Strong start for the Hyundai Motorsport trio in Rally Sweden’s winter wonderland

Hyundai Motorsport has enjoyed a promising start to Rally Sweden with encouraging performances from all three Hyundai i20 WRC cars and crews on the first full day of action.

Strong start for the Hyundai Motorsport trio in Rally Sweden’s winter wonderland
Hayden Paddon and John Kennard, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Hayden Paddon and John Kennard, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Hayden Paddon, Hyundai Motorsport
Hayden Paddon and John Kennard, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Hayden Paddon, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Kevin Abbring, Hyundai Motorsport
Kevin Abbring and Sebastian Marshall, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Hayden Paddon, Hyundai Motorsport
Hayden Paddon and John Kennard, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Kevin Abbring and Sebastian Marshall, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Hayden Paddon and John Kennard, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Kevin Abbring and Sebastian Marshall, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Thierry Neuville, Hyundai Motorsport
Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport

The first full day of action in this week’s FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) second round, Rally Sweden, has delivered promising results for the Hyundai Motorsport team with all three Hyundai i20 WRC car crews displaying strong performances today.

A total of 126.44km special stages have been run today with a repeat loop of four stages run in reverse, taking in treacherous wintry conditions in Sweden and Norway, and culminating in a repeat of the exciting Super Special Stage in Karlstad. A stage win and a top-two position overall heading into the penultimate day of the rally tomorrow bring to an end a satisfactory day for Hyundai Motorsport.

Thierry Neuville

Thierry Neuville (#7 Hyundai i20 WRC), alongside co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul, have been one of the standout crews of the day with a consistent run of competitive stages in which they have never been out of the top six. Finding conditions more favourable during the repeated afternoon stages, the Belgian duo made further improvements and topped the timesheets in SS9 (Torsby 2 – 14.76km), the team’s first SS win of 2015 in a dramatic stage that saw the #7 crew move up into second overall in the standings.

Neuville said: “It has been a good day overall and we have definitely shown some encouraging pace. The morning started off quite tricky and it was difficult to estimate the grip levels. I took it cautiously because it was just the start of the rally. The conditions in the afternoon loop were more equal and we were able to show our true potential. In SS9, it started to get dark, which made it difficult we had a few very nice corners and took our first stage win of the season. We start tomorrow from second overall, although we know there are more challenges to come.”

Hayden Paddon

In his first event with Hyundai Motorsport in 2015, Hayden Paddon (#8 Hyundai i20 WRC) and his co-driver John Kennard, made steady progress throughout the day, as the Kiwi adapted his driving style to get the most out of the Hyundai i20 WRC. The benefits of his approach were clear as he gained time on the repeated stages. A top-six time in SS9 elevated him to sixth overall.

Paddon said: “It’s great to be back in action; the break was long and it was good to blow away some cobwebs. It hasn’t been the easiest of days, though, with some demanding conditions. This morning’s loop was about understanding where the grip levels were and I felt, at times, that I was a bit cautious. With the benefit of hindsight, we knew for the repeat stages where we could use the snow banks to our advantage and that definitely helped. I had to adapt my driving style for the afternoon to get the best out of the car and I think some of the stage times reflected that. We’re sixth overall for now but there’s a long way to go.”

Kevin Abbring

Kevin Abbring (#20 Hyundai i20 WRC), taking part in his first ever rally with WRC machinery, was happy with his first full day of competition in the #20 car. He was unfortunate to hit trouble in the day’s opening stage (SS2 – Torsby 1 – 14.76km) after losing 1m30s after his glasses steamed up, causing him to get caught out by the snow. He quickly regained his composure and built up his confidence behind the wheel to set a string of top ten stage times in the afternoon. Despite his early time loss, he finishes Friday just outside of the top ten positions.

Abbring said: “What a great day and what a way to end it in front of all the spectators at the Super Special! My first day of stages in a WRC car has been an amazing experience and I’ve had a lot of fun. The day didn’t really start out as I had hoped after my glasses became fogged up towards the end of the opening stage. I couldn’t see much and I ended up onto the soft snow which then pulled me in. We lost a lot of time but we put it quickly behind us and built up confidence as the day progressed. The repeat stages were much better and I feel that we had some good pace and we learned a lot. The main thing has been to get more rhythm out of the pace notes, which will benefit us in the future. I’m looking forward to more tomorrow!”

