Hyundai Motorsport customer results round-up bulletin
- Sébastien Loeb Racing clinched the first title for the Elantra N TCR, as they sealed the TCR Europe teams’ championship at the season finale in Barcelona
- i30 N TCR driver Antti Buri took the TCR Italy crown after a dramatic pair of races at Mugello, with his Target Competition team completing the double as teams’ champions
- Overall victory on Rally Poreč wrapped up a third Slovenian national rally title at the wheel of an i20 R5 for Hyundai Slovenia-backed driver Rok Turk.
With the critical final events of many TCR and rally series now taking place Hyundai customers have already claimed drivers’ and teams’ titles as reward for their strong performances with Alzenau, Germany-built cars. Still more continue their chase of end-of-season success with their latest results only increasing their chances of ending the year with a celebration.
TCR Europe season ends on a high with first title for Elantra N TCR
Sébastien Loeb Racing secured the first championship win for the Elantra N TCR by clinching the TCR Europe teams’ crown at the series’ finale at Barcelona (October 8-10). The title was confirmed at Race 1 of the weekend thanks to Sami Taoufik’s excellent third place and Niels Langeveld’s sixth. The consistency that has helped them to the championship was underlined in Race 2 when two of their four Elantra N TCR finished in the top four with Mehdi Bennani closing the season with a podium in second place.
The weekend also ended on a strong point for i30 N TCR team Janík Motorsport whose drivers, Maťo Homola and Jachym Galáš, both finished in the top ten in the finale in sixth and seventh – Customer Racing Junior Driver Galáš ahead of his more experienced Slovakian teammate.
i30 N TCR driver take the headlines and titles from TCR Italy finale
Hyundai customers dominated the finale weekend of the TCR Italy season at Mugello (October 8-10) where three i30 N TCR drivers were among five men who started the meeting with a chance of taking the title.
The perfect combination of pole position and Race 1 victory put Target Competition’s Antti Buri ahead going into the finale. However, his eighth placed starting position immediately put him at a disadvantage in Race 2 – most notably against Aggressive Italia i30 N TCR driver Kevin Ceccon. Only in the final laps did the identity of the champion become clear. Buri battled up to second place to protect the lead he had built in Race 1, though ultimately only a single point split him and Ceccon, who finished his first campaign as a Hyundai customer with a fourth win of the season.
Nicola Baldan, in a second Target Competition Hyundai, finished the championship fourth in the points’ standings – he and Buri having delivered the teams’ title for the squad to add to the drivers’ crown.
Michelisz delivers third WTCR race win for the Elantra N TCR
Norbert Michelisz gave the Elantra N TCR a third win of the WTCR - FIA World Touring Car Cup season at the Race of Czech Republic weekend at Most (October 8-10). The Hungarian qualified on the front row and took the lead through the first sequence of the corners and was never headed, as he went on to take his first win of 2021 in the BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squarda Corse-entered car.
Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team drivers Jean-Karl Vernay and Luca Engstler scored a top ten apiece over the weekend. Vernay picked up sixth from Race 1, with Engstler finishing seventh in Race 2 despite starting from the final row of the grid.
Podiums for Hyundai Deutschland team provide Sachsenring highlights
Drivers with the Hyundai Deutschland-supported Hyundai Team Engstler picked up a trio of TCR Germany podiums at the series’ latest weekend at the Sachsenring (October 1-3). In Race 1 Martin Andersen equaled his best performance of the season in taking second place. The Dane would come home fourth in Race 2 behind teammates Luca Engstler and Nico Gruber in second and third respectively.
Engstler’s result helped him retain the championship with two weekends remaining on the schedule, while for Gruber the trip to podium completed another double victory in the Junior class. Likewise, Roland Hertner won the Trophy class in both races, building an advantage in the class points large enough to see him confirmed as champion.
Away from the Engstler-run quartet Patrick Sing led home the Hyundai customers in Race 1 in fourth to match his career-best finish. Robin Jahr made it four i30 N TCR in the top five in Race 2, finishing fifth in his ROJA Motorsport by ASL Lichtblau entered car.
