The Hyundai Shell World Rally Team, run by Hyundai Motorsport from its factory in Alzenau, Germany, won its maiden title at the FIA Germany World Rally Championship(WRC) on August 24, 2014, with Thierry Neuville leading team
Neuville, driving a Hyundaii20, finished 40 seconds ahead of Spanish teammate Dani Sordo in a first-ever one-two and victory for Hyundai in the World Rally Championship.Theteam took first and second place in the driver’s WRCand first place in the car manufacturer’s WRC.
The Hyundai World Rally Team took the podium in the World Rally Championship held in Mexico in March 2014, and Poland’s World Rally in June of the same year. The team clinched its first victory18 months after the ninth World Rally Championships since its debut.
Neuville himself had overcome a dramatic crash on the opening day of action, when he barrel-rolled through the vineyards near Trier. Team mechanics worked for 18 hours to rebuild the battered i20 car and Neuville heaped praise on the backroom staff.
Neuville (#7 Hyundai i20 WRC, co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul) put the drama of shakedown firmly behind him when the stages got underway on Friday morning. The Belgian has not put a foot wrong since and has determinedly made his way up through the classification since the opening day. He was fully in contention for a podium at the start of Sunday, embroiled in a close battle for second but the retirements of the two leading cars in consecutive stages elevated the Belgian to the rally lead. Neuville then kept his focus to bring the #7 Hyundai i20 WRC car home for the win ? his first in WRC. The Belgian brings home also two extra points for being second fastest in the Power Stage ? the last stage of the rally.
Neuville said: “I am really happy for the entire Hyundai Shell World Rally Team and everyone back at the factory in Alzenau. Everyone has worked so hard in the past year to get us to where we are this season so to celebrate my debut WRC win with them is very special. It is even better that we have a 1-2 in our home event. I am particularly thankful for the team’s hard work this weekend.”
He went on: “They did a fantastic job after our roll on Thursday to get the car repaired which makes this result more incredible. We have had three competitive days and we have been able to put the pressure on. Of course, it was a shame to see JariMatti (Latvala) and Kris (Meeke) retire this morning, but that reinforced the need for us to remain focused and concentrated. The conditions were very difficult so we had to take it steady to the end. It’s a great result and one which we will certainly never forget.”
The Hyundai team won the victory after staging a neck and neck battle from the start of the rally. The No. 1 team, led by Thierry Neuville, received 25 bonus points and the No. 2 team, led by Dani Sordo, got 18 points. Neuvillee thus took first place and Sordo second place. In the car manufacturer’s WRC, the Hyundai teams received a combined bonus 43 points, far head of the second-place “M Sports World Rally Team.”
Choi Kyu-hyun, head of Hyundai Motorsport GmbH, which was established in Alzenau, Germany in late 2012, said he was moved as the Korean national anthem was played during the victory ceremony. The entity is responsible for Hyundai’s global motorsport activities and primarily for its World Rally Championship program.
Team Principal Michel Nandan said: “I feel a little bit like I am still dreaming. We could never imagine that coming here, in just our ninth WRC rally, that we would be celebrating a 1-2 result. It is quite remarkable and very special. It has been a busy weekend with some tough conditions and requiring everyone to be at the absolute top of their game. Our team has been absolutely first class and it is thanks to each of them ? here and at Alzenau ? that we have this result today.”
Nandan went on: “The drivers have been on competitive form since the first stage and they thoroughly deserve this. To see Thierry take his first win and Dani on the podium is wonderful. We wanted to use this year as a learning year and we won’t let this result carry us away. However, we have made continuous progress and our Hyundai i20 WRC is improving all the time. We benefitted from the unfortunate retirement of other drivers today but we were genuinely fighting for the podium and that reflects the progress we have made as a team. For now, we will enjoy the moment and thank everyone for their support of our young team.”
Rallye Deutschland: Overall standings after Stage 18
1. Thierry Neuville Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC 3hrs 07m 20.2s M
2.Dani Sordo Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +00m 40.7s M
3.Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC +00m58.0s M
4.Elfyn Evans M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +01m 03.6s M
5.Mikko Hirvonen M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +01m 10.5s M
Overall PointsAfter Stage 18
1Volkswagen Motorsport ?305 points
2 Citroen Total Abu Dhabi-138 points
3. Hyundai Motorsport-131 points
4. M-Sport World Rally Team-128 points
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