Hyundai Motorsport has claimed a double podium finish in Rally Estonia, the seventh round of the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), with Craig Breen and Thierry Neuville cementing a strong team result.

Breen and co-driver Paul Nagle’s second-place matches their result from last year’s Rally Estonia and equals their best performance for Hyundai Motorsport. Finishing just behind in third position, Neuville and co-driver Martijn Wydaeghe scored their fifth podium result of the season.

Estonians Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja’s hopes of a home victory were dashed last Friday as they had to retire due to a double puncture in the 4th special stage, however, there was no doubting their speed and talent on local gravel roads. The crew added a further four stage wins to their total on Sunday morning, including two tied with Neuville, to bring their total to eleven.

The final day wasn’t without drama with 6 tricky tests left to run. Neuville took 4 stage wins on Sunday, 2 of them equal with Tänak, to bring the team’s total to 18 for the weekend and underscoring the pace and performance of the Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC. The Belgian also experienced late technical drama ahead of the penultimate test, which caused him to check in late into the stage and incur a ten-second penalty. Thankfully, he had enough of a buffer to Sébastien Ogier to hold onto his podium result.

Tänak and Neuville led a Hyundai 1-2 in the Power Stage to add points for the championship, where Hyundai Motorsport is holding on to second place with 256 points – 59 from the lead and with 4 rallies remaining.

Crew Notes: Craig Breen/Paul Nagle
Breen said: “I am quite happy with how the weekend has gone, and I am satisfied with our performance. We have carried good speed throughout the stages. OK, it’s not been enough to match Kalle, but we were able to consolidate our second place and brought it home to the end.”

Crew Notes: Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe
Neuville said: “It has been a long weekend with 24 challenging stages – and a tough event for us. Our main target coming here was to keep our closest rivals, Sébastien and Elfyn, behind and we were able to achieve that. Obviously, it has not been enough to catch back the points gap, but we have edged a bit closer.”

Crew Notes: Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja
“When you are not fighting for anything, it’s difficult to have the same focus as you usually would, so we have just concentrated on getting to the end of this rally. We were lacking time in the car because of our early retirement on Friday, but gradually we have made improvements over the past two days,” said Tänak.

“We have been looking to learn some things, and I think if you look at the fact that we have taken some stage wins today – early on the road – I think we have found something.”

Team principal Andrea Adamo said: “It starts to be a bit boring to keep saying the same thing, but at least this time we have two cars on the podium and good Power Stage points. We don’t lose anything more in the manufacturers’ championship, but we have to keep going ahead like this, improving in all areas.

“My thanks to Craig and Paul for a fantastic second place. Due to an electrical problem this morning, Thierry has not been in the position to make any further progress, but he has shown once again what kind of a fighter he is. Ott, too, has demonstrated his amazing speed, but that only makes his punctures on Friday even more regrettable.”

Next rally
Round 8 of the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), The Ypres Rally Belgium, takes place over the weekend of 13 to 15 August.