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Hyundai Motorsport heads to Rally Sweden for first three-car event of 2015

6 february 2015

Alzenau, Germany, February 6, 2015

Fresh from a two-car finish in the top six at Rallye Monte-Carlo in January,
Hyundai Motorsport heads to Rally Sweden with renewed optimism as it fields three cars for the firsttime this season.
The team has been forced to make a last minute change to its driver line-up for Rally Sweden afterDani Sordo sustained injuries in a training accident on his mountain bike. The Spaniard will miss theevent in order to rest and recover in time for Rally Mexico next month.
Belgians Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul (#7 Hyundai i20 WRC) registered a top five finish inMonte-Carlo to get their second season with Hyundai Shell World Rally Team off to a flying start.
The duo will be joined by Hayden Paddon and John Kennard, who will now take control of the #8 carinstead of the #20. Sweden will be the first of 12 WRC events for the Kiwi crew in 2015 as they lookto pick up from where they left off at the end of their maiden season with Hyundai Motorsport.

This second round of the season will also see the team field a third car with Dutchman Kevin Abbring making his competitive debut in Hyundai Motorsport colours. Alongside his British co-driver Sebastian Marshall, Abbring will take charge of the #20 Hyundai i20 WRC in Sweden, and compete under the recently announced Hyundai Mobis World Rally Team banner.
Rally Sweden is the only true winter round of the WRC season with frozen, snowy conditions offering unique challenges for teams and drivers alike. The team carried out a four day test in Sweden in midDecember in order to prepare the developed Hyundai i20 WRC for the team’s second participation in the event. Two additional days were carried out in the region this week with Neuville and Paddon sharing driving duties for half day each and with Abbring testing for one full day.

Team Principal Michel Nandan said: “Rally Sweden was one of the sternest tests for our young team in our maiden season last year. We learned a lot over the course of the event and we will put that experience into practice at next week’s event. We are pleased to field three Hyundai i20 WRC cars for Sweden, although our driver line-up has had to change following Dani’s mountain bike accident earlier in the week. He will miss this event so he can recover from his injuries in time for Mexico andon behalf of the entire team and all the drivers, I wish him a quick recovery. In his place, Hayden and John, who were going to drive the #20 car in Sweden, will now compete in the #8 car. Our test driver Kevin and his co-driver Sebastian will make their debut for the team earlier than planned, driving the #20 car, allowing us to continue with our three-car approach to this event. On the technical side, we have to prepare the Hyundai i20 WRC to cope with the extremely cold conditions. We carried out atest in December, as well as two days this week, in order to prepare ourselves. From the infamous snow banks to sub-zero temperatures and spectacular sights such as Colin’s Crest - which was definitely one of our highlights last year – Rally Sweden is truly unique and we can’t wait to get started.

Neuville has a best finish of fifth in Sweden, although his final classification in last year’s event masked some impressive performances. The Belgian twice secured the runner-up position in stages which is something he is keen to build on in this year’s event.

Neuville commented: “Rally Sweden is the first and only snow event of the season, which offersspecial challenges. It is probably the surface on which I have least experience. I have taken part in Rally Sweden on three previous occasions and although I have found it difficult, I have learned more with each visit. For my fourth participation, I am sure can further improve my speed and confidence. If you haven’t become accustomed to driving on such fast roads in these conditions from a young age, it is hard to find a rhythm. I have still set some interesting times and, even last year in our firstvisit with the Hyundai i20 WRC, we set some second and third quickest stage times, so I hope to improve on that and to be more competitive.

Paddon made an impressive debut with Hyundai Motorsport in 2014, taking part in six events with the team. With a best result of sixth in Australia and a debut stage win in Spain, the young Kiwi is all set to resume action with Hyundai Motorsport in Sweden.
Paddon said: “It was nice to have a bit of time off back home in New Zealand and to catch up with a few of our partners. We have a pretty big year ahead so it’s nice to be back, refreshed and ready to go. I have only taken part once before in Rally Sweden – three years ago – so it’s still a relatively new event for us. I haven’t really done much snow rallying in the past so it promises to be a fun learning curve. It’s certainly fast and I like that aspect, but the grip levels can be inconsistent, depending on the snowfall before the rally, so we’ll see how it goes. I’m definitely looking forward to it and being part of the Hyundai Motorsport team once again.

Abbring has never competed in Sweden before so his first event with Hyundai Motorsport will be an important learning curve. He already has some experience with the team which will undoubtedly aid his adaptation to the #20 Hyundai i20 WRC.
Abbring said: “I am pleased to have the chance to compete in Rally Sweden with Hyundai Motorsport, which will be a special occasion as it will be my first ever event in a WRC car. Obviously, the circumstances of this opportunity are not ideal and, like everyone else, I send my best wishes to Dani. We have a lot of preparation work to do in order to get up to speed but both Seb and myself will use this event as a learning experience and do all we can to help the team. It will be a bit like jumping in at the deep end but I relish this sort of challenge. Whatever happens, it will be a privilege to represent Hyundai Motorsport and the Hyundai Mobis World Rally Team on the WRC stage.

