The Hyundai Shell World Rally Team celebrated a heroic 1–2 victory during the weekend in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). Thierry Neuville took the top spot with teammate Dani Sordo coming in second place.
This was the team’s ninth event, which makes the win that much more remarkable. Thursday’s shakedown saw a massive crash for team member Thierry Neuville and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul. The Hyundai i20 WRC car was completely rebuilt by the team who worked a lengthy 18-hour shift to get the car completed before race weekend. His first WRC win did not come easy, the Belgian fought hard all weekend to bring the Hyundai home for the win. Neuville said, “I am really happy for the entire Hyundai Shell World Rally Team and everyone back at the factory in Alzenau. Everyone has worked so hard in the past year to get us to where we are this season so to celebrate my debut WRC win with them is very special. It is even better that we have a 1–2 in our home event. I am particularly thankful for the team’s hard work this weekend. They did a fantastic job after our roll on Thursday to get the car repaired which makes this result more incredible. We have had three competitive days and we have been able to put the pressure on. Of course, it was a shame to see Jari-Matti (Latvala) and Kris (Meeke) retire this morning, but that reinforced the need for us to remain focused and concentrated. The conditions were very difficult so we had to take it steady to the end. It’s a great result and one which we will certainly never forget.”
Teammate Dani Sordo and co-driver Marc Mati were also competitive bringing home a second place finish to compliment the Hyundai team’s success. After aquaplaning into a spin on Saturday, Dani lost the chance of snatching the first-place spot on the podium. Sunday saw Dani drive like a true motorsport professional to defend his second place standing and secure a podium finish, his first this year. Sordo said, “This is a great result for the whole team and a testament to all the people who work so hard in the team and at the factory. To get our first 1–2 is fantastic. Normally, I would prefer to be the one scoring the win but I am happy with second and I am pleased for Thierry. It has been a tough rally so we were focused on getting to the finish safely. I have to say the team has really developed a lot since I was last competing, both in terms of the operations and the car performance. We can really use this result to continue our momentum and our learning in our first year.”
The Hyundai Shell World Rally Team is more than overjoyed with the 1–2 result, only nine years after the teams debut. With winning not on the agenda the team proved just how successful they can be, even this early on with what was meant to be a learning year. Team principal Michel Nandan said, “I feel a little bit like I am still dreaming. We could never imagine that coming here, in just our ninth WRC rally, that we would be celebrating a 1–2 result. It is quite remarkable and very special. It has been a busy weekend with some tough conditions and requiring everyone to be at the absolute top of their game. Our team has been absolutely first class and it is thanks to each of them — here and at Alzenau — that we have this result today. The drivers have been on competitive form since the first stage and they thoroughly deserve this. To see Thierry take his first win and Dani on the podium is wonderful. We wanted to use this year as a learning year and we won’t let this result carry us away. However, we have made continuous progress and our Hyundai i20 WRC is improving all the time. We benefitted from the unfortunate retirement of other drivers today but we were genuinely fighting for the podium and that reflects the progress we have made as a team. For now, we will enjoy the moment and thank everyone for their support of our young team.”
To check out the latest WRC updates, head to: wrc.com
It was an exciting day in the office last Friday when we got to crack open the first box of NZPC 214 fresh from the printers. Now don’t get us wrong, it’s always exciting to check out a new issue, but NZPC 214 meant that much more to the team as we have been slaving over the refreshed look for the past four months, and this was the first time we could see it all come together in print.
Emma Gilmour, New Zealand’s own talented Rallycross Championship contender missed out on the big time over the weekend of August 23.
Held at the Daytona International Speedway, which is close to double the length of the average Global Rallycross track, Emma placed fifth, one place lower than she needed to make it into the finals.
Although disappointing for Emma and the crew, the competition was immensely fierce, going up against drivers such as Joni Wiman, Sverre Isachsen, Scott Speed, and the international Gymkhana celebrity, Ken Block. “It was unfortunate that these guys hadn’t qualified earlier as they are all round winners and podium placers from previous rounds, so it made for a tough LCQ,” Emma says.
The Hyundai Veloster Emma was competing in was said to be more than up to the task, however a touch of bad luck was what ended the success. “I had to reverse and ended up last in the semi-final, which meant I was in the LCQ. That’s the nature of the beast though, sometimes you just need a bit of luck. The car speed was there, we just need to keep working on it.
“I am happy with the way I drove this weekend and enjoyed the racing. It’s just a bit frustrating to have not made the final.”
Team boss and racer Rhys Millen claimed his first Global Rallycross Championship win over the weekend. Rhys was also running a Hyundai Veloster and proved just how competitive the lightweight, turbocharged chassis can be.
The next Global Rallycross Championship round will take place September 20–21 in Los Angeles.
For more info on the series and to check results head to: redbullglobalrallycross.com
The state of competitive drifting in New Zealand, and indeed the world, is undergoing change as the gap grows between what made the sport so popular in the first place, its accessibility, and the competitive corporate world of competition. What was once a very blurred line is now growing into a very defined one. With the current top crop setting the pace of vehicle development at an astonishing rate, and those looking to get into the sport thinking they need a $150,000 vehicle to do so, it was a breath of fresh air to sit down with freshly-crowned D1NZ Pro-Am champion Vincent Langhorn, and find out that standing atop the Pro-Am podium is not all about keeping up with the Joneses.
The very laid-back and humble Vincent has competed for three seasons now, and after taking a second at Taupo in the 2012–2013 season, this time he saw two firsts, along with a string of high qualifying positions, to win the championship by four points. He was up against some stiff competition, and for the most part was doing it off his own back and out of his own wallet, building and maintaining his car in his parents’ shed.
We sat down with him to see what, if anything, will change heading into his rookie Pro championship season.
Nick and Peter from North Shore Toyota have organized two events for everyone in the automotive scene to take part in. The team’s previous events have always been a major hit and have received massive turnouts — these two will be no different.
Nick will be hosting the AltezzaClub track day down at Ricoh Taupo Motorsport Park, September 5. The club have allowed 35 cars to take part on the day, this ensures everybody gets the max amount of time possible out on the race track.
“Our annual track day is a yearly, non-competitive (although at the end of the day it tends to get that way) outing for beginners and seasoned racers to get out on the track and have some fun in a no-pressure environment. Anybody with any car can join, it isn’t strictly Altezzas on the day,” Nick tells us. With only 15 spaces left to be filled, get in quick. With members attending from all over the country, the track day is the highlight of the Altezza Annual Megameet. Last year was the club’s biggest turnout — the club went jetboating, quad biking and stretched the legs on their much-loved Altezzas.