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Terça, 13 Março 2018 11:40 | Actualizado em Terça, 26 Março 2019 22:12

Hyundai Motorsport customer results round-up bulletin
  • The i30 N TCR made its first competitive start of 2018, with Team Hyundai Denmark at the Silverstone 24H endurance race
  • Hyundai Paraguay supported driver Diego Dominguez took victory at the Rally del Guairá by nearly five minutes to open his national championship season in perfect fashion
  • Using the Rallye de A Coruña to complete final preparations for the Spanish tarmac championship season Iván Ares scored his first victory of 2018 in his i20 R5.
Alzenau, Germany
March 12, 2018 – Hyundai Motorsport’s first customers for circuit racing joined established i20 R5 rally teams in beginning their 2018 seasons, with the motorsport year now bursting into life around the world.
Danish customers give the i30 N TCR its 2018 debut
Silverstone in the UK played host to the first competitive outing of an i30 N TCR this season. Team Hyundai Denmark’s five-man driver line-up took on the considerable challenge of the Silverstone 24H (March 8-11), part of the Touring Car Endurance Series. The team had only been able to carry out minimal running before arriving at the circuit, and so approached the weekend as an extension of their testing as they make the move up to the TCR category.
Their task was further complicated by the treacherous conditions over the weekend, which brought low temperatures and heavy rain to the Northamptonshire venue. Despite this the Hyundai Denmark supported team – made up of drivers Jan Engelbrecht, Soren Jönsson, Jacob Kristensen, Per Poulsen and Niels Nyboe – were on the pace in every session. They led one of the opening practices before going on to set the fourth fastest lap in the TCR class in the best of the race conditions.
Hyundai Team Denmark - Silverstone 24H
Hyundai Team Denmark - Silverstone 24H
Tests and presentations as final preparations continue
A few days earlier British driver Lewis Kent was at the same track, as part of the official test day for the TCR UK series. Kent is stepping up into TCR-specification competition as one of the first drivers to sign up for the new championship. A single day of running at the circuit gave him the chance to add to the testing mileage he has already gained in the car, as well as to show off his freshly wrapped car ahead of the first round of the championship, which is scheduled for the Easter weekend.
Away from the track BRC Racing Team presented a special event at the headquarters. The squad gathered together Gabriele Tarquini and Norbert Michelisz, their drivers for the upcoming FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) season, as well the drivers who will take on the TCR Italy championship to unveil the liveries their i30 N TCR will carry this year. Not only that but young French driver Pierre-Louis Loubet, launched his 2018 program in the i20 R5, which will start with the Azores Rally later this month.
Lewis Kent - TCR UK Official Test (Image by James Roberts Photography)
Lewis Kent - TCR UK Official Test (Image by James Roberts Photography)
Perfect starts in Paraguay and Spain, podium in Italy
Diego Dominguez and Edgardo Galindo got their Paraguayan national championship campaign off to the perfect start at the Rally del Guairá (February 23-25). The pair, who are backed by Hyundai Paraguay, won one stage on the opening day in the i20 R5. However, more importantly, they were able to run at the front of the event more comfortably than their rivals. That showed as a number of the top crews fell out of contention, leaving the Hyundai team far out in front. A controlled performance on the second day resulted in a dominant overall win, finishing the rally with a margin of nearly five minutes over their closest challenger, both overall and in the R5 category. 
Preparing for the season as defending national champion Iván Ares made his final preparations at the Rallye de A Coruña (23-25 February). Despite a full entry list, including crews fielding both R5, and nationally homologated N5 machinery, Ares and regular co-driver José Pintor eased to a first victory of 2018. They won six of the rally’s eight stages, once more proving the pace of the i20 R5 on Spanish tarmac ahead of the first round of the national season, which will take place on March 16-17.
Andrea Nucita finished second overall at the Rally Show Pavia (March 10-11) on his debut in the i20 R5. Running in a car run by Bernini Rally Nucita and Sara Cotone fought for the lead throughout, winning one stage as they pressured the overall leader across the two days of competition. However, they came up only 12 seconds short of victory at the close of the event.
Diego Dominguez - Rally del Guaira
Ivan Ares - Rallye de A Coruna
Speed in the snow
The Finnish national championship, meanwhile, has already passed its third round. The latest event, the SM-Itäralli (March 3), had both Rallybaron owned i20 R5 on the entry list. The rally, the last of three snow rallies to start the year in the series saw Jari Ketomaa continue his return to the series in one car, while Tapio Lauronen made his R5 debut in the other. After a fast start Ketomaa was forced into retirement in the early stages. Lauronen and co-driver Risto Pietiläinen completed the event without an issue, finishing just outside the top-ten overall.
The wintery conditions were more unexpected in Croatia for the Rally Kumrovec (March 2-3). Traditionally a tarmac rally the i20 R5 team of Szabolcs Várkonyi and Gergely Makai had to follow a road that was, happily, mostly cleared of snow. Running with Korda Racing the Hungarian pairing were using the weekend to prepare for their main focus this year, the Mitopa Cup. After a slow start, which put them outside the top-20 after the first of the four stages, the pair quickly climbed up the order, though the short duration of the event only gave them enough time to move up to seventh overall before the end.
Tapio Lauronen - SM-Itäralli
Szabolcs Varkonyi - Rally Kumrovec
Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Deputy General Manager Andre Adamo said: “The 2018 season is now well underway. We have our customers out on the rally stages with the i20 R5, taking victories at the start of their national seasons or making final preparations before their first rounds of their core 2018 championship. Of course, with the debut of the Danish team at Silverstone our i30 N TCR customers are also beginning their own campaigns on the circuit. The racing season will be starting in the next few weeks, and we have seen with the number of announcements, presentations and tests that our customers have made that they are set to begin the year in very good form.”  

About the Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing department
Hyundai Motorsport GmbH established its Customer Racing department in September 2015 with the aim of enhancing Hyundai’s motorsport image around the world – in parallel to its successful WRC programme. Following its debut the New Generation i20 R5 quickly proved popular with teams and drivers across Europe. The car is designed so that both professional and amateur drivers can compete in the full range of international, regional and national championships where R5-specification cars are eligible. In February 2017 the Hyundai Motorsport announced their second Customer Racing project, a car designed to the TCR regulations, which the Customer Racing department will oversee alongside continuing to support their existing clients.

Further information about Hyundai Motorsport is available at:
About Hyundai Motor
Established in 1967, Hyundai Motor Company is committed to becoming a lifetime partner in automobiles and beyond. The company, which leads the Hyundai Motor Group, an innovative business structure capable of circulating resources from molten iron to finished cars, offers top-quality best-sellers such as Elantra, Sonata and Genesis. Hyundai Motor has eight manufacturing bases and seven design & technical centers worldwide and in 2017, sold 4.5 million vehicles globally. With more than 100,000 employees worldwide, Hyundai Motor continues to enhance its product line-up with localized models and strives to strengthen its leadership in clean technology, starting with the world’s first mass-produced hydrogen-powered vehicle, ix35 Fuel Cell.

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