening test by taking their first ever WRC stage win.

“It might have been dusty but it sure wasn’t rusty,” wrote Kevin on Instagram at the end of the day. “Writing history by winning our maiden stage in the World Rally Championship!”.

He added a second place in SS13 (Monti di Alá 2), scoring a Hyundai Motorsport 1-2 with Thierry in first. But unfortunately it wasn’t all positives for the Dutchman on Saturday.

“We had a few issues during the day,” explained Kevin. “We lost some time in the morning with a puncture. And we had an impact in SS14 (Coiluna-Loelle 2), which resulted in damage to the gearbox. We were leaking oil from the car so the team told him to take it easy and get back to service.”

“It’s all part of their learning curve,” continued our Team Principal Michel Nandan. “They are still in the rally and we hope for better fortune on the final day.”

Final Push

Dani and Marc gained two positions during Saturday as their rivals ran into difficulties. Our Spanish crew will focus on getting their New Generation i20 WRC safely to the end of the rally, and to score some more useful points for the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team.

“We have concentrated on our own rally, keeping each stage clean and getting the best out of the car,” said Dani. “We had a throttle issue on the final stage on Saturday. By that point, we had passed Mads (Østberg) for fourth place so we could take it more carefully. We have four more stages on Sunday and our aim is to secure valuable points for the team.”

A repeat of two stages, Cala Flumini and Sassari-Argentiera, will bring Rally Italy Sardinia to a conclusion on Sunday, with the latter of these two run as the Power Stage.

“For the team, we were aiming for the podium this weekend,” admits Michel. “But with Thierry and Nicolas holding a very defendable lead, who knows what Sunday will bring…”

Saturday Overall Classification

1T. Neuville / N. GilsoulHyundai New Generation i20 WRC3:07:35.2
2J. M. Latval a / M. AnttilaVolkswagen Polo R WRC+16.1
3S. Ogier / J. IngrassiaVolkswagen Polo R WRC+1:15.0
4D. Sordo / M. MartiHyundai New Generation i20 WRC+2:19.2
5O. Tanak / R. MolderFord Fiesta RS WRC+4:50.6
6H. Solberg / I. MinorFord Fiesta RS WRC+5:32.4
7E. Camilli / B. VeillasFord Fiesta RS WRC+5:38.5
8M. Østberg / O. FloeneFord Fiesta RS WRC+11:14.0
9K. Kruuda / M. JarveojaFord Fiesta RS+11:35.3
10M Prokop / J. TomanekFord Fiesta RS WRC+12:33.1
17K. Abbring / S. MarshallHyundai i20 WRC+22:23.2

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