Hyundai Motorsport in prime position for Polish podium

With podiums from the past four gravel events, Hyundai Motorsport hopes it can extend its run at Rally Poland, the eighth round of the 2017 World Rally Championship (WRC)

Hyundai Motorsport in prime position for Polish podium
Thierry Neuville, Nicolas Gilsoul, Hyundai Motorsport, Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC
Thierry Neuville, Nicolas Gilsoul, Hyundai Motorsport, Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC
Hayden Paddon, Sebastian Marshall, Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Hayden Paddon, Sebastian Marshall, Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Thierry Neuville, Hyundai Motorsport, Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC
Thierry Neuville, Nicolas Gilsoul, Hyundai Motorsport, Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC
Dani Sordo, Marc Marti, Hyundai Motorsport, Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC
Dani Sordo, Hyundai Motorsport WRC and Sebastien Ogier, M-Sport World Rally Team WRC
Thierry Neuville, Nicolas Gilsoul, Hyundai Motorsport, Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC
Dani Sordo, Marc Marti, Hyundai Motorsport, Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC
Thierry Neuville, Nicolas Gilsoul, Hyundai Motorsport, Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC
Hayden Paddon, Sebastian Marshall, Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Dani Sordo, Marc Marti, Hyundai Motorsport, Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC
Thierry Neuville, Nicolas Gilsoul, Hyundai Motorsport, Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC
Hayden Paddon, Sebastian Marshall, Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Hayden Paddon, Sebastian Marshall, Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Hayden Paddon, Sebastian Marshall, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Thierry Neuville, Nicolas Gilsoul, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Hayden Paddon, Sebastian Marshall, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport

Hyundai Motorsport will aim to continue its recent run of podium results as the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) moves to Poland for round eight of the 2017 season.

Having secured top-three finishes at every gravel event so far this year, including victories at Tour de Corse and Rally Argentina, hopes are high that the team can once again challenge at the front of the competitive WRC field.

The scene of two previous podiums, in 2014 for Thierry Neuville and in 2016 for Hayden Paddon, the team will be looking for another assured performance in this year’s event.

Despite claiming a podium last time out in Sardinia, and showing the rally-winning capabilities of the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC, the team lost some ground to M-Sport in the close Championship battle. Efforts will therefore be refocused on securing a stronger combined team result.

Polished performance

Set against the backdrop of the picturesque Masurian Lake District region, the Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally crews will need to be at their best to traverse the super-quick sandy roads of northern Poland.

Renowned for its rapid speeds and grassy sections, Rally Poland also sees plenty of rocky passages and stretches of limited visibility, meaning that crews will be put to the ultimate test.

First run in 1923, the Polish entry to the WRC Calendar is one of the oldest rallies in the world. It was included in the inaugural WRC Championship schedule in 1973, where only three entrants managed to cross the finish line. The crews will be hoping for a much higher success rate this time out.

More than one third of this year’s itinerary is new, meaning that accuracy of pace notes will be of paramount importance. The three Hyundai Motorsport crews of Hayden Paddon/Seb Marshall, Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul and Dani Sordo/Marc Martí all tested in Lithuania this week in preparation for Rally Poland. With five different winners across the first seven events, it promises to be another competitive WRC weekend.

Team Principal Michel Nandan commented: “From the hot coastal setting of Sardinia, we move onto the fastest rallies of the season – Poland and Finland – which will offer a brand new set of demands for our Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC. Poland is a rally at which we have always been quite competitive, with a podium in our debut season and again last year. We know our car is well suited to gravel but now will be the first true test at higher speeds. Our target is very much on the Championship battle, which is intensifying with each event. We need to ensure a strong team result at all rallies if we are to take the fight to M-Sport. That means we need to work with all three of our crews to help them to get the best out of their cars, and indeed themselves on each stage.”

Crew Notes

Paddon/Marshall (#4 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)

Paddon has demonstrated strong pace in recent gravel rallies, taking multiple stage wins in Portugal and leading in Sardinia for a large part of the event. Alongside co-driver Seb Marshall, the Kiwi will put his recent frustrations behind him and target his first podium of 2017 in Poland.

Paddon said: “Our performance in Sardinia showed exactly what we are capable of achieving. It was a shame to lose the lead in the way that we did, but we have to bounce back. I am determined to focus on the positives, of which there were many in the recent rallies. I have spent some time back in New Zealand in between the events, which was good to help refocus. Poland is definitely one of my favourite rallies. It’s one of the fastest of the year, and of course I love going as quick as I can! I think the car will suit the roads quite well. We’re looking forward to it and as always we’ll be giving it 100%.”

Neuville/Gilsoul (#5 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)

Neuville and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul head to Poland, hoping to extend their run of five consecutive podiums, which dates back to Rally Mexico. Holding second in the Championship after seven rounds, the Belgian is just 18 points from leader Sébastien Ogier and knows that every rally will be crucial.

