Thierry Neuville and Martijn Wydaeghe have taken an exceptional victory for Hyundai Motorsport at Rallye Monte-Carlo, the first round of the 2024 FIA World Rally Championship.
The Belgian Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team crew made the perfect start to their season after a thrilling battle for victory across 17 demanding stages. Across four days of intense competition, with twists and turns that mirrored the mountainous roads of the rally, Neuville/Wydaeghe demonstrated impressive form and emphatically set out their intensions for the year ahead.
Sunday closed an epic edition of Rallye Monte-Carlo with three final stages: a third attempt of Friday’s La Breole/Selonnet (SS15, 18.31km), followed by Digne-les-Bains/Chaudon-Norante (SS16, 19.01km) last seen on the itinerary in 1989 – and the iconic La Bollene-Vesube/Col de Turini (SS17, 14.80km).
A final day flourish from the Belgians saw them claim a clean sweep of stage wins. By topping the classification on Saturday, Sunday and the Power Stage, the crew brought home the maximum points on offer from the event. Neuville’s win marks his second in Rallye Monte Carlo and his 20th with Hyundai Motorsport.
Their team-mates Ott Tanak and Martin Jarveoja finished fourth overall in their first event back in Hyundai Motorsport colours. Early engine issues hampered the crew’s overall result, however there were plentiful signs of things to come in Monte-Carlo. As well as a joint stage win on Saturday, the Estonians claimed four additional points with fourth place in the Super Sunday leaderboard and one point for their Power Stage efforts.
Andreas Mikkelsen and Torstein Eriksen ended a weekend of steady progression with clean runs through the final three stages to confirm sixth place. The Norwegian crew was improving 5ep-by-step throughout the weekend in their first outing in the Hyundai i20 N Rally Hybrid, and now turn their focus to continuing their learning in their next event.
Neuville tops the drivers’ standings with a six-point advantage, while there is just one point separating the top two in the manufacturers’ fight heading into Sweden.