Rally Sweden – Day Two Report

Rally Sweden – Day Two Report

Umeå, Sweden February 17, 2024
Hyundai Motorsport continues to lead Rally Sweden, the second round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) season, with Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm now over a minute in front of their closest rival.
The longest day of the rally featured 125.96km of competitive distance and 407.38km of road sections.
With sizeable gaps between competitors, there was nothing to be gained by taking risks; all three Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team crews navigated the stages cautiously to save their tyres and maintain their positions.
Brand-new stage Vännäs (SS9/12, 15.65km) began both loops, followed by Sarsjöliden (SS10/13, 14.23km) and Bygdsiljum (SS11/15, 28.06km).
Action then returned to Umeå (SS15, 10.08km), an elongated version of the super special stage run on Thursday and Friday evening.
Although Lappi and Ferm’s overnight advantage was whittled down to less than a second on the opening stage, the retirement of Takamoto Katsuta on the subsequent stage opened up the gap even further.
The Finns focused on precision and patience for the remainder of the day to ensure they remained at the top of the standings.
Thierry Neuville and Martijn Wydaeghe claimed a hat-trick of stage wins in SS13 Sarsjöliden 2, SS14 Bygdsiljum 2 and SS15 Umeå 1 as the Belgians moved up the order from tenth to fourth over the course of seven punishing tests.
Team-mates Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja returned to the event following their Friday retirement and topped the timesheet on the day’s opening stage, SS9 Vännas 1.
Just three stages stand between Hyundai Motorsport and the team’s second win of the 2024 season, which would also mark Lappi’s second WRC career win.

Crew Notes: Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (#4 Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid)
Finns continue to lead after smart and careful drive on Saturday
Crew set to claim 18 points from Saturday scoring system
Lappi said: “I am feeling satisfied, we are in the best position possible but it has not been really enjoyable to drive in this situation. We were trying to manage the lead and not take any risks in a bid to save the tyres for the final stages, but we did it. Today was clearly very demanding for the tyres, especially the first and last stage of the loops which were very abrasive. We are not finished yet and I don’t want to celebrate too early. There are still three stages to go, and two long stages in particular where anything can happen. I am happy we are in this situation but it isn’t over yet.”

Crew Notes: Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (#11 Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid)
Belgians secured consecutive stage wins on SS13, SS14 and SS15
#11 crew now sit in fourth overall with three stages remaining
Neuville said: “Things were getting better this afternoon but there was also a lot more gravel, and I felt more comfortable in the car. We have changed a lot of settings trying to find a good compromise for tomorrow, which will be an important day. I wouldn’t say I am satisfied but I at least I found a bit more traction. Hopefully that will continue to work on the first pass tomorrow. It’s always a challenge to look after the studs on our tyres, but I’ve always been good here in Sweden on the conditions in the second pass, especially if there is a lot of gravel. Hopefully we have found the necessary feeling and speed we need for tomorrow morning.”

Crew Notes: Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (#8 Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid)
Estonians opened the road on return to Rally Sweden
Scored stage win on SS9 and second fastest on SS10 and SS15
Tänak said: “Not an easy day. In winter rallies it is always a bit ‘next level’ to open the road, particularly in the second loop. It is easy to get frustrated but this is the penalty we have for what happened yesterday, so it is fair play. In these conditions you can’t really find a rhythm, you’re always fighting to keep the car on the road and it’s hard to be smooth as you need to be to protect the tyres. Hopefully the road condition tomorrow will play to our favour because we need to take as many points as possible.”

Hyundai Motorsport President and Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul said: “It is a long day when you know you have more to lose than to gain. But at the same time it is great to see EP back with us and in a strong position: he has managed the pressure well, and today he has done a smart job to maintain the gap to those behind him. It’s also been good to see Thierry and Ott back in a better rhythm in preparation for tomorrow, but let’s see; anything can still happen. We are close, but we are not there yet, so let’s make sure we get the job done tomorrow, both tactically and strategically.”

Sunday at a Glance
Rally Sweden will conclude with three final stages; two runs of Västervik (SS16/17, 25.50km) followed by the Power Stage, Umeå (SS18, 10.08km).

Classification after Day 2

1 E. Lappi J. Ferm Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid 2:03:52.0
2 A. Fourmaux A. Coria Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid +1:06.3
3 E. Evans S. Martin Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid +1:23.0
4 T. Neuville M. Wydaeghe Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid +2:22.1
5 O. Solberg E. Edmondson Škoda Fabia RS +4:01.1
6 S. Pajari E. Mälkönen Škoda Fabia Evo +5:15.1
7 G. Linnamäe J. Morgan Toyota GR Yaris +5:15.3
8 R. Korhonen A. Viinikka Toyota GR Yaris +5:35.1
9 M. Heikkilä K. Temonen Toyota GR Yaris +5:51.2
10 L. Joona J. Hussi Toyota GR Yaris +6:29.3

Hyundai Motorsport



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