Six months since we last contested a round of the WRC, all the way back in March at Rally Mexico, we were back in business at Rally Estonia - and also back to winning ways with a fantastic 1-2 result.
Estonians Ott and Martin, taking part in their fourth event for our team - and their home event - earned their first victory in the i20 Coupe WRC. It was a masterful performance as they handled the pressure with composure.
“The first WRC event in Estonia was one that I had to win, while also knowing it would be my first with Hyundai Motorsport,” said Ott. “I couldn’t afford any mistakes, taking no risks but also performing with the required pace to win; bringing all of that together was a real challenge.”
Lifting the spirits
The result marked the crew’s third consecutive podium, after second places in Sweden and Mexico, and lifted Ott up to third in the drivers’ table. “We had to use this chance to catch back points for the championship, and thankfully we were able to use it well,” he said.
Irish crew Craig and Paul finished in second to score their debut podium for our team, and that special 1-2 feeling. As a result, we have moved to within five points of the manufacturers’ lead.
“What an incredible weekend,” said Craig. “From the opening kilometres of the rally, everything just clicked. The car has done absolutely everything I’ve asked of it and has given me the confidence I needed.”
Prang in stage
Sadly, it was a weekend to forget for Thierry and Nicolas, who were forced to stop on Saturday after being pushed offline in the Prangli stage. They then experienced a mechanical issue in the Kambja Power Stage, which forced them to retire on the road section.
“It has definitely not been our weekend,” said a dejected Thierry. “Our target today was to salvage some points from the Power Stage, but we had an issue ahead of the start, which meant we couldn’t drive at speed. Disappointing but the next one will be better.”
Emotionally charged 1-2
Rally Estonia’s intense and challenging itinerary saw 17 stages run primarily across two days. All three of our crews took stage wins on Saturday (three for Ott/Martin, two for Craig/Paul and one for Thierry/Nicolas), it was a more cautious and measured final day, but one with a great result of our team.
Our Team Principal Andrea reflected on an emotional result: “After Mexico, we all faced a difficult period. Six months later, to be here in Estonia celebrating a 1-2 result, is an incredible feeling. I know how much I have pushed my people, while trying to remain calm in the face of the uncertain situation. I am proud of them all, and happy we can share this result.”
The 2020 WRC season continues its revised schedule with the gruelling gravel roads of Rally Turkey from September 18-20, the fifth event of the season.