Hyundai Motorsport has now brought home all cars at Rally Sweden and it was Estonian Ott Tänak who was able to end his first full rally with the team in second place.
Bad weather promised wet conditions on stage on the Sunday morning after heavy rain overnight, and the Rally Sweden organisers made the decision on Saturday to reduce the final morning to only one pass through the 21.19 km Likenäs 2 stage, which served as the Wolf Power Stage.
“For WRC, I can’t say we are happy. We have highlighted again that there are situations in which we are not demonstrating the level of performance required.” Andrea Adamo, Team Principal, said.
“We have never really been in the fight and always had a defensive approach. At least we are still leading the drivers’ championship on the same points total as Evans, and we didn’t lose too much in the manufacturers’ so it’s still game on.“
“I would like to say thank you to Jari Huttunen, his co-driver Mikko Lukka and the 2Brally team for an amazing overall win in RC2. Also, thanks to Andrew Johns from our Customer Racing division for always pushing to make this happen. I am proud to see my people so committed and if we won today it is thanks to him.”
After the crash in Monte-Carlo, Tänak was back in Hyundai and throughout the event held his second place in the class. The Wolf Power Stage saw Tänak go out as the second-to-last car on the final stage, securing his podium finish, and is now in sixth place in the championship.
“I am pleased to take my first podium with the team, particularly considering the challenging conditions we’ve all experienced this weekend. There are certainly positives to take away.” Tänak said.
“The car has shown it has the speed; we just need to learn more about it. After Monte-Carlo, it was important for us to complete the full event, to get some kilometres in the car, and to get some points on the board.“
“We weren’t able to compete at the sharp end, but we are making good progress, improving all the time and finding more confidence in the car. Looking at things from that perspective, it has been a useful weekend.”
Theirry Neuville came to Rally Sweden fresh from winning in Monte-Carlo. He was first to go out during Friday’s stages and after all stages he ended the rally in sixth place. Neuville came in second place at the Wolff Power Stage where he managed to bring a four-points to his championship battle.
“We had only one target today, which was to try and optimise the situation and push for points in the Power Stage. It wasn’t quite enough to set the fastest time, and the conditions were incredibly tricky, just like they have been the entire weekend.” Neuville said.
“It has been a tough rally, but we couldn’t have done much more. There were a few stages where we lost a few seconds here or there; I don’t think it would have changed the end result.”
Neuville is now even on points in the championship with Toyota’s Elfyn Evans who won the rally.
Craig Breen took part in his third outing with Hyundai this weekend and drove to a seventh place finish, ending the rally just behind his Belgian teammate Neuville.
“It has been a difficult weekend and, personally, I am not happy with my result. I have enjoyed being back in a WRC car immensely, don’t get me wrong, but it’s hard not to be up there fighting for podiums and wins.” Breen said.
“The weather and road order have been against us and it’s a pity we’ve had short loops. That’s made it hard to make much of an impression.“
“Today we’ve seen completely different conditions again, with a lot of standing water, so there were no heroics; the priority was to bring the car home, which we did, and to support the team as best we could.”
After Rally Sweden, Hyundai Motorsport is now in second place in the factory championship with 63 points. The next rally will be held in Rally Mexico in March.