Hyundai i20 WRC's Secure Top-Six Finish in 2015 FIA Rallye Monte-Carlo
Demonstrating a monumental progression from last year’s performance, Hyundai Motorsport secured a top-six finish in the Rallye Monte-Carlo, achieving its objectives for the first event of the 2015 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).
Hyundai Shell World Rally Team drivers Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo battled for 5th place up to the final stage of the rally, with a mere 0,2 seconds difference heading into the Power Stage. However it was Neuville who took the position with a 0,8 second win in the emblematic Hyundai i20 WRC.
Third place in Saturday’s 36,85 km Sisteron-Thoard stage led to fourth in the first run of Col St. Jean- St. Laurent and third quickest through the iconic Col de Turini (SS14 – La Bollène Vésubie-Sospel – 31,66 km). Giving the hardy Hyundai i20 WRC a final push in the Power Stage, secured Neuville a well-deserved top five result and a first ever finish for this Belgian driver.
“It feels great to have completed my first Rallye Monte-Carlo. It was a really close battle with Dani for fifth place so I had to push a bit more in today’s stages. To get both cars to the end of the rally is the most important thing and it is a great team result. Hopefully, it is a good foundation for the rest of the season,” said Neuville.
Sixth position driver, Dani Sordo put in some competitive stage times in his Hyundai i20 WRC, making his way into the top five at the end of Saturday. Third place in the morning’s opening stage allowed him to extend his lead over Neuville but the gap was reduced to 0,2 sec after SS14. Eventually, it was 6th place that the Spandiard had to settle for at the conclusion of the Power Stage at the 2015 FIA WRC.
“Our target was to reach the end of the rally with both cars, and we have achieved that, so it is a good result for the whole team. The battle with Thierry was incredibly close but he was faster in the final two stages, so well done to him. The conditions have been really difficult on all days and we had a lot of ground to make up after losing time in the opening stage. We have shown some good pace over the weekend and we can start this season in a much more positive way compared to last year,” said Sordo.
Icy, slippery and muddy conditions presented a real challenge to all the drivers in the 2015 FIA World Rally Championship. In light of Hyundai’s performance in spite of the unpredictable conditions, team principal Michel Nandan attributes the team’s success to a determined mentality and a fantastic effort from Thierry and Dani.
On the two car finish, Nandan commented, “The tricky conditions have meant difficult – and often late – strategy calls, particularly with the tyres, and we have coped well with these. Both drivers have gained confidence over the four days and we’ve set some decent stage times. We wanted a two car finish and we have achieved that with both cars in the top six, which is a great start to our second season in the 2015 FIA WRC.”
Rallye Monte Carlo 2015 Standings
1. S. Ogier / J. Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 3:36:40.2
2. J.M Latvala / M. Anttila (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +58.0
3. A. Mikkelsen / O. Floene (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +2:12.3
4. M. Østberg / J. Andersson (Citroën DS3 WRC) +2:43.6
5. T. Neuville / N. Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +3:12.1
6. D. Sordo / M. Martí (Hyundai i20 WRC) +3:12.9
7. E. Evans / D. Barritt (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +5.23.7
8. S. Loeb / D. Elena (Citroën DS3 WRC) +8:34.7
9. M. Prokop / J. Tomanek (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +9:54.8
10. K. Meeke / P. Nagle (Citroën DS3 WRC) +10:55.6
2015 FIA World Rally Championship Drivers' Standings
S. Ogier 25 points / J.M. Latvala 19 / A. Mikkelsen 15 / M. Østberg 12 / T. Neuville 10 / D. Sordo 8 / E. Evans 6 / S. Loeb 6 / K. Meeke 4 / M. Prokop 2
2015 FIA World Rally Championship Manufacturers' Standings
Volkswagen Motorsport 43 points / Hyundai Motorsport 27 / Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally
Team 12 / M-Sport World Rally Team 12 / Jipocar Czech National Team 6 / FWRT SRL 1
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