Chance to bounce back for Hyundai in Croatia Rally

Following a rollercoaster weekend at the Safari Rally in Kenya, Hyundai Motorsport is looking to bounce back emphatically at the Croatia Rally from 18 to 21 April, the fourth round of the 2024 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).With a constantly changing surface and a variety of features not typically found at a tarmac rally, Croatia provides a unique challenge for crews. Crests, jumps and blind corners must be navigated precisely, while a road surface that can go from slippery to broken seemingly without warning adds to the peril.In previous years, adverse weather conditions have also played a role, transforming the roads from unpredictable to treacherous. Torrential rain is often seen at the event and has the potential to turn the running order on its head at any moment.Three crews will be representing Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team at the Croatia Rally: Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe and Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja will compete alongside the returning Norwegian duo Andreas Mikkelsen and Torstein Eriksen. The team’s Belgian and Estonian pairings have enjoyed previous success at the event, having each scored two podiums on the Croatian roads.The primary goal, however, for Neuville and Wydaeghe will be to extend their leads in the drivers’ and co-drivers’ championships. Despite finishing fifth overall at the previous round in Kenya, they were the second-highest points scorers at the event, taking advantage of the new Super Sunday points system and Power Stage bonuses to increase the margin at the top of the standings to six.Croatia Rally marks one year since the tragic passing of Hyundai Motorsport driver, friend and colleague Craig Breen, who lost his life during testing for the 2023 edition of the event. This year, the team will honour him by adorning the Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid with an Irish flag on both the roof and the bumper, as well as donating items to an auction in his name, with all proceeds going to the Craig Breen Foundation. The auction will be live from 09:00 (CEST) on 16 April to 21:00 (CEST) on 23 April and is accessible via the following link: https://app.galabid.com/cbf24/items.Hyundai Motorsport president and team principal Cyril Abiteboul said: “Croatia Rally is the first full tarmac event of the year, but after a milder Rallye Monte-Carlo, we have already had a taste of how the Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid can perform on this surface. We have seen success here in the past; we know both Thierry and Ott can put a car on the podium in Croatia, and with Andreas’ capabilities on tarmac, we believe he can also score good points next week. “It is of course emotional coming to this event following the loss of Craig one year ago, but we want to honour him on our return and have tried to do so through both our charitable efforts and the addition of the Irish flag on our car. For both championships, and for Craig, we want to finish as close to the top step as possible – a win would be a fitting end to the weekend.”Crew Notes: Thierry Neuville/Martijn WydaegheNeuville said: “Croatia is one of the most demanding tarmac rallies I have ever competed in. There are lots of blind corners, crests and jumps – something very unusual for a tarmac event. I like the challenge of Croatia; the profile of the stages and the speed combined with the wide and narrow stages creates a unique test. But the roads are very similar to Belgian roads when it’s raining, so that creates some familiarity for us.”Crew Notes: Ott Tänak/Martin JärveojaTänak said: “Croatia is a fun tarmac event. The grip is low and the surface can get quite dirty, but at the same time there are a lot of vertical crests and jumps with blind corners. Tarmac is quite rare nowadays on our calendar, we only do a couple of events per year, so it’s special. We have already driven on tarmac in Monte-Carlo and I would say the feeling there was not bad, and by the end of the rally we were getting quite close. We need to take that experience and get the balance right on the car to maximise the grip; if we do that we should have the package we need for Croatia.”Crew Notes: Andreas Mikkelsen/Torstein EriksenMikkelsen said: “I am feeling very positive after a solid start to the season in Monte-Carlo. It’s great to be returning to the Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid for a WRC round, especially after contesting the Rally Regione Piemonte. Croatia is a unique challenge, but we have many years of rallying experience that we can use to make good judgements on stage. With the grip and weather changing all the time, good pace notes are an essential to doing well there. Obviously, our road position at the start of the weekend will be a disadvantage, especially if there is rain, due to the amount of mud that gets pulled up. We are ultimately targeting a podium, but if conditions get tricky then a top-five finish is where we want to end up.”Weekend at a glanceThe Croatia Rally commences on Thursday morning with Shakedown, followed by a ceremonial start at Zagreb’s National and University Library in the evening.Friday is both the first and longest day of competitive action, boasting an overall stage distance of 119,74 km. Day One also contains no midday service, despite featuring two passes of the rally’s longest stage: Krašić – Sošice (23,63k m)After 108,76 km of stages on Saturday, the event concludes on Sunday with four final tests, including the Power Stage of Zagorska Sela – Kumrovec 2 (14,24 km).Hyundai Motorsport Media Guide – Croatia RallySpecially created for each round of the FIA World Rally Championship, containing facts, statistics, team news and interviews, our media guides are an invaluable resource for all rallies in 2024. The download link for the Croatia Rally guide can be found via the QuickPic web site.
Contact
LogoDeon  Sonnekus
General Manager: Corporate Communications
Mail: deons@hyundai.co.za
Office: 010 248 8000 | Mobile: 061 355 1153

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