Hyundai Motorsport holds a narrow lead of Rally de España

Hyundai Motorsport holds a narrow lead of Rally de España

15.10.2021: ... the penultimate round of the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), at the end of Friday • Thierry Neuville and Martijn Wydaeghe overturned a lunchtime deficit to hold a 0.7-second lead, having claimed four stage wins throughout the day •

... the penultimate round of the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), at the end of Friday

•    Thierry Neuville and Martijn Wydaeghe overturned a lunchtime deficit to hold a 0.7-second lead, having claimed four stage wins throughout the day


•    Dani Sordo and Cándido Carrera are involved in a podium fight, while Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja retired from the event following a crash in SS4.
 


 


Hyundai Motorsport has placed itself firmly in the fight for victory at Rally de España, the 11th and penultimate round of the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), after the opening six stages of the weekend.
 


Belgian crew Thierry Neuville and Martijn Wydaeghe ended Friday’s schedule on top of the classification with a narrow advantage over Elfyn Evans, after a sensational afternoon loop.
 


The crew had struggled with understeer in their Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC during the opening stages of the day – Vilaplana (SS1/4, 20km), La Granadella (SS2/5, 21.80km) and Riba-roja (SS3/6, 14.21km). Despite taking a joint stage win in the first run through the new La Granadella test, the pair headed into lunchtime service with a 7.9-second deficit.  
 


Having made set-up changes to their car during the break, the Belgians embarked on a comeback mission in the repeat loop. They claimed the fastest time in SS4, before dominating the field on the following stage. The performance saw them vault to the top of the timesheets before adding a fourth stage win to extend their narrow advantage to 0.7-seconds.
 


Dani Sordo and Cándido Carrera got their home rally off to a positive start. In their first WRC event since Acropolis Rally, the crew settled into a steady fourth place, within touching distance of the provisional podium positions.
 


Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja, fresh from their second place in Finland, had an inauspicious start to the rally. An early spin in SS2 dropped them down the order, and the Estonians were then forced to retire after crashing out of the rally, 3.6km into SS4. Unfortunately, a damaged chassis means that the crew will not be able to restart tomorrow.
 






Crew Notes: Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (#11 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)



•    Four fastest times out of Friday’s six stages for the Belgian crew
•    Leading the rally by 0.7-seconds ahead of Elfyn Evans
 



Neuville said
: “I am feeling more comfortable in the car this afternoon. We experienced a lot of understeer on the morning loop, and I felt that I was pushing the car through rather than driving it. On the twisty roads, I felt I could have gone faster but I wasn’t able to get the car to turn in.


Tomorrow, we have a different profile of stages, more flowing and I hope they will suit us better. We are going to do all we can to stay in the fight with Elfyn, who had a great start to the rally. It acted as a wake-up call for us, but now we’re back in the game.”
 





Crew Notes: Dani Sordo/Cándido Carrera (#6 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)


•    Return to home tarmac for Sordo
•    Spanish crew just 5.4-seconds from the podium positions
 


Sordo said
: “I have pushed my hardest since the very start of the day. It is so good to be back here in Spain, competing in our home event. We are back to a full tarmac event, and I think we’ve had a decent Friday. We took a slightly different strategy in the afternoon loop with two spare tyres.





That meant we were carrying more weight on the stages but had some better tyre performance in the final stage. I had hoped the time would be better but honestly it was difficult to get any closer. The guys in front are fast. We’ll keep pushing for the podium.”
 






Crew Notes: Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (#8 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)


•    Estonians had a day of surprises on the opening loops of Rally de España
•    Crash in SS4 forced them to stop for the day and they will not rejoin


 
Tänak said:
“It has been a day of unpleasant surprises. This morning, in SS2, we had quite an impressive spin, and then at the start of the afternoon loop we went off and had to retire the car. We hit a tree stump which caused damage to the car that is unfortunately irreparable. It was quite an impact, so we were probably carrying too much speed into the corner.



We locked the wheel a bit, and together with the dirt, we couldn’t save it. Martin and I are both fine; we weren’t really over the limit, so it came a bit out of the blue.”




 
Team Principal Andrea Adamo said
: “We have to be positive for two reasons; firstly, we are leading the rally with Thierry and Martijn, which is good, but furthermore we have demonstrated a good recovery and fightback after a less-than-satisfactory morning.


My people have reacted properly, calmly, with no panic, and we caught back the time. The reaction has pleased me, even if we should have been fast from the start. Dani and Cándido had an amazing day, accepting our decision to go with two spare tyres this afternoon.



We needed to protect ourselves, to be on the safe side after we saw high tyre degradation on the first loop. Ott and Martin, sadly, had a slight offline moment for which they have paid a heavy price; they will not be able to re-join tomorrow because the chassis is damaged.”
 






Saturday at a Glance



•    Seven stages will make up the itinerary for Rally de España’s penultimate day


•    The bulk of the day’s distance will be covered across two loops of three stages – Savallà (14.08km), Querol-Les Pobles (19.17km) and El Montmell (24.40km)


•    A mid-day service separates the two loops, following the first pass through El Montmell, the longest stage of the weekend



•    A short fan-friendly test at Salou (2.24km) will bring Saturday’s schedule to its conclusion.




Classification after Day One

 
1    T. Neuville    M. Wydaeghe    Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC    1:01:26.6
2    E. Evans    S. Martin    Toyota Yaris WRC    +0.7
3    S. Ogier    J. Ingrassia    Toyota Yaris WRC    +19.4
4    D. Sordo    C. Carrera    Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC    +24.8
5    K. Rovanperä    J. Halttunen    Toyota Yaris WRC    +38.0
6    A. Fourmaux    A. Coria    Ford Fiesta WRC    +1:10.2
7    G. Greensmith    C. Patterson    Ford Fiesta WRC    +1:28.9
8    O. Solberg    C. Drew    Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC    +1:55.6
9    N. Solans    M. Martí     Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC    +2:30.5
 

 

 
Thomas Villette,    Nicoletta Russo- photos Hyundai

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/hyundai-motorsport-narrow-lead-rally-de-espana---229947.html

15.10.2021 / MaP

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