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Hayden Paddon takes Rally Argentina victory

  • Hyundai Motorsport has secured the first win for its New Generation i20 WRC after a dominant Power Stage for Hayden Paddon and John Kennard today
  • Dani Sordo took second in the Power Stage to claim two extra points and take fourth overall, equalling his best result of the season so far
  • Thierry Neuville claimed a top-six finish to allow Hyundai Motorsport to increase its Manufacturers’ Championship points total to 81.

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26 April 2016 - Hyundai Motorsport has taken its second ever victory in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) on a thrilling final day in Argentina, round four of the 2016 season.
 
The Kiwi crew of Hayden Paddon and John Kennard, who have been among the quickest crews all weekend, produced a sensational Power Stage performance to eclipse hard-pushing Sébastien Ogier and claim outright victory by 14.3 seconds.
 
The result not only marks Paddon’s debut WRC win, but also the maiden victory for Hyundai Motorsport’s New Generation i20 WRC in only its fourth outing. It also continues the team’s most competitive start to a WRC season in its short history adding a third podium and cementing Hyundai Motorsport’s second place in the Manufacturers’ Championship.  
 
Paddon (#20 New Generation i20 WRC) saw his 29.8s lead from Saturday night reduced to just 2.6s after a tough two stages in SS16 (El Condor - Copina) and SS17 (Mina Clavero - Giulio Cesare). The foggy conditions in the opening stage forced drivers to take a cautious approach but despite the mounting pressure, the Kiwi crew dug deep to produce the stage performance of the weekend in the repeat of El Condor. Maximum points for the Hyundai Mobis World Rally Team also sees Paddon move up into second in the Drivers’ Championship.
 
Paddon commented: “I can’t believe it! I really didn’t think we were going to be able to hang on. It all came down to the Power Stage and we pushed really hard. It was particularly special to pull out that performance on El Condor. We’ve worked a lot on that stage because I’ve not been particularly strong on the tight and twisty stages. We drove the wheels off the car. It’s a lot to take in at the moment. It’s a fantastic result for me, John and the whole team. A huge amount of work has gone into the New Generation i20 WRC. I knew from the first test that we could win with it. I just didn’t quite expect it to be so soon. Everyone in the team, at the rallies and at Alzenau, thoroughly deserves this result. I am sure it’s the start of a lot more to come! I am thankful for everyone who has supported us back home in NZ and for all the positive messages we’ve received this weekend.”   
 
Sordo (#4 New Generation i20 WRC) and co-driver Marc Martí registered an excellent second place in the Power Stage today to cement fourth-place overall. Scoring points for the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team and two Power Stage points for themselves is a great result - especially after throttle problems on Friday hindered their podium push.
 
Sordo said: “Today is a great day for our team with a special win for Hayden and all three of our New Generation i20 WRC cars finishing inside the top-six. We got the maximum out of the car this weekend and can be pleased with our performance. The issues we had with the stuck throttle pedal on Friday lost us around 20 seconds. Without that, I am sure we would have been able to take a podium. Still, we have shown encouraging competitiveness and have taken some very important points for the team. We also had a good push in the Power Stage to add two extra points, which was a good feeling. The car has improved a lot and this rally will give us more impetus to continue our strong start to 2016 in Portugal.”
 
The objective for Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul (#3 New Generation i20 WRC) today was to continue regaining positions on the classification after their technical difficulties on Friday. The Belgian duo built on a solid Saturday to make it safely through today’s final three stages to complete Rally Argentina in sixth place overall.
 
Neuville commented: “First of all, congratulations to Hayden, John and everyone in the team on a great victory. It is important for all of us to know what the New Generation i20 WRC can achieve – and I think myself and Nicolas also had some promising stages this weekend. The electrical issues we had on Friday meant we were on a mission to regain lost positions yesterday. We started this morning knowing that the top-six was reachable but the conditions in the first stage were very difficult. We took things carefully to make sure we achieved our target and we’ve scored some good points for the Championship. I now look forward to building on this for Rally de Portugal.”
 

Today’s victory continues Hyundai Motorsport’s impressive start to the 2016 WRC season after podiums in Monte-Carlo and Sweden, and fourth in Mexico. It is the team’s first win since Rallye Deutschland in 2014 and this afternoon’s Power Stage performance underlines the potential that the New Generation i20 WRC has on a level playing field against its rivals.  
 
Team Principal Michel Nandan said: “This is a rally weekend that we will never forget! Hayden has put in the performance of his career to take one of the most popular victories we’ve seen in WRC in recent times. His pace and commitment in the Power Stage was impressive; he and John both deserve this win. It’s fantastic for all of us at Hyundai Motorsport. It is our second win in WRC but the first with our New Generation i20 WRC in only its fourth event. We’ve worked so hard on this car so to see the fruit of our work is very special. All our drivers and team members can share in this moment. Dani and Thierry also fought hard to overcome a few difficulties this weekend to score crucial Championship points. We have never had a one-two in the Power Stage before, so that was just the icing on the cake. While we will enjoy this moment, we know there is more to do so we will continue to push development of the New Generation i20 WRC. Portugal is next with a new set of demands and challenges.”
 
The fifth round of the FIA World Rally Championship, Rally de Portugal, takes place 19-22 May. 
 

Rally Argentina Overall Final Classification
1. H. Paddon / J. Kennard (Hyundai New Generation i20 WRC) 2:54:45.6
2. S. Ogier / J. Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +14.3
3. A. Mikkelsen / A. Jaeger (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +1:05.2
4. D. Sordo / M. Martí (Hyundai New Generation i20 WRC) +1:17.1
5. M. Østberg / O. Floene (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +4:56.7
6. T. Neuville / N. Gilsoul (Hyundai New Generation i20 WRC) +9:29.5
7. M. Ligato / R. Garcia (Citroën DS3 WRC) +9:39.2
8. E. Camilli / B. Veillas (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +10:16.0
9. H. Solberg / I. Minor (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +10:48.5
10. N. Fuchs / F. Mussano (Škoda Fabia R5) +24:42.8

2016 FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers’ Standings
 S. Ogier 96 points / H. Paddon 57 / M. Østberg 52 /  A. Mikkelsen 48 / D. Sordo 44 / J. M. Latvala 27 / O. Tanak 24  / T. Neuville 23/ S. Lefebvre 10 / H. Solberg 8 / M. Prokop 6 / E. Evans 6 / M. Ligato 6 / C. Breen 4 / L. Bertelli 4 / E. Camilli 4 / T. Suninen 3 / E. Lappi 2 / A. Kremer 1 / K. Meeke 1 / V. Gorban 1 / N. Fuchs 1
 
2016 FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers’ Standings
 Volkswagen Motorsport  117 points / Hyundai Motorsport 81 / M-Sport World Rally Team 62  / Hyundai Motorsport N 49 / Volkswagen Motorsport II 45 / DMACK World Rally Team 30 / Jipocar Czech National Team 6

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