Rally Sweden takes in 21 competitive stages over a distance of 308km. The rally will get underway with Thursday night’s traditional super special in Karlstad. Friday’s itinerary will take in stages in Norway, with crews not visiting the Service Park for midday service, as well as cross-border action on roads not used since 2011. The frozen forests around the Hagfors service part will make up Saturday and include the famous Colin’s Crest in Vargåsen – which was won by Hyundai Motorsport in 2014. The 15.87km Värmullsåsen Power Stage will act as a prelude to Sunday’s final ceremony in Karlstad.


Hyundai Motorsport reveals Hyundai Mobis World Rally Team

2 february 2015

Alzenau, Germany, February 2, 2015

Hyundai Motorsport has revealed that Hyundai Mobis will be the primary partner for its second team, the Hyundai Mobis World Rally Team, as it prepares to run a third car at all rounds from Rally Sweden next month under the Hyundai Motorsport N entry.
Hayden Paddon will take part in his debut WRC event of the WRC in Sweden with the #20 Hyundai i20 WRC, co-driven by compatriot John Kennard, and will lead the Hyundai Mobis World Rally Team at all remaining rounds.

The team’s official Test Driver Kevin Abbring will also take part in at least four WRC rounds for the Hyundai Mobis World Rally Team during 2015 in a fourth car.

Despite rallying with two separate team names in 2015 – as indeed was the case last season – Hyundai Motorsport will manage all cars concurrently from the same multi-purpose operational base in the service park, and with the same skilled team of engineers and mechanics.

Thierry Neuville (#7 Hyundai i20 WRC, co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul) and Dani Sordo (#8 Hyundai i20 WRC, co-driver Marc Martí) will both continue to represent the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team, as they did at the season opener in Monte-Carlo.

Team Principal Michel Nandan said: “We are pleased to name Hyundai Mobis as the primary partner for our second team, the Hyundai Mobis World Rally Team, as we prepare to run three cars from Rally Sweden. The new team will be headed up by Hayden Paddon and will run in parallel to the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team for the rest of the 2015 season. We are also delighted to give our test driver Kevin the chance to take part in some WRC events this year and he will also run under theHyundai Mobis World Rally Team name. We currently plan for Kevin to take part in four events during 2015 in a fourth car, with a precise schedule still to be defined. While Thierry and Dani will rally for the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team, as they did in Monte-Carlo, the second team will allow some of world rally’s rising stars the chance to showcase their talent on a competitive stage, something we as a WRC manufacturer take very seriously.”

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Getting ready for Greece

21 march 2014

Q&A: Kevin Abbring

Along with Peugeot Rally Academy team-mate Craig Breen, highly-rated Dutchman Kevin Abbring is one of two drivers charged with giving Peugeot’s 208 T16 its FIA European Rally Championship debut on the Acropolis Rally in Greece.
Before we talk about your exciting new car, how good does it feel to be back at international level?

“It feels good to be back of course. My last year competing internationally was in 2012 when I did not have so much luck. After that I could no longer stay in the [WRC] game so I took a risk and drove in the 208 Rally Cup in France. But it really helped because the prize is to drive the 208 T16 in the ERC. Also, the level was high, I’d never driven an R2 car before and every rally there was pressure because if I didn’t do my job I knew it would be difficult to continue. But I am back doing six rallies in the ERC, which is very good with Eurosport promoting it. Also, I have a brand-new car and although we don’t quite know where we stand at the moment it’s very exciting.”


You mentioned the car, what do you think of your new Peugeot 208 T16?


“We did some testing together with Craig and we worked well together. I appreciate him as a driver and as a friend. When we compare things we try different things and combine the knowledge to set up the car well. I haven’t been driving the car yet on asphalt but we will do a test before the rally and every metre is welcome, because the speed difference compared to the R2 is really huge. I can adapt to a new car quite easily but the difference in speed to adapt the pacenotes is the most difficult thing.”


And you will have a new co-driver in Sebastian Marshall to read your pacenotes…


“I wanted to switch to English pacenotes and I think he’s the right guy. I trust him and we get along well. Not only is it a new car, it’s a new co-driver as well but we need to start somewhere. We just need to focus on ourselves and find the rhythm to do well in the future.”


The Acropolis Rally has a reputation for being a tough event. Do you agree?


“The good thing is at least the Tarmac on the first day is new for everyone. As we have seen before when I was in the JWRC in Ireland and Poland when the rally was all new, I set the fastest times on nearly every stage. Okay, this will be different now because the R5 is really new for me. The rally will be rough when it goes to gravel and you wait for the big stones. It’s about surviving but the cars won’t be weak.”


What do you look to achieve in Greece?


“It will be hard to keep up with the pace of the fastest drivers from the beginning because I won’t have the rhythm, and that’s because I haven’t been driving a four-wheel-drive car for at least a year. I just want to show the potential of the car throughout the rally and the potential of myself. It’s hard to say where we will stand against the others and particularly the Regional Rally Car of Bryan Bouffier.” 

Kevin Abbring