Hyundai customers take double podium from latest IMSA event
Stephen Simpson and Michael Johnson combined for their first IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge podium since the season opener, finishing second in their Veloster N TCR at the two-hour contest at VIRginia International Raceway (October 8-10). The pair, running under the name of Johnson’s eponymous team, led a string of Hyundai teams across the line
The Bryan Herta Autosport Elantra N TCR of Mark Wilkins and Harry Gottsacker completed the class podium, ahead of Copeland Motorsports’ Customer Racing Junior Driver pairing of Tyler Gonzalez and Tyler Maxson. Gottsacker had qualified his #33 car on pole, but it was the fast starting Gonzalez who led the opening laps.
Championship leaders Tayler Hagler and Michael Lewis completed the four Hyundai in the top five in the Bryan Herta Autosport Veloster N TCR and so will start the final race of the season at Road Atlanta in the championship lead.
Strong qualifying converted into podium finish in TCR Russia
Andrey Maslennikov claimed second position in Race 1 of the TCR Russia meeting at Fort Grozny (October 8-9) in his LUKOIL Racing Team i30 N TCR. The weekend started very promisingly for the Hyundai customers. Zakhar Slutskiy claimed his first pole position in the series to lead an i30 N TCR 1-2-3 ahead of the LUKOIL pair Ivan Lukashevich and Masslennikov.
Unfortunately, Maslennikov was the only one to convert this into a podium finish after Slutskiy and Lukashevich were both penalized after the race and demoted from first and second.
Lukashevich bounced back in Race 2 to finish as the best of the six i30 N TCR in the field in sixth, immediately ahead of Maslennikov and Carville Racing driver Slutskiy.
Team and driver challenge podium on i30 N TCR race debut
On their competitive debuts with the i30 N TCR driver Rodrigo Pflucker and the Peru Racing Team showed great pace in TCR South America at the El Pinar circuit in Uruguay (October 2-3). Despite a puncture late in the session Pflucker qualified on the front row, and held onto a podium position for much of the opening race – only falling back as tyre wear took its toll.
Happily, he rebounded in Race 2. After starting ninth he made his way through the field to again challenge for the podium positions and finish fourth.
Huttunen takes home event WRC2 podium with i20 N Rally2
Jari Huttunen completed the WRC2 class podium on Rally Finland (September 30-October 3) to add another trophy to those collected by i20 N Rally2 drivers in the cars first months of competition. The Finn topped the class on the Harju Super Special Stage that closed out the Saturday action, and was also consistent on the famously fast gravel roads – avoiding mistakes as he and co-driver Mikko Lukka bought the car home in 11th overall.
The event also hosted a pair of i20 R5 in the WRC3 category. Finnish championship regular Riku Tahko finished fifth in class, with Kowax 2Brally driver Martin Vlček eighth in class on only his second start on a gravel rally.
i20 N Rally2 and i20 R5 teams both show strong pace in Portugal
In his first event with the i20 N Rally2 Team Hyundai Portugal driver Bruno Magalhães finished an impressive fourth on Rally Serras de Fafe e Felgueiras (October 1-3). The rally bought together the FIA European Rally Championship field and the runners in the Portuguese championship. Among the competitors in the national series he finished second, having never set a time outside of the top three in the championship.
There was also great pace from Dani Sordo in the Team MRF Tyres i20 R5. With co-driver Cándido Carrera he was fastest on three consecutive stages in wet and slippery conditions as he led overall. He was taken out of contention for the win by a crash, but returned to the action on Sunday – adding a further four top times to his tally. In his Hyundai Rally Team Italia i20 R5 Umberto Scandola also had top-ten pace, but was unable to claim a final result to match – retiring after hitting a rock in the road on day one.
Hyundai Slovenia i20 R5 crew clinch national title as they continue their perfect season
Overall victory on Rally Poreč (October 1-2) continued Rok Turk and Viljem Ošlaj’s perfect record in the Slovenian rally championship this season. The Hyundai Slovenia-supported pair have now taken their i20 R5 to victory on all five of the events so far this year.
Another controlled performance at the Croatia-based event saw them win four stages on their way to win by 13.6 seconds overall.
