Hyundai Motorsport started its third season in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) in style with a podium finish in the debut event for the New Generation i20 WRC when Thierry Neuville steered their new rally car to third place in the Rallye Monte-Carlo from 22 to 25 January.
The team had its sights set on securing third place for Thierry Neuville, as well as a top-six result for his Hyundai Shell World Rally team colleague Dani Sordo, who had secured a trio of second place stage times and finally finishing in sixth place overall.
The double top-six finish sees Hyundai Motorsport jointly lead the Manufacturers' Championship with Volkswagen Motorsport on 25 points apiece.? ?For Neuville and his co-driver, Nicolas Gilsoul, third place in Monte-Carlo marks a welcome return to the podium and brings his tally of Hyundai Motorsport podiums to six. |t is also his best result in this rally so far.
Neuville nursed his car home after transmission problems in the final stage, but made it back to service in Monaco to celebrate the podium result with the Hyundai Motorsport team. "I am very excited and pleased with our podium winning during the weekend. The New Generation i20 WRC has shown its high performance potential and it is good to be back on the podium, particularly after the difficulties we had at the end of last season. To register the first stage wins and now first podium with the new car is a great feeling and this result is for the whole team,"? said the Belgian driver.
Hyundai Motorsport's 3rd driver in Rallye Monte-Carlo, Hayden Paddon, had a difficult outing and at one stage was in 76th place after being forced to retire on Friday morning, 22 January, when a low speed crash tore a rear wheel off his Hyundai i20.
Paddon rejoined the rally the following day and survived a series of spins, and then had to limp home on the final stage on Sunday, 24 January, with a broken drive shaft to finish in 25th place overall with his co-driver, John Kennard.
Team principal Michel Nandan commented:
"We are all delighted to see the New Generation i20 WRC finish on the podium here in Monte-Carlo. It's an important result for the entire team and it is the culmination of a lot of work from our colleagues in Alzenau. Thierry has had a competitive and consistent weekend, and it's really fantastic to see him back where he belongs - on the podium.Dani made big improvements over the weekend and he had a positive morning, including scoring Power Stage points. Hayden did everything that was expected from him - and he can now tick Monte-Carlo off his list with valuable experience gained. We can't rest on our laurels, because there is much still to do. We will run three New Generation i20 WRC cars in Sweden and we are determined to continue improving."