WRC - Hyundai secures a podium finish in Tour de Corse
Neuville salvaged third place from a difficult weekend
Hyundai Motorsport has completed a challenging weekend on the tarmac terrain of Tour de Corse, the fourth round of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) season, with a podium finish as Thierry Neuville secured third place.
The team saw all three of its Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC cars inside the top-seven with Dani Sordo in fourth and Andreas Mikkelsen in seventh overall after a demanding event.
Sunday’s itinerary included the monster 55.17km Vero – Sarrola – Carcopino stage, followed by the 16.25km Power Stage around the former prison at Coti-Chiavari. It was another tough day on the Corsican tarmac for the three crews who have struggled for pace and performance on the tight and twisty stages this weekend.
Neuville and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul were focused on securing third place on the final morning but ran into difficulty on the long opening stage, damaging their rear-left wheel. An undiagnosed engine-related issue prevented them from pushing in the Power Stage, but the Belgians were still able to confirm their third consecutive Corsican podium.
With manufacturer points awarded for the two highest placed crews in a team, Hyundai Motorsport continues to lead the championship with a reduced four-point advantage over the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team.
WRC Crew Notes: Neuville/Gilsoul (#5 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
Belgians claim second podium finish of 2018
Neuville said: “It’s good to finish on the podium but there has been a bit of frustration over the weekend. We haven’t been able to match the times of the front-runners, even if we tried really hard. We have to be content with the results we have achieved, securing a podium and important points for the manufacturers’ championship. In general, I am pleased with the final result but in terms of outright performance we were just not on the pace this weekend.”
WRC Crew Notes: Sordo/Del Barrio (#6 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
Fourth place for the Spaniards moves Sordo to eighth in drivers’ table
Sordo said: “Our end result is not too bad considering the disappointing weekend we have had in Corsica. We have just not been able to find the speed and performance needed to tackle these roads. It was a similar story today; we have pushed as hard as we can but the times have not been there. Still, fourth place gives us important points for the championship so that’s something positive we can take away. Now we need to work together as a team to get more speed on tarmac for later in the season.”
WRC Crew Notes: Mikkelsen/Jæger (#4 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
Mikkelsen battles to seventh overall and holds fourth in drivers’ championship
Mikkelsen said: “Absolutely not the result we wanted and a very difficult weekend overall. We made some more set-up changes for this morning’s two stages but unfortunately we couldn’t find the breakthrough that we needed. It has been a challenging rally but we know that we have to do to gain more experience with this car on tarmac. We need more mileage to understand where we can find more performance from ourselves and from the car. We have some time before the next asphalt event in Germany, so we have to put in lots of effort to make the improvements we need. That’s the homework we are taking from this weekend.”
Tough at the top
Team Principal Michel Nandan commented: “Starting with the positives, we have registered our fourth individual podium result of the season with Thierry in third place. With Dani able to finish one place behind, we have added some important championship points, helping us to retain our lead. It’s still incredibly close, as I think it will continue to be all season. We can’t afford to have difficult weekends like this too often, so we will have to regroup and work harder to improve our performance on tarmac. It wasn’t a trouble-free final morning, unfortunately, with Thierry experiencing issues on the Power Stage with only three cylinders. We have to investigate this to understand what caused it. There are lots of lessons for us to learn from this rally.”