Nell’anno del debutto nel Mondiale Rally, la Hyundai i20 WRC conquista oggi, 24 agosto 2014, la prima vittoria nel Mondiale Rally – e proprio in Germania, dove è stata creata, solo un anno e mezzo fa, “Hyundai Motorsport”, la struttura che sovraintende alle attività sportive della Casa.
- Thierry Neuville – Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC)
- Dani Sordo – Marc Marti (Hyundai i20 WRC)
Una gara incredibile se pensiamo che, nel “prologo” di 3,5 km svoltosi giovedì, proprio il Vice Campione del Mondo Thierry Neuville (anche lui alla 1° vittoria nel Mondiale WRC) aveva rischiato di compromettere la corsa a causa di un’uscita di strada nei vigneti della Mosella (con annessi 7 capottamenti…), costringendo i meccanici a ben 18 ore continuate di lavoro per rimettere in sesto la vettura! Invece Neuville, Sordo e Bouffier non si sono persi d’animo e hanno condotto una gara tutta all’attacco… Risultato: prima, storica vittoria per Hyundai – con doppietta Neuville-Sordo!
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. 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 Jari Matti (Latvala) and Kris (Meeke) retire this morning, but that reinforced the need for us to remain focussed 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.”
Sordo said: “This is a great result for the whole team and a testament to all the people who work so hard in the team and at the factory. To get our first 1-2 is fantastic. Normally, I would prefer to be the one scoring the win but I am happy with second and I am pleased for Thierry. It has been a tough rally so we were focussed on getting to the finish safely. I have to say the team has really developed a lot since I was last competing, both in terms of the operations and the car performance. We can really use this result to continue our momentum and our learning in our first year.”
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. 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.”