HYUNDAI Motorsport is celebrating its maiden WRC manufacturers’ title following the cancellation of this week’s Kennards Hire Rally Australia.
The Korean squad ended last month’s penultimate round in Spain with an 18-point lead over defending champions Toyota Gazoo Racing to secure the crown following the decision to cancel the finale due to severe bushfires.
Lead driver Thierry Neuville spearheaded Hyundai’s campaign with three victories in its i20 World Rally Car. The Belgian was supported by Andreas Mikkelsen, Dani Sordo, Sébastien Loeb and Craig Breen as the team’s rotation policy proved a winning formula.
Hyundai Motorsport president Scott Noh admitted to mixed feelings between the joy of lifting the title and concern for residents around Rally Australia’s host town of Coffs Harbour.
“First of all our thoughts are with all those affected by the devastating bushfires in the New South Wales region of Australia and elsewhere,” he said.
“We are immensely proud to secure our first ever FIA World Rally Championship manufacturers’ title after a highly competitive season against tough opposition.
“Since the establishment of Hyundai Motorsport in 2012, we have built up a dedicated team at our factory in Alzenau, who have worked tirelessly to achieve this goal.
“This is a collective achievement, one that we will share with the Hyundai family around the world. We hope, too, that it will be the first title of many more to come in the future.”
The title came in team director Andrea Adamo’s first season at the helm and he paid tribute to the hard work from everyone in the squad.
“This season has been incredibly tough and competitive. For sure we wished we could have fought until the end but we can all be proud of all our individual achievements as team members to make this a great collective win.
“I would like to personally thank everyone at Hyundai Motorsport and all our crews who gave their full dedication from Rallye Monte-Carlo until now,” he said.