Neuville said: “I really enjoy Rally Poland as I like the flow of the stages. There are not as many dangerous corners and the stages are quite open. You can be a bit braver at this one and take a few more risks. It is a lot of fun because the speed is just amazing, but at the same time, we know that we have a job to do and we want to continue to press as hard as we can to stay in the Championship hunt. We are now into the latter stages of the season, so this is where every moment and every decision matters.”

Sordo/Martí (#6 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)

Sordo and his compatriot Marc Martí will be aiming to continue in Poland where they left off on the final day of Sardinia where they scored a stage win and four Power Stage points. Poland will offer them a chance to fight for their third podium of the season.

Sordo said: “Given the speeds that can be reached in Poland, it is vitally important that our pace notes are accurate. This is particularly the case through some of the corners, where you can lose a lot of time if you make even the smallest mistake. There is no margin for error because it is a really, really fast rally. In general, the atmosphere is nice, with huge crowds present, so it is an enjoyable event. We finished very strongly in Sardinia, and will look to build on that in Poland!”

Rally Poland at a glance

Consisting of 23 stages run across 326.64km, Rally Poland will be the fifth gravel outing of the season.

Mikolajki, several hours north of the capital Warsaw, will serve as the rally’s base. It will host the start and finish, as well as a Super Special stage next to the service park that is run three times throughout the weekend.

After Thursday evening’s curtain raiser, Friday’s format is unchanged from last year. The action will comprise of two loops of four tests to the north-east, before a repeat of the Super Special stage duels – meaning a total of 116.16km of ground covered on the event’s second leg.

Saturday sees the action head north for four stages that are driven twice, before a final pass over the Mikolajki Super Special Stage.

Sunday will feature four final tests, amongst which will be the Paprotki Power Stage, a new addition to the 2017 schedule.

Hyundai Motorsport

shares
comments
Kremer to join M-Sport for Rally Germany
Previous article

Kremer to join M-Sport for Rally Germany

Next article

Toyota Gazoo Racing accelerates onto super-fast Polish stages

Toyota Gazoo Racing accelerates onto super-fast Polish stages
Load comments
The WRC heirs scrapping to assume Ogier's throne in 2022 Prime

The WRC heirs scrapping to assume Ogier's throne in 2022

Eight-time World Rally Championship king Sebastien Ogier has abdicated (well, gone part-time) in 2022, meaning for just the second time in the past decade we will have a different champion this year. We pick out the drivers gunning to take his place and take over the mantle as the WRC's new ruler

WRC
Jan 20, 2022
The WRC star that's earned the right to lead M-Sport's revival Prime

The WRC star that's earned the right to lead M-Sport's revival

Part-time opportunities with Citroen and Hyundai have offered brief glimpses of what Craig Breen can do in a World Rally Championship car. Now signed up by M-Sport to lead it into the WRC's new hybrid era, Breen has been given the chance he's pursued for so long and is determined to make the most of it

WRC
Jan 18, 2022
Why the WRC's 'modern Group B' era was rallying at its bonkers best Prime

Why the WRC's 'modern Group B' era was rallying at its bonkers best

The World Rally Championship has brought down the curtain on the aggressive, aero-laden generation of cars first introduced in 2017 that have been likened to the 1980s Group B icons. As the championship prepares to begin a new era of Rally1 hybrid cars, its stars explain just why the outgoing machines were so special

WRC
Dec 24, 2021
Ranking the top 10 WRC drivers of 2021 Prime

Ranking the top 10 WRC drivers of 2021

On the eve of a new hybrid era for the World Rally Championship, the 2021 season was a blockbuster fought out between Toyota's two top dogs, with a familiar figure eventually emerging on top after a final showdown at Monza. We pick out the 10 best performers from the top class and its supporting cast

WRC
Dec 21, 2021
Why Ogier's WRC swansong was a season to savour Prime

Why Ogier's WRC swansong was a season to savour

He’s shuffling into semi-rally-retirement, but Toyota star Sebastien Ogier was at the peak of his powers in the final season for the high downforce era-World Rally Championship cars. Despite Toyota's domination, there was still much to enjoy as the old master emerged atop a fierce title fight against teammate Elfyn Evans.

WRC
Dec 19, 2021
How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers Prime

How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers

After winning his eighth WRC title, Sebastien Ogier has drawn the curtain on his full-time rallying career. To understand Ogier's legacy, many of his former rivals, team-mates and colleagues have shared their thoughts on a vastly successful career

WRC
Nov 26, 2021
Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies Prime

Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies

Richard Burns was a determined driver who took on the best rally drivers in the world during a boom period in the early 2000s, and beat them. On the 20th anniversary of his crowning glory in winning the 2001 WRC title, and 16 years on from his death on the same date, we pick out his 10 greatest drives

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion Prime

The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion

At the turn of the millennium, WRC was full to the brim with rallying's great and good - and 20 years ago on this day, Richard Burns became England's first world rally champion. Although Burns' natural talent drove him to the top, his steely determination and mental strength was the key attribute behind his title-winning form

WRC
Nov 25, 2021