Adamo: Estonia defeat can help turn season around

Hyundai dominated last year but was some way behind Kalle Rovanperä last weekend. But the team boss is unconcerned


Socrates, in this house, is generally accepted as the first classical Greek philosopher. He taught Plato. And Plato, as we know, taught Aristotle. Which leaves one question. Who taught Adamo?

Typically, Hyundai Motorsport team principal Andrea Adamo was in a philosophical mood when reflecting on last week’s Rally Estonia. Craig Breen aside, it wasn’t the event he wanted. His local hero Ott Tänak went off the road and ruined his chances of back-to-back wins and his third-placed car suffered technical issues on the final day. The technical issues were by no means the end of the world, but they did lead to Thierry Neuville powering through a 55mph speed limit… with his Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC on the limiter at close to 120mph.

Since Adamo started out in his new job (that is running Hyundai Motorsport, not establishing himself as a modern-day Greek philosopher), this is the longest he’s been without a win. As Jari-Matti Latvala celebrated a new record for Toyota (with five wins in a row), Adamo reflected on what might have been.

But how did it feel, not winning?

The reply was a mix of Socrates’ rationalism, Platonic idealism and a demonstration of why Aristotle was the reckoned to be the Father of Logic.

He said: “To be able to win, first you have to be able to lose. We can say whatever we want, we can make a nice romantic story. But everybody thought the story of this rally would be the fight between Ott and Rovanperä coming here.

“Even David and Andrea, you and me, we thought this would be the story. We have to accept the package of Rovanperä is better than anybody else.

“Considering him (Rovanperä) out of reach, I think Craig has done an amazing job. They have been head and shoulders above everybody else.”


Last year, the Hyundai was the car to have and the car to beat in Tartu. This year, Toyota did what Toyota does on fast roads.

“Don’t take me wrong,” Adamo continued, “due to the rules of testing, Toyota has the test base that is in the same situation as these roads – they can spend weeks driving these kinds of roads. We have a different kind of situation, and we are not there [on those roads]. The rules are there, so I don’t complain about the rules.

“I just make the picture of the situation without any complaints.

“If you are ready in your DNA to be born in these roads and have the possibility to test a lot, I think you are in a better position with respect to others. And you are also in a  better position with respect to others when you are driving this car often and more often than  somebody who has not driven this car a lot this year.”


What does this mean when the series lands on the northern shores of the Baltic Sea for a autumnal Rally Finland?

Is there more development to come on the i20 Coupe WRC? Within the parameters of a homologation cycle winding itself down, what can be done now?

“Development is a wide-meaning word,” said Adamo. “When we go to Finland, we would have learned things from here and we can change the damper – is this damper development? I don’t know. You ask me, do you play with geometry? Everything is fixed [by homologation]. We cannot change this. If you ask me about work on the mapping for the engine? Yes, of course, we work on this because this can help for next year’s car.

“We are not speaking about Formula 1. We are different. For sure we will not go on holiday and stop to bring all of our engineers here, we will continue to do our preparation for the rallies, because most of the rallies are ones we will have to face in the future [because they remain on the calendar.

“But I have to be realistic.”