Our team claimed an historic 1-2 finish at last years German rally, and returns this year with a four-car entry
August 14, 2015 After mixed fortunes at Rally Finland, the Hyundai Motorsport team returns to Germany for Rallye Deutschland. Last year we secured our first 1-2 finish at this event. It is the ninth round of the 2015 WRC calendar and the home rally for our Alzenau-based squad.
The event will be our first tarmac event with four cars. Thierry Neuville and DaniSordo finished first and second last year and will drive again under the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team banner. In the Hyundai Mobis World Rally Team,Hayden Paddon will be joined for the second time by Kevin Abbring. Haydens car will have the same specification as Thierry and Dani, while Kevins car will use ourpaddle-shift system.
Rallye Deutschland will be based around Trier, starting and finishing in front of the ancient PortaNigra where last year our team celebrated its first win.Therally is widely recognised as the most difficult tarmac event on the WRC calendar. The Mosel vineyard roads and Baumholder military tracks will provide a series of technical challenges.
The weather changes a lot and tyre choice will be an important factor. Weather and gravel crews will need to provide up-to-date information throughout the weekend. Accurate pace notes will beimportant,especially with huge kerbstones known as hinkelsteinon the military range stages.These concrete blocks are big enough to break a car, and they will be an extra challenge for drivers to avoid.
Germany is our home rally,commented Team Principal Michel Nandan, as our Alzenau base is not so far from Trier. Of course there are good memories here for us, because last year we had a good result our first 1-2 finish. For the second time this year we will have four Hyundai i20 WRC cars, although this is the first time on a tarmac event. All four drivers have been testing in the Trier area in the build-up to the event, and we are all quite pleased with the setup. Our fourth driver is Kevin Abbring and along with Thierry and Dani we have three drivers who feel at home on the tarmac so we can hope for a good result to add to our points total.
Thierry topped the podium last year in here in Germany. After a shakedown crash at Rally Finland, the Belgian drove well and finished fourth overall. He will aim to quickly get into his rhythm for Germany, which is also his home event.
We have really good memories from Rallye Deutschland last year, said the Belgian. It was our first victory for the team, which was a very big result to have done in a very short time. Getting a first win in the first season as a team was something unexpected, and we are going to try our best this year so that hopefully we have the same speed as last year and the same confidence. This rally is very close to my native town of Sankt-Vith, and a lot of relatives and friends are coming down to support us throughout the weekend. My brother is competing as well, so its going to be a huge event for our family.
Dani is also a fan of the German event. He won the rally in 2013 before joining the Hyundai Motorsport team and he finished in second position behind Thierrylast year. He will be bringing his experience to Trier and is determined to have a strong result.
The rally in Germany is very nice, said the Spaniard, and it is very special to me. It is very narrow in the vineyards and the military area and with a lot of hairpins. It is exciting to drive but also very easy to miss one of the junctions. The sensations you feel when driving through those vineyard stages are really special – narrow and short, lots and lots of corners, and all the parts are very fast! It is a beautiful rally, one of my favourites.
Hayden does not have as much experience with tarmac rallies as his teammates, but he still enjoys the German event and wants a solid finish. He is excited to get back to racing after Finland and he will develop his understanding of this tough event by learning from his teammates.
The tarmac is going to be a big change for us, said the Kiwi. Its a surface that we dont have much experience with, so it is going to be a challenge. Weve done the rally a couple of times before and I really enjoy this one – the character of the roads, the way that they wind in and out of the vineyards. For sure, it is going to be challenging, particularly when we have three tarmac-specialist teammates! We will have our work cut out, but I see this as a positive and I am sure we can learn a lot from them throughout the rally. The biggest thing, of course, is for us to learn and get to the finish.
Kevin will return to competition after racingfor us earlier this season in Sweden and Poland. The young Dutchman is looking forward to learning more about the performance of ourcar on the demanding German terrain.
I have competed in this rally twice before, said the Dutchman, but it was about five or six years ago. It is a very tricky tarmac event, as well as our first asphalt event in the Hyundai i20 WRC car. There are a lot of grip changes in the surface on these stages – you always have to keep in mind that you need to read the road carefully, in order to avoid mistakes.
There are some new features for this years Rallye Deutschland and they include the Saturday sprint runs across the Panzerplatte and the Bosenbergroads of Saarland, featuring for the first time since 2011. Drivers will hit the Eifel region on Friday and Saturday will combine stages on the Panzerplatte with more country roads. Mosel will be the setting for Sundays racing, with the Dhrontal stage as the Power Stage.