Hyundai on top of podium again in Ypres Rally Belgium

Hyundai Motorsport has registered back-to-back wins in the 2022 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), with Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja securing a confident victory in Ypres Rally Belgium, the ninth round of the season.

The Estonian crew, which was also victorious in the previous round in Rally Finland, took over at the top of the timesheets following Thierry Neuville and Martijn Wydaeghe’s retirement from the lead on Saturday, and they pushed through Sunday’s four stages to claim the win by five seconds over Elfyn Evans.

Oliver Solberg and Elliott Edmondson secured their best-ever WRC result with a solid run to fourth place, having used the weekend as a valuable learning opportunity in the Hyundai i20 N Rally1. Their considered approach to the 20-stage rally paid dividends with their nearest rival, Adrien Fourmaux, retiring in the penultimate stage.

Neuville and Wydaeghe, meanwhile, salvaged three points from the Kemmelberg Power Stage having been on impressive pace throughout the weekend. The Belgian crew amassed eight stage wins in Ypres, as well as an allotted fastest time in SS10 on Saturday, underlining their form on home tarmac.

The Hyundai i20 N Rally1 car has now delivered three victories in 2022: On gravel in Sardinia and Finland, and now on tarmac in Belgium.

Crew Notes: Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja

Tänak said: “To win in Ypres is a big surprise for us, just as it was in Finland. We were somehow able to pull things together during the rally, even if I didn’t feel completely comfortable all the time. The speed was enough to maintain our position today and to keep a good rhythm right to the end; I’m very happy with what we’ve achieved.”  
 
Crew Notes: Oliver Solberg/Elliott Edmondson

Solberg said: “It is fantastic to have such a great result finally. We have come close many times, but it is nice to get the whole package working so strongly together. I didn’t have a good tarmac rally last time in Croatia, and coming off the back of a frustrating time in Finland, it has definitely been a hard couple of weeks. The team has been incredibly supportive, we’ve had great teamwork to get where we are now.”

Crew Notes: Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe

Neuville said: “A disappointing weekend for us and the fans. Congratulations to Ott for bringing home the victory after we lost our first place on Saturday. The team has done an incredible job, and this result will be a great motivational boost.

“From my side, the most positive thing to take away from this event is the reliability and performance of the car. We have had three rallies in a row without any major issues.”

Deputy team director Julien Moncet said: “This is a great victory after another fantastic drive from Ott and Martin to get us on top of the podium again. We have taken back-to-back wins, first on gravel in Finland and now on tarmac in Ypres, so we have shown the car is capable of winning everywhere and this is really encouraging.

“Oliver and Elliott also had an amazing rally. They came here a bit unsure after the difficulties they faced in Finland. We tried to put them in the best position possible to bounce back – and they did just that with a good performance and their best result so far.

“For Thierry and Martijn, of course their retirement yesterday meant they could only focus on the Power Stage. I was very impressed with how Thierry reacted so positively in the face of disappointment, we can learn a lot from his attitude.”

Next rally

The FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) moves back to gravel for round ten of the 2022 season on the punishing roads of the Acropolis Rally Greece from 8 to 11 September.