Hyundai Motorsport customer results round-up bulletin
The i30 N TCR scored a race win on its debut in TCR Russia, as well a great double in the first TCR Europe weekend of the year and a 1-2 in difficult conditions in FIA WTCR competition at the Hungaroring. Meanwhile, there were a clutch of victories for i20 R5 crews across Europe, including a dominant win in Slovenia and a second consecutive success in the British championship.
- Teammates Gabriele Tarquini and Norbert Michelisz took a Hyundai i30 N TCR 1-2 from Race 3 of the FIA WTCR Race of Hungary at the Hungaroring
- The TCR Europe season began with Target Competition drivers Mat’o Homola and Josh Files leading an all Hyundai podium in the opening race
- Victory on the Pirelli International Rally gave Tom Cave a second consecutive British Rally Championship win and led a Hyunda i20 R5 1-3 completed by Jari Huttunen in third.
1-2 ends Race of Hungary weekend on a high
Repeating their result from a year ago Gabriele Tarquini and Norbert Michelisz finished first and second in Race 3 of the FIA WTCR weekend at the Hungaroring (April 26-28). The result was a welcome relief at the end of a difficult event for the Hyundai customers in the extremely competitive series.
A hard fought ninth place was the best the i30 N TCR drivers could gain from Race 1. BRC Hyundai N Lukoil Racing Team’s Augusto Farfus taking those points, as Michelisz and Tarquini collected only minor points in tenth and 13th respectively.
Sunday appeared to mark a change in fortune for the team. Farfus missed out on progressing into Q3 by two-hundredths of a second while the BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse pair of Michelisz and Tarquini would make it through to the final part of the session, Michelisz taking pole position for Race 3 at his home event.
Light rain complicated matters in both races. Placed in the back half of the top ten by the grid reversal for Race 2 both Squadra Corse drivers were forced to retire, the left-front damage to Tarquini’s car a direct result of the contact as the entire field scrambled for grip on the combination of slick tyres and a wet track.
Farfus, too, was a victim of contact and had to carry a damaged car through the race to finish ninth, one place ahead of his teammate Nicky Catsburg.
At the start of Race 3 Tarquini got ahead of Michelisz and then the pair moved to the front and began to pull away, only to have to withstand a renewed challenge following a safety car period. The positive end to the weekend was completed as Farfus and Catsburg both finished inside the top ten to score good points after a tough meeting.
TCR Europe season begins with all Hyundai Race 1 podium
Four i30 N TCR took the podium on the first weekend of the TCR Europe season at the Hungaroring (April 27-28). On a 37 car grid that combined the series with the new TCR Easter Europe competition 10 drivers began their full season campaigns in with Hyundai customer teams.
The quality of teams and drivers more than matched the quantity of i30 N TCR in the series, a fact that was shown without doubt when Hyundai cars filled out the first two rows in qualifying. Furthermore each of the top four was in their first race weekend with the i30 N TCR. Mat’o Homola and Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Junior Driver Andreas Bäckman made up an all-Target Competition front row with M Racing man – and TCR debutant – Nelson Panciatici third ahead of Josh Files, in another Target run machine.
Homola converted his pole into a Race 1 victory with Files moving into second in front of Panciatici who set the fastest lap to go with his third place as eight Hyundai finished in the top-15 to score points.
Race 2 brought a different set of challenges – slick tyres on a damp track and a reversed grid. Hyundai Motorsport Customer racing Junior Driver Dániel Nagy leapt into the lead at the start and was able to initially break away. However, as conditions worsened the Hungarian dropped back to third, his podium finish allowing the home fans at the circuit to find their voice.
Dušan Borković and Panciatici finished fourth and fifth. Files finished an incredible eighth despite starting from the pitlane and Luca Engstler, who started last on the grid after a qualifying off, scored points in 12th.
Hyundai takes race win on debut weekend in TCR Russia
The new TCR Russia season began at the Fort Grozny circuit (April 20-21), with the i30 N TCR part of the field for the first time. Starting his second year in the championship Ivan Lukashevich qualified an impressive third fastest for the opening race. However, a drive-through penalty ended his chase for points. The second Hyundai, driven by defending champion Dmitry Bragin, recovered brilliantly after a spin on the opening lap to claim sixth position. As well as climbing up the order he was also able to claim the fastest lap.
For Bragin Race 2 was a simpler, and more successful, encounter. From second on the grid he took the lead before the opening corner, and led every lap to claim victory by more than two seconds. Lukashevich started the race from twelfth place and was able to move up to eighth place despite being caught up in mid-pack contact on lap one.
TCR Germany season starts with podiums for i30 N TCR teams
i30 N TCR customers enjoyed a strong start to the TCR Germany season at Oscherseleben (April 26-28). Reigning rookie champion Max Hesse took pole position on his debut in the car with Hyundai Team Engstler, while Hari Proczyk – another new man to the Hyundai – lined up third.
His car sporting the #1 after his series win last year Proczyk began his championship defense with third in Race 1. Hesse meanwhile fended off challenges for his lead well for the opening laps but was eventually overtaken to finish in second place.
