World Rally Championship 2

Rally2 customer round-up 6

Wins at Rali Terras d’Aboboreira and Rally de Portugal extended Kris Meeke’s remarkable start

Wins at Rali Terras d’Aboboreira and Rally de Portugal extended Kris Meeke’s remarkable start

Hyundai Motorsport customers made winning starts to their seasons in multiple championships in recent weeks. Rok Turk and Blanka Kacin won every stage on their way to an undisputed victory in the first event of the year in the Slovenian Rally Championship. There were also key results in the French Tarmac Rally Championship, for an inspired Eric Camilli who claimed a first win with the i20 N Rally2.

Meeke continues remarkable form with double victory in Portugal
Kris Meeke added two more victories to his unstoppable start to the Portuguese Rally Championship at Rali Terras d’Aboboreira (April 26-27) and the national championship round of Rally de Portugal (May 9-12). After winning the first two rounds with James Fulton, Meeke was alongside Stuart Loudon for both of his latest victories. Success on Rali Terras d’Aboboreira came only after the Team Hyundai Portugal team had repaired the duo’s i20 N Rally2 following a crash on the Qualifying Stage.

Meeke and Loudon rewarded the mechanics’ efforts with the quickest time on the opening stage to claim a lead they would hold for the rest of the event. They would win overall by 11 seconds at the head of an entry list boasting a strong entry on international crews using the gravel event as preparation for Rally de Portugal.

The national rally element of the WRC event counted only the first nine stages – up to the end of Friday’s running. Meeke and Loudon were an impressive 11th fastest on the Super Special Stage on Thursday evening, and were never bettered in the national standings, despite slipping back in the overall order. They finished Friday more than a minute clear of their nearest rival in the domestic competition to claim victory.

Meeke and Loudon were the fastest WRC2 crew through SS11 as they continued the rally on Saturday and were sixth in the class overall before they crashed out of the event on SS17.

Kiwi pair make fast start on Gran Canaria
Hayden Paddon and John Kennard started Rally Islas Canarias (May 2-4) with the fastest time on an exciting super special that included an indoor stadium section. However, when the FIA European Rally Championship round began in earnest on Gran Canaria’s tarmac roads they fell down the order as they searched for the perfect set-up. Improvements for the Friday afternoon loop helped them reach the overnight halt in third. Unfortunately, they were unable to keep the position through the second day of the rally and ultimately finished sixth overall and took an extra point from the Power Stage.

The weekend also brought the i20 N Rally2 debut of former FIA ERC champion Alexey Lukyanuk in a car supported by Hyundai Canaries. He and co-driver Yuriy Kulikov showed excellent pace on the stages – highlighted by the second fastest time on Friday morning’s SS4. The pair avoided any major issues as they adapted to the car throughout the rally and finished 13th overall and third of the crews registered for the Canary Islands championship, despite 20-seconds worth of penalties.

Sergi Pérez Jr. and Axel Coronado were the best finishers of the i20 N Rally2 crews in the Spanish Superchampionship. They came home seventh in the national event.

First win of French season for i20 N Rally2 crews
A superb opening day propelled 2C Competition driver Eric Camilli to his first rally win at the wheel of an i20 N Rally2 at Rallye d’Antibes – Côte d’Azur (May 10-11) in the French Tarmac Rally Championship. With co-driver Thibault de la Haye he won five of the first six stages overall and was the fastest Rally2 driver on all six. The performance built him a lead of over 30 seconds before the halfway point and allowed him to manage his pace through the six tests on the final day. Even with a substantial advantage already in hand his pace remained among the front runners – losing only four seconds to the fastest crew on the second leg as his lead stayed at more than half a minute to the end of the event.

The pace of the i20 N Rally2 on the rally was underlined by Hugo Margaillan scoring his first stage win with the car. He and Corentin Silverstre were fastest on the final stage of the rally and finished fifth overall in the CHL Sport Auto-run car.

Hyundai Slovenia-backed pair make perfect start to Slovenian season
Rok Turk and Blanka Kacin won every stage on the opening round of the Slovenian Rally Championship at Rally Vipavska dolina (May 10-11). The Hyundai Slovenia-backed pair made a perfect start to the national season in their i20 N Rally2 and secured the prize money offered at the event from the i20 N Rally2 European Challenge – the event the first of two events in Slovenia selected to part of the initiative that aims to reward Hyundai Motorsport customers in smaller national series.

The sublime performance gave them the overall victory by over 90 seconds to mark them out once more as the leading crew in the country.

Defending series champion Marko Grossi made a strong start to the event in his i20 R5. He and co-driver Tara Berlot were second behind Turk and Kacin after three stages, but an off on SS4 led to their retirement from the weekend.

Second place continues fast start to French Gravel season
Laurent Pellier scored his second French Gravel Rally Championship podium in as many events to start the season at Rallye Castine – Terre d’Occitanie (May 4-5). Pellier and co-driver Kévin Bronner won three stages. Their second top time, on the final stage of the opening day lifted them into second place in the overall standings.

The pair were able to match the times of the overall leaders throughout the second day – taking another stage win in the process – but could not close the gap to challenge for the victory. However, their excellent early season performances put them second in the championship points.

Belgian crew complete podium on national event
i20 N Rally2 crew Cédric Cherain and Damien Withers finished third on Rallye de Wallonie (April 27-28) to keep up their strong start to the Belgian Rally Championship season. The BMA-run crew were part of the battle for the podium for the entire event, as they won six stages – three on each day of the competition – to finish the weekend tied for most top times on the event.

However, they lost time on SS9 – momentarily dropping to seventh – and picked up a five second penalty on the first stage of Day 2. Still, Cherain and Withers were able to climb back to second to start the final loop of the rally, only to fall back to third on the final stage. They finished one place ahead of fellow BMA i20 N Rally2 crew Bastien Rouard and Félicien Poncelet, who were consistent on their way to fourth.

i20 N Rally2 crews take top ten results in Germany
Four i20 N Rally2 crews finished in the top eight at Rallye Sulingen (May 4-5), the second round of the German Rally Championship. The four were led by FS Sport crew Nico Knacker and Thomas Puls in fourth overall. After a rally-long battle for the podium the pair narrowly missed out on third place and a share of the prize money on offer from the i20 N Rally2 European Challenge for an overall podium finish at the event.

Immediately behind Knacker and Puls in the final standings were two more crews, also in i20 N Rally2 prepared by the FS-Sport crew. Martin Christ and Lena Meter finished fifth, ahead of Patrick Dinkel and Alexander Benning.

Contesting the rally as the opening round of the Dutch Rally Championship, defending champion Kevin van Deijne finished eighth overall with co-driver Hein Verschuuren, despite losing time and positions by stalling the engine on SS8 and a final loop tyre gamble on the approaching wet weather failing to pay off. The result gave them third place of the crews eligible for points in the Dutch series.

Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Manager Benoit Nogier said: “We are now in a very busy part of the season, with all our customers’ campaigns well underway in circuit racing and rallying and it has been hugely enjoyable to be able to celebrate to many important results in recent weeks. Perfect start to the year for Rok Turk and Blanka Kacin with their i20 N Rally2 in Slovenia. Eric Camilli’s excellent performance at Rallye d’Antibes – Côte d’Azur confirmed he and the i20 N Rally2 as one of the frontrunners in the championship season, and – of course – we cannot ignore Kris Meeke continuing his winning run for Team Hyundai Portugal with two victories in the three weeks.”


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