Hyundai Motorsport have completed the 2016 World Rally Championship Rally Finland event with all three of the New Generation i20’s in the top ten positions.
The leading Hyundai i20 #3 of Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul equalled the team’s best-ever position in Finland in fourth despite not achieving the first podium finish on the event they hoped for pre-Rally Finland. Neuville continues a strong run of results this season following the Belgian’s win in Sardinia and a fourth position in Poland last time out.
New Zealand’s #4 i20 of Hayden Paddon/John Kennard completed a tough weekend in Finland, finishing fifth and earning Hyundai some valuable Manufacturers’ Championship points. While Dutchman Kevin Abbring/Sebastian Marshall in the last of the Hyundai i20’s in the #20 car, finished in ninth position to complete three Hyundai Motorsport cars finishing in the top ten positions for Rally Finland 2016.
Neuville said post-Finland “We have given our maximum throughout the weekend and been absolutely on the limit. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to get on the podium – but it was very close! We had a strong finish with two stage wins today including the Power Stage, so that was a nice way to end the rally.
“It was particularly pleasing for the whole team to have a 1-2 in the Power Stage after a tricky weekend. We have had some difficulties with the car settings and grip levels on most stages so I think we can be reasonably satisfied.
“It was an exciting battle with Hayden and to have the opportunity to compete on these incredible Finnish stages is always a pleasure. There are definitely some more things we need to learn about the performance of our car in these conditions. We can now look forward to Germany – a rally where we have fond memories!”
Paddon reflected on a challenging weekend for his #4 Hyundai i20 in Finland. “It’s been a challenging weekend but there are some positives to take away. We were second on the road for much of the weekend, so to come away with a top-five result is not too bad.
“We had a decent final day even if the driving was a bit untidy at times. We didn’t take any massive risks and concentrated on getting the cars home. With that in mind, to take 1-2 in the Power Stage was a nice consolation. We gave it our all but we’ve struggled with the car in the slippery conditions. It was a close fight with Thierry and I’ve really enjoyed these fantastic stages.”
Abbring added “I am happy with how this weekend has gone all things considered. We haven’t made any mistakes and we’ve come away with a top-ten result in Rally Finland. It has been an extremely valuable learning experience and I’d like to thank the team for giving us the opportunity.
“The New Generation i20 WRC has performed well and it’s been a real pleasure to drive. We have made improvements with each stage, refining our pace notes and we’ve done what we set out to achieve.”