Thierry and Martijn secure third at WRC season-opener
The brand-new WRC season got underway at one of the most iconic venues on the calendar – Monte-Carlo – where our team reaped the rewards of hard work to secure an important podium finish.
Even more positively, we completed the rally with all three of our i20 N Rally1 Hybrid cars, marking a big improvement in performance and reliability year-on-year.
Conditions on the legendary Monte stages were unusually dry requiring constant set-up refinements and adjustments in the pursuit of more pace. Our Belgian crew Thierry and Martijn were on form from Friday’s first complete day of action but showed stage-winning speed on Saturday afternoon. A clean run on the final morning, which saw two runs up the famous Col de Turini, cemented their podium.
“I gave everything I could this weekend,” said Thierry. “While we would have preferred to be much more in the fight for victory, it is still a good start into a new season, especially compared to last year. In the end, it’s great to be back on the podium in Monte-Carlo.”
Our seasoned Spaniards Dani and Cándido struggled to find confidence in the car on the opening days. Hybrid issues then meant they were without power for Saturday and Sunday’s loops. Despite that setback, they were able to find a better rhythm on the final four stages to end the weekend more positively.
“Honestly, this weekend has not been to our standards or expectations,” said Dani. “I know the team has done all it can to give me a car to perform better. I have enjoyed myself a bit more today and the times have also been better considering the issues.”
Making their debut with our team, Esapekka (EP, as he’s more commonly known) and Janne also needed time to find their feet. The Finns made a breakthrough on Saturday to set top-five stage times and reflected on a valuable weekend.
“We have gathered important mileage this weekend and made some steps forward over the four days,” said EP. “We are now much better prepared for Croatia, the next tarmac event. There are just small details we need to work on to be as fast as we want to be.”
Our new Team Principal Cyril also found the positives from his first WRC event. “Third place is not a bad start, but we should not lose sight of the fact we have a bigger vision, fighting for wins and championship titles. We must not get complacent. There has been lots to digest for myself – and for the team.”
The snow-covered roads of Rally Sweden feature next on the 2023 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) for round two of the 13-event season. Taking place February 9-12, Hyundai Motorsport will field three cars, with Thierry /Martijn, Esapekka /Janne and Craig /James at the helm.
Final Overall Classification – Rallye Monte-Carlo
1 S. Ogier / V. LandaisToyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid) 3:12:02.0
2 K. Rovanperä / J. Halttunen (Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid) +18.8
3 T. Neuville / M. Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid) +44.6
4 E. Evans / S. Martin (Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid) +1:12.4
5 O. Tänak / M. Järveoja (Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid) +2:34.9
6 T. Katsuta / A. Johnston (Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid) +3:32.6
7 D. Sordo / C. Carrera (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid) +3:47.5
8 E. Lappi / J. Ferm (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid) +3:51.3
9 N. Gryazin / K. Aleksandrov (Škoda Fabia RS) +10:03.4
10 Y. Rossel / A. Dunand (Citroën C3 Rally2) +10:07.9
2023 FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers’ Standings
After round 1
1 Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team 51
2 Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team 27
3 M-Sport Ford World Rally Team 16
2023 FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers’ Standings
After round 1
1 S. Ogier 26
2 K. Rovanperä 23
3 T. Neuville 17
4 E. Evans 15
5 O. Tänak 14
6 T. Katsuta 8
7 D. Sordo 6
8 E. Lappi 4
All results remain subject to official FIA confirmation.