Hyundai Motorsport have claimed a maiden FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers after Rally Australia was cancelled due to extreme bushfires.
The news means that the Korean manufacturer win their maiden team’s title with an 18-point lead over Toyota GAZOO Racing after Rally Spain last time out.
The season ending battle between the teams looked set to feature newly crowned World Champion Ott Tänak try and help Toyota, along with Jari-Matti Latvala and Kris Meeke, pull back the lead Hyundai had with Thierry Neuville, Dani Sordo and the returning Craig Breen all set to feature in the trio of i20 Coupe WRC’s.
Speaking on the news of the team’s win after Rally Australia would be no longer taking place, Team Director of Hyundai Motorsport Andrea Adamo commented: “The cancellation of Rally Australia is the right decision considering the circumstances and our thoughts are with the ones affected by the critical events in New South Wales.”
“From a sporting point-of-view, it is amazing to win our maiden title in the FIA World Rally Championship – this is the result of many years of hard work from everyone at Hyundai Motorsport.”
“This season has been incredibly though and competitive, for sure we wished we could have fought until the end but we can all be proud of all our individual achievements as team members to make this a great collective win. I would like to personally thank everyone at Hyundai Motorsport and all our crews who gave their full dedication from Rallye Monte-Carlo until now.”
While Scott Noh, President of Hyundai Motorsport GmbH added: “First of all our thoughts are with all those affected by the devastating bushfires in the New South Wales region of Australia and elsewhere. We are immensely proud to secure our first-ever FIA World Rally Championship manufacturers’ title after a highly competitive season against tough opposition.”
“Since the establishment of Hyundai Motorsport in 2012, we have built up a dedicated team at our factory in Alzenau, who have worked tirelessly to achieve this goal. It is a privilege for us to contribute to Hyundai’s global brand strategy through our WRC activities, so this is a special occasion. This is a collective achievement, one that we will share with the Hyundai family around the world. We hope, too, that it will be the first title of many more to come in the future.”
Next season will see the new champion Tänak move from Toyota to Hyundai in an incredible team line up alongside arch rival in 2019 Neuville as well as Sordo and Sébastien Loeb also continuing in a shared third car effort by the team.