A BARNSTORMING second place has put the Hyundai Motorsport team onto the WRC podium for only the fourth time in its short history, with Thierry Neuville locking down second spot on the championship ladder at the same time in Rally Sweden, round two of the FIA World Rally Championship.
The team was 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 (VargÃ¥sen) 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.
“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,” Neuville said.
“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.”
For the Hyundai Motorsport, Rally Sweden gave the team the chance to consolidate second place in the Manufacturer’s Championship, with competitive performances from all three cars.