We approach Rally Sweden, second round of the WRC, with good memories of our podium finish at the event last year.
February 5, 2016 – Our team heads to Sweden with hopes to continue our strong performance from the Monte-Carlo 2016 season-opener, where we claimed the first stage wins, first stage 1-2-3 and first Power Stage points for our new car!
Thierry Neuville, who claimed our Monte podium finish, also achieved our first 2015 podium at last years Rally Sweden. He will drive the #3 car under the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team banner and will be joined by Hayden Paddon in the #4 car.
Experienced Spaniard Dani Sordo will compete at Sweden with us for the first time driving the #20 car for the Hyundai Mobis World Rally Team
Rally Sweden has been included in the Championship since its first running in 1973; the frozen roads and snow banks are a key feature of the WRC and have seen many exciting battles!
This year, the service park moves from Hagfors to Karlstad Harbour. There will be over 80km of new roads including a visit to Norway. Drivers will have to look after their cars though as service is only available at the start and finish of each day!
We visit Sweden in good spirits following our podium in Monte-Carlo, says Team Principal Michel Nandan, but we know this will be another learning experience for our New Generation i20 WRC. We will be running three new cars for the first time in this rally with Thierry and Hayden in the Hyundai Shell WRT, and Dani – in his first Sweden rally with our team – driving for the Hyundai Mobis WRT. We have some experience of the new car in snowy conditions thanks to our Sweden test in mid-December so we will put this to good use as we prepare for this second round of the Championship. We have a lot of nice memories from Sweden with Thierrys podium last year a real highlight. We have also had good performances on the legendary Colins Crest jump, so well see if we can make it three in a row for a Hyundai Motorsport driver this year! Our three driver crews are motivated following some encouraging performances in Monte-Carlo, so we head to Sweden in determined mood and hoping to be on pace with the front-runners from the outset.
Thierry won three stages in Sweden last year and briefly led the rally on his way to second place overall. He also broke the record with a 44m jump at Colins Crest in the Vargåsen stage.
I have very good memories of Sweden, says the Belgian, especially from last year when we were fighting for the win until the last stage and ultimately finishing on the podium. It was a great result for us so of course Im really looking forward to this years event, especially with the new car. We had a pretty good start to this season with the New Generation i20 WRC, finding improvements from the car day by day. Taking stage wins and a podium in our first event with the new car was a nice feeling and I hope we can take this forward to Sweden. It could be a really strong event for us so Im looking forward to seeing what we can achieve.
Hayden will use our new car for the first time at Sweden. He finished fifth in 2015 on his first run and hopes to improve this year.
Monte-Carlo was full of difficult days, exactly as I expected it to be, but it was a good learning experience,comments the Kiwi. We can look back on a very productive weekend but now Im looking forward to my first taste of the New Generation i20 WRC. The team made great progress with the new car in Monte-Carlo and it was a real boost for everyone to get a podium. Sweden is a rally I really enjoyed last year and I particularly enjoy rallying on snow. We want to put up a good performance for the team and for ourselves, to try to push towards the top-five for a good result, maybe even on the podium. We had a good run last year and I hope we can have another strong result with the New Generation i20 WRC.
Dani missed last years Rally Sweden through injury but he is keen to keep improving after Monte, where he finished sixth and won Power Stage points.
Sweden is a really nice event and it is really good fun, says the Spaniard. I like to drive in the snow flat-out, which is a really special sensation. I enjoy this event a lot and cant wait for my first participation as a Hyundai Motorsport driver. The conditions can be a little bit complicated when there is not really a full covering of ice; when the snow is soft, there is not very much grip. When it is icy and really good conditions, you can push hard because it grips just as well as gravel. I am looking forward to Sweden and building on my experience in the New Generation i20 WRC after making sure I had a safe and reliable start to this season.
Rally Sweden 2016 will cover over 330km in 21 stages across beautiful snowy forests. Highlights will include the huge crowds at Thursday nights traditional Karlstad trotting track stage and Saturdays Vargåsen stage, which features the Colins Crest jump competition that we could win for a third year in a row. A second run of Värmullsåsen will be the rallys Power Stage.