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Hyundai Motorsport has claimed its first-ever clean sweep of a FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) podium with an emphatic performance in the Acropolis Rally in Greece. Thierry Neuville and Martijn Wydaeghe

Hyundai Motorsport Acropolis Rally

Hyundai Motorsport has claimed its first-ever clean sweep of a FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) podium with an emphatic performance in the Acropolis Rally in Greece.

Thierry Neuville and Martijn Wydaeghe led a 1-2-3 finish on the final race day, with Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja and Dani Sordo/Cándido Carrera taking second and third places respectively to for an historic team result.

Following a dominant performance on Saturday, in which all three Hyundai Motorsport crews scored special stage wins, the team added three more fastest times on the final morning. Tänak took the honours in the opening run through Eleftherohori (SS 14/SS16, 16,90 km) before Neuville reasserted his advantage on the following Elatia-Rengini test (SS 15, 11,26 km). The Estonian then topped the timesheets in the Power Stage for five extra points.

Steady runs for Neuville and Sordo in the Power Stage allowed the team to lock out the podium for the first time in its 107 WRC appearances to date. The Belgian won by a margin of 15,0 seconds to take his first victory of 2022 and his 17th in total for the team. The result also represents the first time that Hyundai Motorsport has taken three consecutive victories in WRC.

Tänak confirmed his sixth podium finish of the season with a fine run to second place, following his back-to-back wins in Finland and Belgium. Sordo took a measured approach to the final stages to cement his podium finish – his third top-three result in a row this season after Portugal and Sardinia – to make it an all-Hyundai top three. The Spaniard has now finished on the podium in his last five WRC outings.

The performance and reliability of the Hyundai i20 N Rally1 has played an integral part in the result, with others punished by Greece’s tough gravel roads. Having shown its competitiveness on gravel in Finland and tarmac in Belgium, the car has now also survived – and excelled – on the unforgiving terrain of the Acropolis Rally, adding Hyundai Motorsport’s name as winner of one of the championship’s most celebrated events.

After ten rounds, the team has equalled its record for most wins in a single season, four (also registered in 2017 and 2019), adding a strong haul of points to its manufacturers’ championship total of 341.

Crew Notes: Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe 
Neuville said: “This is a special victory and an historic result. It’s been a tough season for us, so to get the win, especially after a difficult weekend in our home event in Belgium, is a great relief. I think the most important aspect is the 1-2-3 for the team, a result we entirely deserve after all the efforts from everyone. We can take immense pride in this achievement. I have been in the team since the beginning, I know how hard everyone has worked, especially through the difficult times, but we’ve always fought back, and this is a perfect demonstration of that.”

Crew Notes: Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja

Tänak said: “A quite incredible result. It has been a very demanding rally, especially on the technical side, so the team has done a good job to keep all the cars running. From our side, it’s a shame we lost some time with a hybrid issue on Friday; that didn’t put us in an optimal road position for Saturday. We then had some issues yesterday which kept us from fighting closer to the front. We knew it would be tricky to catch Thierry today without him making a mistake. The car is definitely working better.”

Crew Notes: Dani Sordo/Cándido Carrera

Sordo said: “I am really happy with my podium and for our 1-2-3 result. Everyone in this team deserves it, they have worked so hard these days. We had a difficult start to the season with some bad moments, so this is an achievement the people in the factory truly deserve. Our target was to fight for third place, which became easier after Elfyn Evans had his issue. For sure it becomes more relaxing when you know that someone who is close behind has a problem, but I was disappointed for him. Many drivers had some issues this weekend, but, in the end, we were there with all three cars and came away with a really fantastic team result.”

Deputy team director Julien Moncet said: “What an historical moment for our team and Hyundai, the first time that we have scored a triple podium. Few would have bet on us at the start of the season, but here we are, back. Thank you to all the people supporting us, and above all to those in our factory. Reliability has proven again to be one of the keys; our car has improved a lot on this side since Monte-Carlo.

“It’s been another great job by all our drivers. Thierry had a trouble-free rally and a more careful approach today to secure the win, his first in almost a year. Ott had a very strong rally despite a few technical issues, and again put in a strong performance for a solid second place. Winning the Power Stage for extra points proved one more time, when needed, just what a competitor he is. Dani’s target was to secure third position, which was made easier by Evans’ retirement. Once again, he has done exactly what we were expecting from him: reliable and the perfect team player. That’s five podiums in a row for him.”

President of Hyundai Motorsport, Sean Kim said: “This is a very special day for everyone at Hyundai Motorsport, and the global Hyundai family, as we celebrate our first-ever 1-2-3 result in a WRC event. A fantastic team effort, realised by our three incredible crews. Since our first FIA World Rally Championship season back in 2014, we have been committed to preparing the most competitive, reliable, and technologically advanced machinery to compete with the best.

“We have taken two manufacturer’s titles, but this new hybrid season set new challenges which we have relished. To see our Hyundai i20 N Rally1 take three wins in a row – in very different rallies – is a reward for tremendous hard work by our team on-site and at the factory.”

Next rally

For the next round in the 2022 FIA World Rally Championship the teams travel across the world to Rally New Zealand, which will take place from 29 September to 2 October.

Final results Acropolis Rally:

1 T. Neuville/M. Wydaeghe Hyundai i20 N Rally1 3:34:52.0
2 O. Tänak/M. Järveoja Hyundai i20 N Rally1 +15.0
3 D. Sordo/C. Carrera Hyundai i20 N Rally1 +1:49.7
4 P. L. Loubet/V. Landais Ford Puma Rally1 +3:42.2
5 C. Breen/P. Nagle Ford Puma Rally1 +4:09.0
6 T. Katsuta/A. Johnston Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 +6:21.1
7 E. Lindholm/R. Hämäläinen Škoda Fabia Evo +7:46.6
8 N. Gryazin/K. Aleksandrov Škoda Fabia Evo +8:22.7
9 A. Tsouloftas/R. Whittock Volkswagen Polo GTI +10:53.8
10 E. Brynildsen/R. Eilersten Škoda Fabia Evo +10:56.7

Manufacturers’ Championship standings:

1 Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team 404
2 Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team 341
3 M-Sport Ford World Rally Team 214
4 Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team NG 112

Drivers’ Championship standings:

1 K. Rovanperä 207
2 O. Tänak 154
3 T. Neuville 131
4 E. Evans 116
5 T. Katsuta 100
6 C. Breen 77
7 E. Lappi 58
8 D. Sordo 49
9 G. Greensmith 36
10 S. Loeb 35
11 S. Ogier 34
12 P. Loubet 30
13 A. Mikkelsen 25
14 O. Solberg 21
Breyten Odendaal

Hello! I am a publisher for 3D Car Shows. Besides cars and automotive news, I am also interested in virtual reality, 3D modeling and animation.

Published : Monday September 12, 2022

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