More importantly the result confirmed the duo as 2021 champions with one event still left on the calendar later on October, marking Turk’s third national crown as a Hyundai customer with the Italian Friulmotor team.
Combination of pace, consistency and reliability results in Dutch victory
Driver Bob de Jong won overall on the ELE Rally (October 9) after leading for the duration of the event in his i20 R5. Victory on the opening stage put him ahead and an excellent mix of pace – another three top times would follow – consistency and reliability kept him ahead of his would-be rivals. As crews behind began to lose ground to mistakes and problems de Jong and co-driver Bjorn Degandt were able to start to pull away at the top of the order for their second win in three starts in this season’s Dutch championship.
Ares adds another gravel podium to impressive 2021 results
Hyundai España-supported driver Iván Ares added second place at the Rallye de Tierra de Madrid (October 8-9) gravel event to his list of strong recent results in the Spanish Superchampionship. An experienced driver on tarmac Ares continues to improve on the loose surface, and was consistent throughout the rally – first earning, and then protecting his spot on the podium to claim a fifth top-three finish in his 2021 campaign.
Surhayen Pernía took his i20 R5 to sixth position overall, after a similarly consistent run on the stages.
i20 R5 show excellent pace for class win on Estonian event
RedGrey Team i20 R5 driver Ken Torn finished second overall, and won his class on Rally Saaremaa (October 8-9). Over the Estonian national championship event’s 14 stages he and co-driver Kauri Pannas were never outside of the top-three times overall. On four occasions they were the fastest in class, and was quickest outright on another two, beating not only the other crews in RC2-spec machinery, but also the eventual overall winners in a former WRC car.
Two more i20 R5 in the class’ top ten were provided by Kowax 2Brally driver Mikołaj Kempa in sixth and Russia Radik Shaymiev in the second of the RedGrey Hyundai at the event.
Junior Driver takes Belgian podium to continue strong national form
Customer Racing Junior Driver Grégoire Munster continued his excellent recent form at the Rallye de Wallonie (October 8-9) by claiming the runner-up spot on the two-day event after a close battle for the win. Competing against more experienced local crews Munster and co-driver Louis Louka started their weekend with the best time on one of the two runs through the Friday evening Super Special to claim the lead into the overnight haitus.
Though he slipped back to second on Saturday’s opening stage he held the position throughout the rally and maintained pressure on the leading crew. With greater familiarity of the roads on the day’s second and third loops Munster won four tests to close to just 4.7 seconds off the lead. He maintained his form as the contest finished in darkness to secure the podium finish to keep up his challenge for the national title.
Podium in final event caps strong i20 R5 debut season for Danish driver
Simon Vallentin Hansen finished his debut season with the i20 R5 with a third place on the final round of the Danish rally championship – Rally Naturens Rige (October 8-9). The Kowax 2Brally-run driver won four of the eight stages on the event on his way to a podium that confirmed him in third place in the championship standings. His pace represented another step forward in an impressive 2021 campaign where he finished on the class podium three times and scored more Power Stage wins than any other competitor in the series.
Sarrazin Motorsport trio take top tens on French gravel event
All three i20 R5 crews on the gravel roads of Rallye Terre des Cardabelles - Millau – Aveyron (October 9-10) finished in the overall top ten. Of the trio, all run by Sarrazin Motorsport, it was François-Xavier Blanc who enjoyed the best run on the gravel event. Alongside co-driver Romain Garel he won a pair of stages to finish fourth overall in his first start with the i20 R5 this season.
Behind Benjamin Clemençon and Jean-Marc Manzagol finished seventh and tenth overall respectively overall after showing consistent pace on the stages.
Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Manager Andrew Johns said: “Being able to congratulate teams and drivers on their championship wins is one of the most enjoyable parts of working in the Customer Racing department. The titles in both TCR Europe and TCR Italy are the perfect reward for a year of effort by all involved, and the most visible proof of the performance and reliability of both the Elantra N TCR and i30 N TCR. The same is, obviously, true of our rallying customers. Rok Turk has taken the i20 R5 to another dominant championship in Slovenia, confirmed with another very strong run on Rally Poreč. With great results by customers elsewhere in recent weeks I am certain we will have more reasons to cheer before the end of the year.”