Hyundai Motorsport still challenging after dramatic second day at Wales Rally GB

Two cars inside the top six, but as it stands this is not enough to secure second place in the Manufacture’s Championship

Two cars inside the top six, but as it stands this is not enough to secure second place in the Manufacture’s Championship

Deeside, Great Britain,

November 14, 2015 – Hyundai Motorsport is still aiming for second in the Manufacturers’ Championship after mixed fortunes in difficult conditions on the penultimate day of Wales Rally GB and the 2015 season as a whole.

Nine stages totalling 140km were run over 12 hours of competition in heavy rain. Our drivers Dani Sordo and Hayden Paddon made progress in the difficult conditions to hold fifth and sixth. Thierry Neuville secured two stage wins before retiring when he damaged his roll cage after an accident.

Dani Sordo in the #7 Hyundai i20 WRC is our leading driver and has enjoyed the day with a good feeling in the car despite the challenging conditions. He climbed up to fourth place but dropped to sixth after problems in SS10. A steady drive saw him and co-driver Marc Marti finish the day in fifth, just 14 seconds from fourth place.

“We had very slippery conditions this morning and although the car felt good, we had to be careful,” said the Spaniard. “We lost some time when we stalled the engine at a hairpin in SS10 and more time when we hit a bank pushing hard to recover. I have enjoyed the stages today despite all the rain and mud. I took it easier in the last two stages as it is difficult to see the road and all the standing water in the dark but it was fun to drive. We have some gaps to the leaders but the fight is still not over as we have four stages left to run tomorrow so we will continue to push to the end.”

Hayden Paddon in the #8 Hyundai i20 WRC has maintained a steady pace all day in the difficult conditions. With more consistent grip on the second pass through the stages he set third fastest stage time on SS9. With co-driver John Kennard, the Kiwi pairing finished the day in a battling sixth place and will look for finish strong tomorrow.

“It’s been a bit of a mixed day really in some tricky conditions,” said Hayden. “Third fastest, less than second from a stage win on SS9 was a high point as we got our feeling back. We nursed a gearbox selection issue during much of the afternoon but I enjoyed the extra grip on the second run. I love the dark so the night stages were a lot of fun. It’s not looking good for the Championship as it stands at the moment but anything can happen in these conditions so we will keep trying until the end of the Power Stage tomorrow.”

Neuville in the #20 Hyundai i20 WRC had a storming start to the day. Stage wins on both of the first two tests put the frustration of yesterday behind him. The Belgian and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul continued to push but had to retire at the end of the morning when they rolled the car and damaged the roll cage on SS11.

“After the disappointment of yesterday we had a great start to the day. I found a good rhythm and the car was working well so our aim was to push for the rest of the day as we got our speed back. It was nice to get two stage wins straight away. I lost some time on SS9 when I clipped a bank on a corner with a lot of standing water and knocked the tyre off the rim. It was the same in SS11 and on one corner exit I went early on the throttle and the car started to slide. We went wide and hit some trees on the side of the road, which rolled the car. The season has been up and down, sometimes with a lack of luck. On one side, I am happy to finish the season as it was not the year we expected so can only take it as an experience to do better next time. We can now focus on next year and reset completely.”

We have a challenge tomorrow to claw back second place in the Manufacturers’ Championship after a season long battle with Citroën. Nobody in the team will give up on that challenge as anything can still happen over the four stages and 36.4km of the final day of the 2015 WRC season.

“It has been another challenging day for the team in the forests,” said Team Principal Michel Nandan. “Dani and Hayden have both driven steadily in the difficult conditions while Thierry showed us the pace that we all know he has with a strong performance and two stage wins this morning. Some minor issues and a roll from Thierry mean we haven’t made the progress we were aiming for today but that is rallying. Our current position is not enough to achieve our aim but we will all push to the end of the last stage tomorrow. Whatever happens, to have been in a season long fight for second is a great achievement for our team.”

Just four stages are left to run on Sunday. Two runs through Brenig at 10.64km, the second of which is the live Power Stage, sandwich 10.41km of Alwen and 4.74km around Great Orme.



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