Running four cars for the first time, Hyundai Motorsport returns to a re-profiled Rally Poland after a podium finish in 2014
June 26, 2015 – Fresh from a double podium result at the last event, we hope to continue our competitive pace at Rally Poland. After securing a podium there twelve months ago the team will face new challenges this year with all new stages and, for the first time, the addition of a fourth Hyundai i20 WRC car.
Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo will continue to fly the flag for the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team. Star of the last rally in Sardinia, Hayden Paddon will once again spearhead the entry for the Hyundai Mobis Rally Team but will also be joined by Dutchman Kevin Abbring for the first of his four events.
Rally Poland will have a different look this year with all 19 stages held on Polish ground. The Mikolajki Arena stage will be run three times and is the only stage retained from 2014. The high-speed characteristics of the rally will remain, with sand covered gravel, tall roadside grass and hidden rocks all posing challenges to the drivers. Tyre selection will once again be a key factor in performance with soft compounds expected to be the primary choice. Hyundai Motorsport carried out a test last month to prepare for the challenge.
Rally Poland will be another important milestone for Hyundai Motorsport as we enter four cars into a WRC event for the first time, said Team Principal Michel Nandan.It will be a new challenge but we are pleased to welcome Kevin into the team. We had a fantastic result in Sardinia with two cars on the podium after great performances from all drivers, especially from Hayden. Our drivers generally perform well on unknown terrain so the fact that around 90% of Rally Poland is new compared to last year will hopefully play into our hands. It would be great to repeat the podium from last year and continue our performance from Sardinia.
Third place in Sardinia provided a timely boost for Thierry as he looks to repeat the performance shown in last years Rally Poland. We have good memories from last year where we finished in third place and took some fastest stage times as well, said the Belgian. I really enjoy the fast, flowing nature of the stages. It is quite sandy so you can get some deep ruts on the second pass but if you have perfect, precise pace notes you can really have a lot of fun. Sardinia was challenging but I hope we can build on the podium there as we move to Poland.
Dani only competed in the recce of last years Rally Poland but the new composition of the Polish stages will hopefully help minimise any disadvantage to his rivals. This will be my first time driving the Hyundai i20 WRC in Poland, said the Spaniard. A lot of the stages will be new, but we will have fast roads, similar to Finland but with gravel and narrower. The team was strong in Poland last year and we had a positive Sardinia rally so I hope we can continue in the same way. It should be a fun rally.
Although Hayden was among the standout performers in Sardinia, leading much of the rally and taking his maiden WRC podium, he is keeping his feet on the ground for Poland. Sardinia was a great result but we wont get carried away. We have to take each rally as it comes and keep focused on the job in hand, said the Kiwi. Poland is quite similar in places to Finland – fast, flowing and with a lot of crests. The stages are nice and suit my driving style so Im looking forward to getting back out there and seeing what we can do.
Dutchman Kevin Abbring made his first appearance for Hyundai Motorsport in Rally Sweden standing in for injured Dani, but Poland will mark the first of four programmed rallies for the promising youngster. I took a JWRC win in Poland in 2009, said Kevin. Its a very fast, sandy rally with narrow bits in the forest. The fast roads over crests are really nice. Its my first gravel event in a WRC car and Im still getting used to the car so it will be important to get the pace notes right and to build up a rhythm. Itll be good to see four cars lined up in our service park and I hope to show everyone what Im capable of.
The rally will once again be based in Mikolajki. Friday will see over 150km of action, almost half the total stage mileage for the rally. This includes the 39.12km Stanczyki test, Polands longest ever stage. With no midday service this will be a complex and challenging day. Saturdays stages run closer to the service park but will be no less demanding. The 14.6km Baranowo stage brings the event to a close on Sunday morning, with the stage run twice – once as the Power Stage.