Monday, 07 December 2020 11:56

Hyundai Motorsport celebrates 2nd consecutive WRC manufacturers’ title

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Hyundai Motorsport has claimed its second consecutive FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) manufacturers’ title* with a double podium result in Rally Monza, the season finale. Ott Tänak finished a challenging weekend in second place with Dani Sordo in third.

In one of the most demanding and eventful rallies of the season, with wet and often wintry conditions dominating the stages, Hyundai Motorsport scored 33 points to secure its second title with a five-point margin.   

A rollercoaster rally saw the overall classification change stage by stage, making for a dramatic and exciting end to a season which has been heavily disrupted by external influences. Three stages remained on Sunday morning - a third run through the 10.31km Grand Prix and a repeat of the longer 14.97 Serraglio test - with crews focused on a trouble-free finish.

Tänak and co-driver Martin Järveoja moved up to second place on the opening stage, swapping places with Sordo and Carlos del Barrio. Although neither crew was pushing for positions, they continued to exchange places until the Power Stage with the Estonians edging slightly ahead of their Spanish team-mates.

Thierry Neuville and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul were forced to retire from the rally in exceptionally tricky conditions on the opening day and did not re-join. It was an unrepresentative end to the season for the Belgian crew, who opened their 2020 account with victory in Monte-Carlo back in January.

Following one of the team’s most emotional wins, further podiums would follow at curtailed events in Sweden and Mexico, with Tänak and Järveoja claiming their first trophies for Hyundai Motorsport.

During the enforced lockdown period, as the world collectively tackled the COVID-19 pandemic, the team continued to work tirelessly under ‘home office’ regulations to identify and implement important improvements to its technical package.

When the season resumed at the brand-new Rally Estonia, it was home heroes Tänak and Järveoja who took the advantage, leading a 1-2 result ahead of team-mates Craig Breen and Paul Nagle. Closing the gap in the title hunt, a reinvigorated Hyundai Motorsport continued to show impressive pace on the notoriously harsh gravel roads of Rally Turkey, adding another double podium finish.

The team demonstrated its title credentials in Sardinia by taking another 1-2, with Sordo and Del Barrio scoring their second victory for the team, repeating their success from 2019. The result propelled Hyundai Motorsport into the championship lead, setting up the tantalising and ultimately triumphant showdown in Monza.

President of Hyundai Motorsport GmbH, Scott Noh, said: “What a rally to finish the season! That was an exciting and fitting finale which tested us right to the Power Stage. At Hyundai Motorsport, we are honoured to complete the year on top of the manufacturers’ table and to take our second consecutive WRC title. This result is another important landmark moment for Hyundai Motor Company, and especially poignant considering what we’ve all faced this year. We have put our full energy into this season, and I thank every single member of Hyundai Motorsport and the global Hyundai community for their support. We look forward to brighter days and more success in 2021.”

Team Principal Andrea Adamo commented: “Monza is so emotional for me and brings back a lot of personal memories. From arriving on Wednesday, I have had so many emotions in my soul. It’s been a tough year; we know how many struggles there have been in the world and I have had to make sure our team - my people - have been supported throughout. To come to Monza and to take our second title is just wonderful and a moment to cherish. Before the Power Stage, I said it was like U2 singing Faraway, So Close, well now it’s a Beautiful Day. This is a result that we will share with the entire organisation and their families, as well as all our crews. Every single member of the team has pushed incredibly hard to get the most out of the situation and to improve our performance. We started strongly in Monte-Carlo - a truly special moment for all of us - and since we returned after the summer, we have been very competitive. We knew we had to get the most out of limited events, and we returned to the top of the championship based on merit, performance, perseverance and hard work. I am proud to lead such an incredible team and to fly the Hyundai flag in motorsport. My thanks go to the FIA and the WRC Promoter for their efforts this year in difficult circumstances.”

Tänak said: “Our first priority today was to ensure we finished the rally with Dani to make sure we cemented the manufacturers’ title for Hyundai Motorsport. It has been a really difficult rally from the start; we have had to endure some complicated conditions, which continued on this morning’s stages with tricky, rough roads. It was demanding but we achieved our target for the team, and it’s an achievement we can now celebrate together.”

Sordo said: “The target all weekend has been to secure the result we needed for the manufacturers’ championship. It has been an incredibly tricky event, but we have come through with another double podium result. For me, it wasn’t important whether it was second or third; we just needed to get the combined result for the team, which we have done. This has been a hard-fought result, not just here in Monza but at all the events since Monte-Carlo. The team has pushed all the way and we can now share a second championship title together.”

Neuville said: “A very special season comes to an end; it might not have been the championship that anyone expected at the beginning of the year due to the crisis, but we have achieved our goal to take our second manufacturers’ title. This is a phenomenal result for everyone at Hyundai Motorsport and I am happy to be part of this winning team. The Monza weekend did not go to plan for me and Nicolas after our retirement on Friday, but in the end the title is confirmed. My thanks go to every team member for their hard work and dedication. It’s time to celebrate!”

*subject to the official publication of the results by the FIA

Final Overall Classification – Rally Monza

1             S. Ogier                J. Ingrassia          Toyota Yaris WRC            2:15:51.0

2             O. Tänak            M. Järveoja        Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC    +13.9

3             D. Sordo            C. del Barrio       Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC    +15.3

4             E. Lappi                J. Ferm                     Ford Fiesta WRC             +45.7

5             K. Rovanperä     J. Halttunen               Toyota Yaris WRC            +1:11.1

6             A. Mikkelsen      A. Jaeger             Škoda Fabia R5 +3:56.2

7             O. Solberg           A. Johnston        Škoda Fabia R5 +4:12.1

8             J. Huttunen        M. Lukka             Hyundai i20 R5 +5:15.4

9             M. Østberg         T. Eriksen            Citroën C3 R5    +5:27.4

10           P.Tidemand        P. Barth               Škoda Fabia R5 +5:53.0 ...

2020 FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers’ Standings

After round 7

1           Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team 241

2             Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team     236

3             M-Sport Ford World Rally Team                129

4             Hyundai 2C Competition                             8

2020 FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers’ Standings

After round 7

1             S. Ogier                122

2             E. Evans               114

3             O. Tänak              105

4             T. Neuville           87

5             K. Rovanperä        80

6             E. Lappi               52

7             T. Suninen           44

8             D. Sordo            42

9             C. Breen             25

10           S.Loeb               24 ...

All results remain subject to official FIA confirmation.