Ricardo Performance Products’ customer, Hyundai Motorsport, is celebrating a fantastic first and second placing in Rally Japan, ensuring the team’s 2022 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) season ended on a high.
In a truly thrilling season finale, the Belgian pairing of Thierry Neuville and Martijn Wydaeghe overcame challenging conditions on a rain-affected final day at Rally Japan to hold off their rivals from Toyota, Elfyn Evans and Scott Martin, to claim victory, with their Hyundai Motorsport team-mates Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja taking second place in what was their final rally for the team. It was the second win of the year for Neuville and Wydaeghe, and the eighth podium of 2022 for Tänak and Järveoja. The double podium placing ensured that Hyundai Motorsport can look back with pride on a very positive season, and can now carry that momentum into the 2023 season.
It was the first time in 12 years that the FIA World Rally Championship had visited Japan, and this historic moment inspired history-making by the Hyundai Motorsport team. The one-two podium placing was an historic achievement in itself, but it was also Hyundai Motorsport’s 25th victory since joining the World Rally Championship in 2014 and – with the first and second placings – means that the team notched up its 99th and 100th individual podium placings. This weekend’s win meant that Hyundai Motorsport has also achieved an unprecedented ‘fifer’ or five wins in a single season for the first time, following victories in Sardinia, Finland, Ypres and Greece.
Summarising the rally on social media, Hyundai Motorsport Deputy Team Director Julien Moncet said: “Rally Japan has been an incredible event right to the end with a lot of stories and talking points. In tricky conditions, Thierry and Martijn managed to keep the lead and took their second win of the season. Ott and Martin stepped up one position to end second in their final rally with Hyundai Motorsport. We wish them good luck for the future after our three seasons working together. This win will give us the necessary positive momentum to come back even stronger in 2023. The team has now all the tools in hands to fight for championships, our sole and only target.”
Martin Starkey, Managing Director for Ricardo Performance Products, who attended the Rally Japan in person, said: “It was a real pleasure and honour to be in Japan to see the Hyundai Motorsport team secure its fifth win of the 2022 campaign. To see all the hard work and dedication of the support team reinforces the importance of long-standing collaborations between us and our customers and I look forward to working with the team at Hyundai in 2023 and beyond. Congratulations to Hyundai Motorsport for truly finishing the season in style."