Guido Naumann started Race 2 from pole driving the ‘VIP Car’ that will be piloted by Gabriele Tarquini and Thierry Neuville at events later in the season. However the racer-journalist was quickly passed by the series regulars. Starting from tenth Proczyk made excellent progress to put himself in the middle of an i30 N TCR battle with Hesse and Théo Coicaud in the second Hyundai Team Engstler entry. The Frenchman would fall back in the late laps but Hesse made his second visit to the podium of the weekend, promoted to the spot after stewards handed out a post-race penalty. As a result Hyundai Germany supported driver Hesse leads the Hyundai runners in the early championship points in second place with Proczyk fourth. Their respective teammates – Coicaud and Lukas Niedertscheider – sit sixth and seventh in the standings.
i20 R5 drivers take maiden overall victories
Two i20 R5 drivers scored their first overall victories with the car on the same weekend. In Madeira Miguel Nunes was part of a close three-way battle for the lead on the Rali do Marítimo (April 12-13). However, a decisive move to on the final loop, which he began with a stage win, lifted him clear of his rivals.
Only weeks after scoring a first national championship win in his i20 R5 Bob de Jong continued his strong start to the year in the Netherlands with overall victory on the Visual Art Rally (April 13). Running with co-driver Kees Hagman de Jong won the opening stage to place himself in an early lead he would never give up. The pair set a further five top times to control the pace at the front of the rally and take the honour of standing on the top step of the podium.
|Hungarian crews reap rewards for consistent runs|
The Hungarian crew of Ádám Velenczei and Csaba Szedő returned to their national championship for a second season in Korda Racing’s i20 R5. A consistent run through the stages of the Eger Rallye (March 23-25) gave the pair a fifth place finish to begin their season. Lovász Pál, aboard his own LPWM Sport entered i20 R5, made a similarly consistent start to the season, finishing in 14th overall.
Pál was back in competition in Austria at the Lavanttal Rallye (April 7-8), the second round of the Mitropa Cup competition, as well as the third event of the domestic championship. Alongside Tamás Kürti he narrowly missed out on a top-ten overall to finish fourth in the Cup competition that includes rallies across central Europe.
Dominant 1-2 for Hyundai Slovenia supported team
Team Hyundai Slovenia recorded a superb 1-2 at the Rally Vipavska dolina (April 26-27) – the opening round of the national championship. After converting to the i20 R5 over the winter months defending champion Rok Turk took his first victory in a Hyundai.
Though he and Blanka Kacin took the overall win in dominant fashion, with 90 seconds in hand over their teammates, they had to recover from a puncture that cost them nearly a minute. However, such was their performance on the event that the disadvantage was only fleeting as they retook the lead by setting the best time on the following run. In total they won eight of the ten stages on the rally.
Italian Claudio de Cecco completed the excellent showing for the Hyundai Slovenia-backed team by finishing second, the pair of i20 R5 reaching the end of the rally nearly a minute ahead of their nearest rivals.
Hyundai customers competitive to start Polish championship season
Six i20 R5 customers took the start of the Rally Świdnicki Krause (April 26-28) to begin the Polish national championship. The Hyundai contingent was led throughout by Łukasz Byśkiniewicz who began his challenge with second place on the opening test., a result he repeated on SS3, the event’s second visit to the city stage at rally’s Świdnica base.
Byśkiniewicz and co-driver Zbigniew Cieślar ended the rally fourth, narrowly missing out on a deserved podium sport to lead three Hyundai in top ten; the trio completed by Hyundai Kowax Racing’s Jacek Jurecki in seventh and Maciej Lubiak in ninth overall.
Hyundai trio take top ten finishes in France…
Three i20 R5 finished in the top ten overall on the Rallye Lyon-Charbonnières (April 19-20), the second round of the French tarmac season. Sarrazin Motorsport pairing Quentin Giordano and Kévin Parent were best of the trio. With one stage win to their name the pair finished fourth overall.
Hyundai debutant Raphaël Astier took his Onyx Racing prepared car to eighth overall – a result that also left him sixth of the R5 runners and on the podium for the Amateur Trophy class. In tenth overall Jordan Berfa made his return to the stages in the Turbo ABP Competition run i20 R5 to take eighth place in the R5 category.
…and on Ulster tarmac too.
There were also three i20 R5 in the top overall at the end of the UAC Easter Stages (April 19-20), the third round of the Irish tarmac championship. A consistent run put Welsh driver Meirion Evans in seventh overall. Likewise a trouble free run gave Manus Kelly his best result of the season far in ninth and Alan Carmichael completed the top ten.
Hyundai Motorsport Team Director Andrea Adamo said: “The recent weekends have been extremely successful for our customers with both the Hyundai i20 R5 and Hyundai i30 N TCR. Hyundai crews are now a constant presence at the front of national rallies, and with victories in the UK and Slovenia we have two more crews at the top of their championship standings. It is exciting to see so many Hyundai on track in TCR Europe and for new drivers to both the Hyundai, and sometimes all Touring Car racing, able to take good results. With the podiums in TCR Germany and the race wins in WTCR, TCR Europe and TCR Russia our customers have shown that the great performance the i30 N TCR showed last year continues in 2019.”