The Hyundai Motorsport team has coped well with the logistical challenges posed by Rally Sweden with competitive action today across two countries, including a remote tyre fitting in Kirkenær (Norway), a Super Special stage in Karlstad and the usual services in Hagfors. The work of the team, and the performances of all three car crews today, is an ideal showcase for the improvements made by the Hyundai Motorsport compared to their debut Swedish rally twelve months ago.

Team Principal Michel Nandan commented: “The entire team can be pleased with this first full day of Rally Sweden. We have shown a real improvement here compared to last year. The fact that we have Thierry in second place, Hayden in the top six and Kevin knocking on the door of the top ten at the end of a tough day is very encouraging. Conditions have been unpredictable at times so the drivers have all acquitted themselves very well. Thierry has scored our first stage win of the year, which was nice to see, while Hayden and Kevin have got their 2015 seasons off to a good start. Rally Sweden is full of the unexpected, as we have seen today, so we must continue to work hard tomorrow and continue in the same way we have started.”

Saturday’s action takes in a repeat loop of four stages – Fredriksberg (18.15km), Rämmen (22.76km), Hagfors Sprint (1.87km) and Vargåsen (24.63km) – over 134.82 competitive kilometres. The latter stage also sees drivers tackle the legendary Colin’s Crest Arena. In last year’s Rally Sweden, Hyundai Motorsport emerged victors of the Colin’s Crest Award for the longest jump, courtesy of Juho Hänninen’s effort of 36m.

Overall Classification after Day One

A. Mikkelsen / O. Floene (Volkswagen Polo R WRC)
T. Neuville / N. Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +19.1
M. Østberg / J. Andersson (Citroën DS3 WRC) +19.4
S. Ogier / J. Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +24.7
O. Tanak / R. Molder (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +1:06.2
H. Paddon / J. Kennard (Hyundai i20 WRC) +1:37.1
M. Prokop / J. Tomanek (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +2:00.5
Y. Protosov / P. Cherepin (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +2:11.4
H. Solberg / I. Minor (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +2:18.2
E. Evans / D. Barritt (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +2:49.6
K. Abbring / S. Marshall (Hyundai i20 WRC) +3:09.6

Hyundai Motorsport

shares
comments
Pirelli stars ready to show their pace in Sweden
Previous article

Pirelli stars ready to show their pace in Sweden

Next article

Solid start for M-Sport in Sweden

Solid start for M-Sport in Sweden
Load comments
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
How Ogier emerged from Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend Prime

How Ogier emerged from Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend

OPINION: Adding an eighth WRC title to his name, Sebastien Ogier has bowed out from full-time rallying in style. Having been compared throughout his career with nine-time champion Sebastien Loeb, Ogier has convincingly demonstrated that he can stand on his own as one of the greatest rally drivers in history

WRC
Nov 22, 2021
How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend Prime

How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend

This weekend's Rally Monza marks the end of an era in the World Rally Championship, as Sebastien Ogier prepares to bring down the curtain on his full-time career with an eighth title. For all his enduring success, the Toyota driver reveals in an exclusive interview that lingering insecurities have compelled his quest for perfection

WRC
Nov 18, 2021
The third generation McRae on his way to the WRC Prime

The third generation McRae on his way to the WRC

The McRae family name is steeped in rallying history, with eight British titles between Jimmy, Colin and Alister - plus the small matter of the 1995 WRC title too. Next on the conveyor of talent is Alister's 17-year-old Max McRae, who’s setting out in Australia to conquer the world of rallying and return the famous name to the WRC...

WRC
Nov 12, 2021
Inside Hyundai’s radical approach to prepare for the WRC hybrid era Prime

Inside Hyundai’s radical approach to prepare for the WRC hybrid era

As the World Rally Championship undergoes its biggest shift in regulations for a generation, teams are taking radical measures to prepare for its new era. Hyundai's unique approach involved conducting a private 1500km rally in Italy and Motorsport.com went to see how the team is preparing for 2022

WRC
Nov 4, 2021
How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain Prime

How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain

While all pre-event chat focused on the two World Rally Championship title fighters, their closest challenger charged into the spotlight on Rally Spain. Thierry Neuville's star turn and another strong drive from Elfyn Evans in his fight with Sebastien Ogier made for an intriguing event as the 2021 campaign nears its crunch point

WRC
Oct 18, 2021