Hyundai will conduct a thorough analysis of its car

Hyundai may have placed two of its cars in third and fourth places and showed a good level of reliability at Rally Estonia, but its drivers looked pretty bad days at the end of the Baltic event. The latter quickly changed their minds in the middle of the weekend, those who planned to be at the forefront thanks to an engine and gearbox adapted to the fast Estonian roads.

In the end, Ott Tänak and Thierry Neuville therefore decided to prepare for the next round in Finland, rather than chasing in vain for a better result at the front, which was still not within their reach. Annoying for the first city, which strove to re-impose its ground after its success acquired in 2020, but also for the second, still and always in search of a first victory this season. But the fact is that the i20 Ns were unable to keep pace with the Toyota GR Yaris of Kalle Rovanperä and Elfyn Evans, giving the Japanese manufacturer another one-two finish in Estonia.

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The origin of Hyundai’s lack of competitiveness has been known since the beginning of the year: the South Korean brand has been slow to address the new technical regulations in force since 2022, centered on the implementation of a hybrid engine capable of to deliver 100 kW of additional power (about 134 hp) to the 360 ​​hp already developed by the power units in previous years.

Direct consequence: here the troops from Azelnau are forced since the beginning of the season to catch up with the competition, which itself continues its development and currently maintains a clear advantage. Under these conditions, we can also consider that Hyundai’s second place in the constructors’ championship is a small miracle, even if a gulf separates it from Toyota (87 points). Tänak even managed to win the fifth round in Sardinia, while Neuville, for his part, set the best times on the Power Stages in the Italian event, but also in the Safari Rally.

Thus, the development delay of the i20 N appears above all in its lack of reliability, which has already compromised several good results that nevertheless seemed promised to the team. And if the situation seemed to improve at this point in Estonia, the Hyundai drivers still lamented a strong lack of grip, but also stability from their machine. Tänak thus pointed the finger “basic things that don’t work well” in relation to the development of the car, even before the opening round of the season at Monte-Carlo in January.

The Hyundais failed to keep pace with the Toyotas at Rally Estonia as they were expected to have a much better party.

Homologation jokers, is Hyundai developing?

Team principal Julien Moncet has carefully noted the issues raised by his drivers and says an in-depth analysis will be carried out to understand how to unleash the full potential of the i20 N. Only used at certain times of the season, and Hyundai has not yet made use of any of the five allocated to it in the development of the chassis and transmission of its machine.

“The only good thing about the weekend was that our cars were able to finish without major reliability issues compared to other races, especially in Kenya, so it’s definitely an achievement and we can be happy about that.”Moncet said at the end of Rally Estonia. “Honestly, I was quite optimistic going into Estonia. I thought we could fight for the win because we showed great things on clay and because we have a lot of power in the lines. fast straights. With Ott in our ranks , I thought we had a good combination, ready to fight for victory, but of course we were far from that, and you only have to look at the results to see that. Conviction.”

“I can only agree that there are fundamental elements of the car that we need to go through. Some of them can be improved through a wildcard, but others will need more than one, that’s for sure. We’re going to use time to get there and we have to figure out what direction to take. That’s probably the first question we ask. We have to answer. The drivers have complained about the stability of the car as well as other problems, but these are not things, that is easy to change. We have a lot of work and development to do and hope we can deal with it as soon as possible. We will have to check what we are entitled to in terms of the regulations on homologations. We have always been chasing time, and we’ve had a lot of reliability issues, and now we’re finding that we need to put more focus on development.”

Hyundai plans to head to its new testing base in Finland this week to work on its car for the next round in that country on the first weekend of August. “We are going to our base these days to work on the development and framework in preparation for Finland”continues Moncet. “I know some competitors are not going to test before Finland, but we will. The idea will again be to prepare the settings for the next race and we will try to understand what direction to go. take to rework the basics . of the car.”

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