Hyundai Motorsport heads home in search of podium at Rallye Deutschland

Hyundai Motorsport is fully prepared to challenge for the podium as the team returns to Rallye Deutschland for round nine of the 2016 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC)

Hyundai Motorsport heads home in search of podium at Rallye Deutschland
Daniel Sordo, Marc Marti, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Daniel Sordo, Marc Marti, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Thierry Neuville, Hyundai Motorsport
Daniel Sordo, Marc Marti, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Hayden Paddon, Hyundai Motorsport
Daniel Sordo, Marc Marti, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Daniel Sordo, Marc Marti, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Hayden Paddon, John Kennard, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Thierry Neuville, Nicolas Gilsoul, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Thierry Neuville, Nicolas Gilsoul, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Thierry Neuville, Nicolas Gilsoul, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Daniel Sordo, Marc Marti, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Daniel Sordo, Marc Marti, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Daniel Sordo, Marc Marti, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Hayden Paddon, John Kennard, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Hayden Paddon, John Kennard, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Daniel Sordo, Marc Marti, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Hayden Paddon, John Kennard, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport

Alzenau, Germany - Hyundai Motorsport will be looking to revive the form that has so far secured two wins for the New Generation i20 WRC as the 2016 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) moves onto round nine at Rallye Deutschland, where the team won its first WRC event in 2014.

Located just two-hours from the headquarters of the rally in Trier, the Alzenau-based team will field three New Generation i20 WRC cars in Germany. The 2014 winner Thierry Neuville (#3) will be joined in the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team by 2014 runner-up Dani Sordo (#4), who returns after an injury lay-off. Hayden Paddon (#20) will once again compete under the Hyundai Mobis World Rally Team banner as he continues his learning on tarmac.

The team had a challenging Rally Finland and missed a podium position on the high-speed gravel roads by only 4.6 seconds. Attention now turns to the fast asphalt of the Mosel region in Germany where the team has been preparing thoroughly.

The three-phase test programme for Rally Deutschland started on the Baumholder military ranges in July. Another session earlier this month provided feedback for differential and damper settings, while a final test last week allowed for fine-tuning of the set-up.

The toughest of the tarmac events

Often viewed as the toughest of the tarmac events grouped in the second half of the season, Rallye Deutschland will again be based around Trier, with the backdrop of the Roman Porta Nigra. A unique series of technical challenges face the competitors on the twisty roads of the Mosel wine region and Baumholder ranges where the unforgiving hinkelsteine have a justified reputation as car-breakers.

The unpredictable weather always makes tyre choice an important factor, placing a premium on up-to-date information from the gravel crews. To add to the complexity, road characteristics can vary significantly even within the same group of stages, meaning that set-up and tyre choice is often a calculated compromise on the low-grip surfaces.

Team Principal Michel Nandan said: “Despite our challenges in Finland, we are ready for the unique test provided by Rallye Deutschland. We have prepared well and we are all looking forward to continuing the momentum of a positive season as we move onto the tarmac events. The vineyards, the military ranges and the Eifel hills offer contrasting challenges that we have tried to anticipate during our pre-event testing. It is always exciting to return to Trier. It is our home event and also close to home for Thierry, who of course took our first WRC victory here two years ago. We are pleased that Dani, who is also a previous winner and runner-up here, is back with us after missing Finland. Hayden is also making good progress on tarmac and I’m sure he will show some good potential. We will certainly be pushing hard to return to the podium and securing strong Championship points in front of our home supporters.”

Thierry Neuville

Neuville and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul have been enjoying a competitive run of form recently. After their win in Sardinia they have followed up with fourth place at both Poland and Finland, missing podiums at each by just a matter of a few seconds. The Belgian pair will be sure to enjoy plenty of local support in Germany on an event where they have delivered some strong results.

Neuville said: “Rallye Deutschland is the highlight of the season for me. It’s like my home rally, very close to the Belgian border and a lot of supporters come down with lots of Belgian flags. So it’s the rally we are most waiting for in the season, and it’s an event we have always been competitive at. We got our first victory there so I am looking forward to it.”

Daniel Sordo

Dani Sordo and co-driver Marc Marti will be returning after missing Rally Finland. Sordo sustained a fractured vertebra following a big accident while testing in Finland, which meant it was sensible to avoid the high-speed jumps of the main event. Fully rested after the precautionary lay-off, the Spanish tarmac experts will be looking to build on their consistent form as the Championship returns to their preferred surface.

Sordo said: “We are really pleased to be back in the car at one of our favourite events. It’s a very challenging rally, very fast with lots of different characteristics. It’s exciting to drive in the vineyards, fast but very narrow with lots of hairpins and corners. The military ranges are very tricky, particularly in the wet, so it’s important not to make mistakes. We have gone well here in the past and we are looking for a strong result.”

Hayden Paddon

The New Zealand pairing of Paddon and co-driver John Kennard have also been in fine form, although they are the first to admit that tarmac is not their favourite surface. Following their podium in Poland, they spent most of Rally Finland swapping times with teammates Neuville and Gilsoul in the sister car. With a win and two podiums in 2016, the pair will be looking to continue their strong season by translating that success to asphalt.

Paddon said: “It’s going to be a bit foreign. It seems like a long time since we were doing a tarmac rally. It’s not my preferred surface but it’s one that I have to learn. I get to use it as an opportunity to improve on where we left off from last year. Germany is a very unique rally in the vineyards, the army range and also some public roads as well. It’s sort of three tarmac rallies in one, and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”

Stages

Rally Deutschland features 306km of competitive action over 18 stages. Friday sees competitors tackle five stages, four of which are in the vineyards of Mosel. The new Ollmuth, just south of Trier, brings action to a close on Friday. Saturday is the longest day of the rally with just under 150 competitive kilometres including two runs over Panzerplatte Lang at 40.8km. Just four stages on Sunday are split between the Mosel vineyards and the Sauertal test in the Eifel hills near the Luxembourg border, which acts as the Power Stage for the second and final run.

Hyundai Motorsport

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