- Jean-Karl Vernay extended his narrow advantage at the top of the FIA WTCR points’ standings after the WTCR Race of Spain at the MotorLand Aragón circuit
- With third place in the series’ race at Watkins Glen Bryan Herta Autosport’s Veloster N TCR crew Michael Lewis and Taylor Hagler retook the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge points lead
- After an impressively consistent weekend Craig Breen finished second on the fast gravel stages of Rally Liepāja in his Team MRF Tyres i20 R5.
Hyundai TCR customers lead the points in both FIA WTCR and IMSA competition after excellent weekends in recent weeks, including a strong team performance at the WTCR Race of Spain to bring one of the Elantra N TCR squads up to second in the series’ standings. i20 R5 customers have also shown the all-round strength of the car, with overall victories on tarmac and gravel events, as well as a podium finish for Craig Breen in the European Rally Championship.
Elantra N TCR driver stretches lead in FIA WTCR points
Jean-Karl Vernay extended his slender lead at the top of the ultra-competitive WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup standings after the WTCR Race of Spain at MotorLand Aragón (July 10-11). Fourth position in Race 2, taken from fifth on the grid, left the Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team driver eight points clear at the top the series’ points. The Frenchman had added a single marker to his margin after qualifying and preserved his advantage with ninth place in Race 1.
The opening encounter was won from pole position by Gabriele Tarquini for his first victory with the Elantra N TCR in a fantastic lights-to-flag performance. The Italian completed an excellent personal weekend with sixth place in Race 2 as he joined Vernay and Luca Engstler – eighth – in the top ten.
Vernay and Engstler’s points also lifted the Engstler squad up into second on the teams’ standings. The BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse team of Tarquini and Norbert Michelisz lie sixth.
Fourth 2021 podium moves Veloster N TCR team back to the IMSA points’ lead
Bryan Herta Autosport Veloster N TCR drivers Michael Lewis and Taylor Hagler retook the lead of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge standings with their fourth podium of the season as the series completed back-to-back events at Watkins Glen International (July 1-2). The pair had to come from the rear of the class during the two-hour race after a minor issue in qualifying, and took full advantage of a short sprint to the chequered flag that remained after a late caution to take third position.
The podium trip put them at the head of the Hyundai customers in the race. Copeland Motorsports’ Mason Filippi and AJ Muss finished fourth ahead of Stephen Simpson and Michael Johnson. Parker Chase and Gabby Chaves – the latter returning to the team for a one-off drive – finished sixth as the best of the pair of the Hyundai-USA supported Elantra N TCR. The event had started strongly for the drivers of the newer design. In qualifying Harry Gottsacker gave the car its first IMSA pole in the #33 he shared with Mark Wilkins with Chase and Chaves’ #98 in third.
Gottsacker would lead the early laps before the #98 entry picked up to lead the Bryan Herta Autosport Elantra N TCR. However, their race was derailed through no fault of their own when Chase was forced to avoid a car released directly into his path in pitlane. The resulting delay to their driver change stop knocked them off the lead lap in class, keeping them from challenging for the major positions.
Overall podium from Iberian weekend
Gustavo Moura and Luis Cidade shared the former’s Elantra N TCR in the second round of the new-for-2021 Supercars Endurance series at Estoril (July 10-11). Moura took pole overall position for Race 2 of the weekend and Cidade – starting the race – led the first half of the event on before finishing second in class and third overall in the 45-minute challenge.
i30 N TCR takes debut victory in British endurance series
Drivers Nicole Drought and Danny Krywyj gave the i30 N TCR class victory on its debut in the UK-based Britcar Endurance Championship. Both racing the Motus One-entered Hyundai for the first time at the two-hour race at Silverstone (July 3) they dominated their class – comprised of TCR machinery mixed with GT4-spec entries – to win by a lap and take 12th overall. A successful debut for the team with the car was completed by Drought being awarded the Driver of the Day award.
Breen takes first i20 R5 ERC podium
Craig Breen finished second in the European Rally Championship round at Rally Liepāja (July 1-3) – his best finish in the series with the Team MRF Tyres i20 R5. The Irishman and co-driver Paul Nagle were impressively consistent on the country’s fast gravel tests. Though never overall fastest on the stages the pair were inside the top five on all twelve competitive runs during the event to cement themselves in the podium positions.
Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Junior Driver Grégoire Munster also had a strong weekend in Latvia. After a puncture on the opening stage cost the BMA-run driver around two minutes a consistent performance over the remaining kilometres – including six times in the top ten overall – helped him recover ground as he gained experience from the event in 17th overall.
Russian driver Radik Shaymiev ended his i20 R5 debut only a handful of positions further back, finishing 20th in his TAIF Motorsport-entered car.
Double podium for i20 R5 runners on French gravel
i20 R5 crews enjoyed a superb weekend at the Rallye Castine – Terre d’Occitanie (July 3-4) to open the new French gravel championship season. Driver Benjamin Clemençon was rewarded for a mistake-free run with a fantastic overall victory in his Sarrazin Motorsport-run entry. After starting the rally in fifth he maintained a very strong pace – ending all but one stage among the top five times – while avoiding the kind of errors that cost others. He finished the winner by five seconds – leading not only a busy entry of R5 and Rally2 cars but also teams running on older WRC machinery.
In another Sarrazin Motorsport i20 R5 Jean-Marc Manzagol completed the overall podium after a strong run of his own. He only lost second place on the final stage of the weekend, but held onto finish third, just seven seconds behind the winner.
Victory starts new Netherlands national campaign
Dutch driver Bob de Jong made a triumphant return to competition in his i20 R5 at the GTC Rally (10 July). The Hyundai Netherlands-supported man won the opening two stages of the event in dry conditions to establish himself amongst the front runners before rainfall soaked the roads. As rivals fell away in increasingly treacherous conditions he was able to measure his pace and protect his lead. However, further two top times still followed as de Jong and co-driver Bjorn Degandt went on finish victorious by over 30 seconds.
French crew take top five from national tarmac event
Jordan Berfa finished fifth overall – and fourth of the drivers in the running for the R5 Amateur Trophy – on the Rallye Aveyron Rouergue – Occitanie (July 9-10). With Nathalie Berfa alongside on co-driving duties the pair were regulars in the top five times on the stages. Their consistency on the tarmac roads resulted with a finish to match.
Top ten finish for Irish crew on latest British championship round
Josh Moffett’s eighth overall on the Nicky Grist Stages led the i20 R5 contingent on the event (July 10) – the latest round of the British Rally Championship. The Irishman, combining with co-driver Andy Hayes was among the top ten on each of the rally’s eight gravel stages.
Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Manager Andrew Johns said: “Our customers have shown impressive pace on a wide range of events in recent weeks. In IMSA and WTCR series Hyundai TCR drivers lead the points standings due to an enviable combination of consistently strong performances and reliability. To do so they have shown the performance of their respective cars both in sprint and endurance specifications, proving the Alzenau-built chassis to be excellent racing packages. In rallying Craig Breen scored an excellent second place with his i20 R5 in one of the most competitive series for the category. The have also been victories on gravel in France and tarmac in the Netherlands in national championships, again showing the all-round strength of the car.”