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Hyundai Motorsport takes spectacular podium as Neuville claims 2nd in Sweden

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Hyundai Motorsport takes spectacular podium as Neuville claims 2nd in Sweden

February 16, 2015 - The Hyundai Motorsport team will step onto the WRC podium for the fourth time in its short history as Thierry Neuville (#7 Hyundai i20 WRC) stormed to second place in Rally Sweden, round two of the FIA World Rally Championship.

The result sees Hyundai Motorsport consolidate second in the  Manufacturers' Championship with 55 points, while Neuville also took two Power Stage points for finishing second in the final stage of the  rally. He resides second in the Drivers' Championship on 30 points.

The team has been in the thick of the action from the outset of the  21-stage rally, with Neuville firmly among the pace setters all weekend. The victory fight went right down the final Power Stage with 4.6  seconds separating the trio of contenders heading into the last 15.87km  stage.

Neuville took the first stage win of the season for the team on Friday  and was placed second at the end of the opening day. He then added a  further two stages wins in Saturday's SS15 (Fredriksberg 18.15km) and  SS18 (Vargåsen) to sensationally take the lead as the penultimate day  came to an end. In Saturday's final stage, he also jumped 44m to break  the legendary Colin's Crest Award record. The Belgian adopted a measured approach to Sunday morning's stages to ensure he kept fully in the hunt for the victory right to the end, and the runner-up position was well  deserved.  

Neuville said: "What a rally this has been! We have not had such a  close battle for the victory for a long time and it has been great to be a part of such a thrilling finale. Nobody really expected us to be  challenging for the win here, so it has been a brilliant performance. Of course, I pushed hard to get the win, taking quite a few risks, and I  could honestly not have done more. A second place is still a very nice  result for me and for everyone in the team, who have worked hard."  

Hayden Paddon (#8 Hyundai i20 WRC) has had a strong start to his second season as part of the Hyundai Motorsport line-up. Fifth place is the  New Zealander's best result in the World Rally Championship, one place  higher than his previous best with the team (2014 Rally Australia).  Alongside co-driver John Kennard, Paddon has adapted his driving style  this weekend to suit the characteristics of the #8 Hyundai i20 WRC and  the unique challenges posed by the wintry Swedish stages. His fifth  place secures 10 manufacturer points as part of the Hyundai Shell World  Rally Team.

Paddon commented: "It's been a good rally for us overall and very  important to gain the experience in these demanding winter conditions.  After finishing Friday's stages in sixth overall, we've looked at  cementing that position and building up a buffer. We have had to work a  lot on adapting the driving style to the set-up of the car and to the  special requirements of these stages. I am pleased with how we have  tackled this rally and the improvements we've made. We've definitely had some good moments - as well as some struggles - but to finish in the top five is a really good result and scores some  important points for the team in the Manufacturer's Championship. I  think we've achieved all we could and it's definitely a good base on  which to build for Mexico."  

Rally Sweden weekend has been a valuable learning curve for Kevin  Abbring (#20 Hyundai i20 WRC) as he acclimatized to the #20 Hyundai i20  WRC car, and the rigors of a full World Rally event. Scoring 11th in his debut event for the Hyundai Mobis World Rally Team is a great result  for the young Dutchman. The added complication of Sweden's unforgiving  snowy and icy conditions means that Abbring and his British co-driver  Seb Marshall can reflect on a highly positive event overall.

Kevin Abbring said: "This is an event I certainly won't forget in a hurry and I am really happy to have finished my first event in the  Hyundai i20 WRC. It has been an incredible experience and a real  privilege to have tackled these tough Rally Sweden stages. They  definitely demand respect. I have built my confidence throughout the  weekend and thoroughly enjoyed myself. We've had a few moments, which is to be expected in our first event on these conditions, and we lacked  rhythm in the pace notes in places, but there are so many positives to  take away. The team has been exceptional and have helped me and Seb to  find our feet quickly. I can't wait to get back behind the wheel of the  car in my next WRC event."

For the Hyundai Motorsport team, Rally Sweden has been an excellent  event with competitive performances from all three cars. The progress  made by the team compared to the same event one year ago is testament to the hard work put in by the entire team, both at the rally and back at  the team's Alzenau factory. Today's second place marks the fourth WRC  event with a podium (Mexico, Poland and Germany 2014) and the first  event of the season with a three-car finish. The team can also reflect  on three stage wins this weekend, as well as leading the rally, all of  which makes for an event to remember!

Team Principal Michel Nandan commented: "This podium is a great  result for everyone at Hyundai Motorsport. Our performance level has  been encouraging although, at the same time, it is important for us to  recognise that there is still a lot of work to do. Thierry has been on  exceptional pace this weekend and this second place has been very well  earned. Obviously, we benefitted from the misfortune of Andreas in the  Power Stage but that is not to take anything away from Thierry's  performance, which was superb. We've been in the mix all weekend and to  be part of a spectacular finale is very special. A podium, two Power  Stage points and second place in both Manufacturers' and Drivers'  Championships makes for very nice reading!

"Hayden has also registered his first top five finish with the team - in his first WRC event of the season - a highly commendable result. Kevin has also exceeded our expectations  here with a mature rally. He has kept his head down, worked hard and  delivered a classified finish just outside of the top ten. I would like  to extend a huge thanks to the entire team - both in Sweden and back at Alzenau. It's not been a straightforward rally and  they have shown an immense professionalism of which we can all be very  proud."

Overall Classification after Day Three

  1. S. Ogier / J. Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC)
  2. T. Neuville / N. Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +6.4
  3. A. Mikkelsen / O. Floene (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 39.8
  4. O. Tanak / R. Molder (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +2:26.0
  5. H. Paddon / J. Kennard (Hyundai i20 WRC) +3:31.5
  6. E. Evans / D. Barritt (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +3:53.0
  7. K. Meeke / P. Nagle (Citroën DS3 WRC) +4:05.8
  8. M. Prokop / J. Tomanek (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +4:26.0
  9. Y. Protasov / P. Cherepin (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +5:32.2
  10. M. Østberg / J. Andersson (Citroën DS3 WRC) +6:50.9
  11. K. Abbring / S. Marshall (Hyundai i20 WRC) +7:55.6 

2015 FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers' Standings S. Ogier 53 points / T. Neuville 30 / A. Mikkelsen 30 / J.M. Latvala 19 / M. Østberg 14 / E. Evans 14 / O. Tanak 12 / H. Paddon 10 / K. Meeke 10 / D. Sordo 8 / M. Prokop 6 / S. Loeb 6 / K. Abbring 1

All results remain subject to official FIA confirmation.

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