The Hyundai Shell World Rally Team will contest the remainder of Rally Sweden under Rally 2 regulations tomorrow (Saturday), after the team’s technicians had to work on both Hyundai i20 WRC cars following incidents during the day.
Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul struck a rock just after halfway through this morning’s opening 15 km Lesjöfors stage. The crew carried out repairs on the stage but, together with the team, the Belgian duo decided not to run any risks. Instead, the car was brought back to service for repairs ahead of Saturday’s final stages under the Rally 2 regulations.
Neuville said: “It has definitely been a disappointing day following our positive start to the rally. We started the first stage this morning in high spirits but unfortunately in the second half of the stage we had a small impact on the front right, probably from a rock, which damaged part of the suspension. It didn’t cause a lot of damage and we tried to fix it but we lost too much time. We decided with the team it was best not to risk anything and instead focus on repairing the car for tomorrow. Things like this happen and it’s another part of the learning programme. Tomorrow, we will be going out on the road first so it will be tricky, cleaning the roads, but it is important for us to accumulate more mileage with these still young Hyundai i20 WRC cars.”
Juho Hänninen and Tomi Tuominen) will also restart on Saturday morning after the car hit something in the road in SS12 (the repeat Lesjöfors stage), which damaged the front right wheel and sent him into a snow bank.
Hänninen said: “We had a good morning and I felt very happy and comfortable in the car. We set some good stage times and worked our way up into the top six overall by lunchtime. There was nothing to improve in the car or with the tyres, everything was positive. When we started the repeat loop the conditions were very difficult with not so much snow on the road. About halfway through the stage I made contact with something in the road which damaged the front right wheel and we went hard into a snow bank.”