Hyundai Motorsport on top form in Germany as battle for second intensifies

Hyundai Motorsport is involved in a thrilling fight for second position in Rallye Deutschland with four seconds separating a trio of drivers at the end of Saturday’s stages

Hyundai Motorsport on top form in Germany as battle for second intensifies
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
Daniel Sordo, 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
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
Thierry Neuville, 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
Hayden Paddon, Hyundai Motorsport
Daniel Sordo, Marc Marti, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport

Hyundai Motorsport is involved in a captivating three-way battle for second position in Rallye Deutschland, the ninth round of the 2016 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). Just four seconds separate second, third and fourth placed crews at the end of 14 of this weekend’s 18 special stages.

On a thrilling day in Germany - where unpredictable terrain conditions and tyre choices influenced performance levels - Hyundai Shell World Rally Team drivers Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo fought hard to close the gap to second place. Hayden Paddon, driving this weekend for the Hyundai Mobis World Rally Team, also made solid progress, improving his position on the overall standings from eighth to fifth.

A mixture of wet, damp and dry conditions throughout the day required crews to make tough tyre decisions. Although the morning loop proved complicated, the repeat stages allowed the Hyundai Motorsport drivers the opportunity to make improvements.

Dani Sordo

Sordo (#4 New Generation i20 WRC, 3rd place overall) and co-driver Marc Martí put in a stellar performance on the second pass through the gruelling 40.80km Panzerplatte Lang - the final stage of the day. Running on soft compound Michelin tyres in damp-drying conditions, the Spaniards moved up to third overall with a slender 0.4-second margin over their team-mates.

Sordo said: “It’s been a difficult day but I am very happy with our performance in these tricky conditions. The New Generation i20 WRC has performed perfectly today. Like many others, we struggled to read the conditions correctly this morning so weren’t on the optimum tyres for the first loop - we just focused on keeping out of trouble. I had a good feeling from the car in the afternoon, and we could set some competitive times. We made a good tyre call in the final run through Panzerplatte, which helped us to move up to third. It’s very tight with Andreas and Thierry, so we have an interesting fight on our hands. I hope we can continue to have the same positive feeling on tomorrow’s stages. A podium is definitely our target but it’s far from guaranteed!”

Thierry Neuville

Neuville (#3 New Generation i20 WRC) and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul scored two stage wins this afternoon to add to their Moselland win on Friday. The Belgian crew have kept the pressure on second-placed Mikkelsen throughout the day and will look to overhaul the four-second deficit on Sunday morning.

Neuville commented: “Things couldn’t be much tighter for second place! It’s great to be involved in an exciting battle with Andreas and Dani. The key to unlocking the best performance today has been tyre decisions, and it’s been complicated. We made the wrong tyre choice for the morning loop and I also experienced a loss of power steering in the final kilometres of the first run through Panzerplatte Lang, which lost us some time. The start of the afternoon loop wasn’t ideal as we overshot a hairpin in SS11, which again cost us a few seconds. After that, we started to pull things back with two stage wins in SS12 and 13, as well as a decent final run through Panzerplatte. The gap is incredibly close for the podium so we’ll have to be on top of our game on Sunday.”

Hayden Paddon

Paddon (#20 New Generation i20 WRC, 5th place overall) and John Kennard have made their way up the classification today, moving comfortably into the top-five. The Kiwis had a largely trouble-free day in changeable conditions, and made noticeable improvements as they gained more experience on the German tarmac.

Paddon said: “It’s been a trying day but we’ve definitely made some improvements compared to yesterday. We had some unpredictable conditions in the morning, which made tyre choice very difficult. Unfortunately, we got it wrong and were on hard tyres when we should have selected soft - and vice-versa. The feeling in the car was a bit foreign in those conditions so we had to drive sensibly. I am a competitive person by nature but I’ve had to be patient today. You can’t get the same experience in pre-event testing, so we’ve had a lot to learn over the past two days. We’re inside the top-five and have had a more positive conclusion to the day. I fully intend to take that forward to Sunday and look to consolidate our position.”

New Generation i20 WRC cars in the top-five

Hyundai Motorsport is looking to return to the podium tomorrow to celebrate the team’s home rally in style. With all three New Generation i20 WRC cars in the top-five, the team is well placed to achieve its objective - but at the same time knowing from previous seasons that anything can happen on the final morning.

Team Principal Michel Nandan commented: “Looking purely at our positions, we have to be satisfied with our Saturday. Dani and Thierry are involved in a close contest for second, which is fantastic to watch, while Hayden has moved into the top-five. However, it’s not been an easy day from a strategy point of view. The stages and the weather this morning were not as we’d expected so we found all crews on tyres that were not best suited to the conditions. It was something that caught out most drivers. Our crews took a sensible approach and made it to lunchtime service in good shape. The afternoon went more smoothly. We took two stage wins with Thierry and Nicolas, and showed strong pace in the repeat of Panzerplatte. Tomorrow promises to be equally competitive, so there’s a lot still at stake.”

Four stages make up Sunday’s itinerary with Dhrontal (14.79km) and Sauertal (14.84km) run twice, the latter being held as the Power Stage. 59.26km of stages are all that separate Hyundai Motorsport from a home podium in Rallye Deutschland.

Overall Classification after Day Two

S. Ogier / J. Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 2:25:10.5
A. Mikkelsen / A. Jaeger (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +33.4
D. Sordo / M. Martí (Hyundai New Generation i20 WRC) +37.0
T. Neuville / N. Gilsoul (Hyundai New Generation i20 WRC) +37.4
H. Paddon / J. Kennard (Hyundai New Generation i20 WRC) +3:33.9
M. Østberg / O. Floene (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +4:06.4
E. Lappi / J. Ferm (Škoda Fabia R5) +7:16.2
P. Tidemand / J. Andersson (Škoda Fabia R5) +7:43.2
J. Kopecky / P. Dresler (Škoda Fabia R5) +8:26.1
A. Kremer / P. Winllhofer (Škoda Fabia R5) +8:44.5

Hyundai Motorsport

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