Hayden Paddon and Thierry Neuville claim second and third for Hyundai Motorsport
June 14, 2015 An impressive double podium was reward for Hyundai Motorsport after a competitive showing at Rally Italia Sardegna. Second and third positions have enabled the team to close the gap to second in the Manufacturers Championship.
Leading from the opening action of Friday, Hayden Paddon held off all challengers until Saturday afternoons loop. After his fourth stage win of the weekend this morning, the Kiwi went on to secure a well-deserved second place overall, his first ever WRC podium, on the one-year anniversary of his debut with the team.
To finish on the podium is an absolutely amazing feeling, said Hayden. We had a strong weekend from the start but we just tried to take each stage as it came. With issues on Saturday afternoon, we thought that was the rally over, but thankfully we pushed on and made it through Sunday in a comfortable second. We took it very easily today, not taking any risks and we have a debut podium as a reward. Its been great to have such support from back home and Im sorry theyve had some late nights. We couldnt have done this without the team, so my thanks to everyone at Hyundai Motorsport, too. Lets hope this is the start of more results to come.
Thierry Neuville had a troubled start to the rally but he has fought back hard and been rewarded with a win on SS16 on the way to securing third place on the podium, his second of 2015 and fifth overall for the team. This result is the second double podium for the team after the 1-2 at Rallye Deutschland last year.
For sure, it has not been an easy weekend so to come away with a podium result is absolutely great, said the Belgian. I am very happy for myself and for the team after all of the work weve had to put in this weekend. These Sardinian stages are very demanding and often quite rough, which has been tough for the car and from a driving point of view. Overall, it has been a competitive weekend for the team, and we were able to take a stage win and set some other quick stage times. We kept focused and worked our way into the podium positions, so we just had to take it easy today to consolidate the double podium result.
For Dani Sordo it was a weekend of frustration. After being hampered with a 10 second penalty for a start line infringement on the opening Super Special he showed excellent pace on Friday before his challenge was ended with a technical problem. Starting Saturday and Sunday under Rally 2 after enduring more drama, he had a clean run this morning and will be looking to bounce back in Poland.
First of all, this has been a positive weekend for Hyundai Motorsport, even if it is was a disappointing one for me personally, A double podium is a great result and Im pleased for the whole team, said the Spaniard. My own weekend was unfortunately not as good. We definitely had the potential to get a podium but we had problems on all days. This morning we had some nice stages and could show our performance once again.
The Hyundai i20 WRC cars have shown competitive pace all weekend but the demands of the tough Sardinian terrain have taken their toll on drivers, cars and teams over the three days of rally action. By working meticulously to deal swiftly with the issues they encountered, the teams mechanics and engineers ensured this double podium result was possible.
“What a weekend! We have experienced the full range of highs and lows but we leave Rally Italia Sardegna with a truly amazing double podium, said Team Principal Michel Nandan. Hayden has performed exceptionally this weekend and he has shown why he is a real star of the future. He acquitted himself professionally and calmly and he thoroughly deserves second place. Thierry, too, had a positive end to a tricky rally and its great to see him score another podium, which adds valuable manufacturer points to our total. Unfortunately, Dani wasnt able to translate his clear pace into a similarly positive result, but he did everything we expect of him and hell be back in Poland. All in all, this has been a hard rally but the team performed admirably and worked so hard to ensure we got all cars to Sundays final stages. Its this work ethic that makes these results even more special.