The Hyundai Shell World Rally Team achieved its primary objective as all three cars finished in the top ten of the Rally de España. The drivers set some impressive stage times on the mixed surfaces on the opening day and consolidated the positions over the weekend as the team refined the set-up of the Hyundai i20 WRC on twisty and challenging tarmac roads of the Costa Daurada.
As first time visitors to the only event in the WRC formally classified as mixed surface, the rally provided a unique challenge for the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team. With two stage wins on Friday, first from Hayden Paddon on SS3 and then on SS6 from Thierry Neuville, who also briefly led the event overall, the team established the pace of the car. Over the tarmac stages of Saturday and Sunday the drivers have focused on improving the balance of the car on the twisty and abrasive tarmac roads.
The final day of the event concluded with 72,06 km of special stages on tar. Two runs through both the La Mussara stage at 20,48 km and the Ruidecanyes at 15,55 km, the second of which (SS17) served as the live Power Stage.
Dani Sordo, in the no. 8 Hyundai i20 WRC with navigator Marc Martí, pushed hard throughout the final day chasing Mads Østberg for fourth place. Finishing as the leading Hyundai Shell World Rally Team driver, he eventually finished in fifth place by 8,9 sec., his third consecutive top five finish.
Thierry Neuville, in the no. 7 Hyundai i20 WRC with navigotor Nicolas Gilsoul, eventually finished one place behind in sixth after being locked in a tight battle throughout Sunday with Andreas Mikkelsen. Neuville led the rally on day one at the end of SS3, but after a puncture dropped him down the leader board he has spent the weekend improving the balance of the car on the twisty but smooth asphalt stages.
Hayden Paddon finished in ninth place in the no. 20 Hyundai i20 WRC with co-driver John Kennard after his only WRC event on tarmac since Spain last year. The rally started in memorable style for the 27 year old Kiwi as he set his maiden fastest stage on the gravel of SS3.
Team Principal Michel Nandan said: