Second place in the Championship consolidated after Sunday’s Australian stages
1Coffs Harbour, Australia
September 13, 2015 A successful day’s rallying on the final day of Rally Australia has seen all three of our cars finish in the top-eight, as we strengthened our hold on second place in the Manufacturers Championship.
Rally Australia was the tenth round of the season and ended today with runs of the Bucca Long, Wedding Bells and Settles Road stages. The second run of Wedding Bells was the rally’s Power Stage.
Hayden Paddon scored a top-five finish for the fourth time this season. Thierry Neuville held seventh place, picking up important Manufacturer points. Dani Sordo finished in eighth, a satisfying performance for his first time in Coffs Harbour.
Hayden received a huge amount of Kiwi support, which provided and extra boost throughout the weekend. He won two stages on Saturday morning and drove perfectly today.
It was a solid final day, said the young Kiwi. A pleasing end to a positive weekend. I was happy with our pace today and enjoying driving the car. We were in no mans land with a big gap in front and an equally big one behind, so concentrated on bringing the car home in fifth picking up important points which has helped the team consolidate second place in the Manufacturers classification. Personally, it has been a fantastic weekend. We had a particularly good morning on Saturday with two stage wins but overall I have been happy with the car and my performance. It has been great to see so much support from the Kiwi fans. It gives me such a buzz and makes Rally Australia a special event. Thanks also to the team for all their hard work this weekend.
Thierry achieved his goal of securing championship points by finishing the rally safely in seventh position. He drove steadily today to finish the 17-stage event with no issues.
I had a good clean drive today, not taking risks, making sure we brought the rally to a successful end, said the Belgian. There was no reason to push today so we focused instead on picking up as many Championship points as possible. This rally is very enjoyable and weve had a decent weekend. We struggled a bit at times, mainly on the opening days because of road position, which meant a bit of cleaning. Overall, weve made steady improvements to the car during the three days and Ive been pleased with the way Ive approached and driven the rally this weekend.
Dani enjoyed his first time in the Coffs Harbour-based version of Rally Australia. He quickly found his rhythm, winning three stages on Friday’s morning loop and ending the rally in eighth place.
Ive enjoyed this rally a lot and been pleased with the performance of the car, said the Spaniard. We concentrated this morning on making sure we had a trouble-free run to the end. The positions were pretty secure so we had little to fight for. This has been my first participation in this particular format of Rally Australia and I have learned a lot. It was nice to take those stage wins on the opening day, when the stages were new for everyone. I felt we were getting better with each day and were able this morning to try a few new things on the car, which will hopefully benefit us for the future. Its been a fun weekend!
We have fulfilled our target of retaining second place in the Manufacturers Championship, which is the most important thing, commented Team Principal Michel Nandan. Rally Australia is very demanding and we have worked well as a team to get everything out of the car. Hayden had a strong weekend. He wanted a podium but wasnt far off with two stage wins and a competitive performance throughout the weekend. He can be proud of himself. Thierry picked up more Championship points and Dani acquitted himself well on unfamiliar stages. We can be reasonably satisfied although we are always looking to reduce the gap to those at the front. We now move back to Europe where we will push hard in the final three events of the season with second place in the Championship our number one objective. Thanks to everyone in the team for their efforts this weekend.
We came to Rally Australia with a focus on Manufacturer points and succeeded, getting all three cars to the finish. The next round of the season will be in Corsica in October. We will enter four cars, with Kevin Abbring driving the fourth Hyundai i20 WRC.