• Hyundai claimed its first win of the 2021 World Rally Championship (WRC) season.
• The team's Estonian crew Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja won the ten-stage event by 17.5 seconds.
• Team mates Thierry Neuville and Martijn Wydaeghe finished third.
Hyundai Motorsport claimed its first victory of the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) by a margin of close to 20 seconds at Arctic Rally Finland.
The second round of the season saw Estonian crew Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja concluded the ten-stage event ahead of Kalle Rovanperä, with their Hyundai team-mates Thierry Neuville and Martijn Wydaeghe in third.
The double podium finish for Hyundai Motorsport marks its first-ever top-three result in a Finland-based WRC event and sees the team hold the second spot in the manufacturers' championship on 77 points, 11 behind the leaders after two rounds.
Led from start to finish
Tänak took the rally lead in the opening stage on Friday afternoon and never relinquished the event's authority.
With five stage wins out of ten and a measured approach to the final morning, he secured his second-ever win in the i20 Coupé WRC (his first was at his home rally in Estonia last season).
Crews had just one stage of negotiating on the final day, the 22.47km Aittajärvi test, which was run twice. The second pass was held as the rally-concluding Power Stage with extra points for the drivers' and manufacturers' championships, according to organisers.
Neuville and navigator Wydaeghe, in just their second WRC event as a crew, picked up their second consecutive podium result after another reliable weekend performance.
They continued to work on their communication and collaboration, using the high-speed rally to make another critical step forward in their partnership. They finished Saturday evening with a dominant stage win.
18th double-podium finish
For Hyundai Motorsport, the result cemented the team's 18th victory and its 18th double podium in WRC.
Neuville, meanwhile, has moved up to second in the drivers' classification, just four points behind leader Rovanperä, while Tänak opened his 2021 points account in style to jump up to fifth.
Tänak said: "This victory is significant and allows us to take away good points for the championship.
"I was pushing the engineers quite a lot, but their hard work paid off. We tried some new things in shakedown, and it worked out nicely. This has been an amazing place to come for a rally, one of the best for a winter event; there's no place where you can have more snow and the characteristics of the road have been very special," Tänak concluded.
Neuville, who narrowly missed out on a second place, said: "I am very satisfied with our weekend and third position, even if second was so close. We kept believing right up to the end, but everyone was pushing hard on the Power Stage, so it wasn't possible to grab second position. Still, we have taken some good points for both championships, which were really needed after Monte-Carlo.
A delighted team principal Andrea Adamo said: "After Monte-Carlo, I said only a win would have been enough to allow us to come back to the level we need to be. We needed to be more focused and better prepared. The team did an amazing job, and this result reflects that. We understood our faults, me first of all, and we responded in the way we needed. Winning and finishing first are very different concepts. Today, we won."
The next rally is the third round of the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship and will take place in Croatia from 22 to 25 April.
Based in the Croatian capital city, Zagreb, the event will be the first pure tarmac round of the season.
Final result – Arctic Rally Finland:
1 O. Tänak M. Järveoja Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC 2:03:49.6
2 K. Rovanperä J. Halttunen Toyota Yaris WRC +17.5
3 T. Neuville M. Wydaeghe Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC +19.8
4 C. Breen P. Nagle Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC +52.6
5 E. Evans S. Martin Toyota Yaris WRC +1:01.5
6 T. Katsuta D. Barritt Toyota Yaris WRC +1:37.8
7 O. Solberg S. Marshall Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC +1:39.0
8 T. Suninen M. Markkula Ford Fiesta WRC +2:09.0
9 G. Greensmith E. Edmondson Ford Fiesta WRC +3:39.4
10 E. Lappi J. Ferm Volkswagen Polo R5 +6:07.0
WRC manufacturers' standings after round 2:
1.Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team 88
2 . Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team 77
3. M-Sport Ford World Rally Team 24
4. Hyundai 2C Competition 22
WRC drivers’ standings after round 2:
1. K. Rovanperä 39
2. T. Neuville 35
3. S. Ogier31
4. E. Evans 31
5. O. Tänak 27
6. T. Katsuta 16
7. C. Breen 16
8. D. Sordo 11
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