David Evans: Why I’ll miss Adamo in the WRC

Andrea Adamo has been an entertaining character during his three-year period as Hyundai's team principal


Maybe he did get the number. Maybe Jennifer Aniston answered his call. Maybe that’s the reason for the sudden change in Andrea Adamo’s life.

Actually, I know the reason. As usual, as ever, he answered my call today and we talked for a long time. For those thinking this has anything to do with anything, you’re wrong. This is Adamo’s decision. Fact.

He made it last week and informed Korea and the team soon after.

There will be those glad to see the back of him. Not many of those folk wear the colors of Hyundai. Listening to those who were with Adamo at his team lunch, the lunch where he informed them of his departure on Tuesday, the emotion’s talk not of the brusque and often brutal Italian who led them to battle. But of a charismatic commendatore.

During his three years in charge of Hyundai Motorsport’s WRC effort and, no doubt, his six years in the company, Adamo would have frustrated the life out of people. By his own admission he’s nothing more than a poor Italian immigrant living in Germany – perhaps that’s something which empowered him with that ruthless streak.

Adamo has given the WRC an almighty shake at a time when it needed a bit of a kick in the pants in terms of livening things up between the stages.

I remember reading stories of Cesare Fiorio delivering strategic decisions that took people’s breath away back in his days at the top of Lancia.

In another world, at another time, it’s not too much of a stretch to have imagined Adamo ordering the team helicopter to land in the middle of a road to slow down a driver who didn’t want to be told he had to finish second.


In terms of management style, I’m sure that’s how Adamo wants to be remembered – as unflinching as any of his iconic forefathers.

And those decisions taken by Adamo were the foundations of two world championship titles in three years. Make no mistake, Hyundai stood on top of the world because of this guy’s determination.

As part of that determination, he stopped me talking to people I’d talked to on the record for years. He ruffled feathers, he fell out with folk, he burned bridges, but he didn’t care about that. Not. One. Bit. Instead, he cared for two things: his people and Hyundai’s success.

There are plenty in my industry who won’t miss Adamo. They won’t miss his truculence, his belligerence. Those people should take a look at themselves and ask themselves what made him truculent and belligerent.

Hyundai Motorsport has been weakened by Andrea’s decision today and that will be his biggest regret in the move he’s made David Evans

In everything he did, Adamo demanded the very best of people. When he makes himself available for interview, he expects the best of the best in terms of questions. Bring him anything else and you’ll get what you’re given.

Adamo raised my bar. I too was caught by that fixed stare and pugnacious response. But it hasn’t happen twice.

Sure, there was emotion about the place, good and bad, but that was the electricity which fed the Adamo show. A show which kept us on the edge of our feet for three years. Who knew what was coming next.


And it was a show. My DirtFish colleague Colin Clark and I arrived in Italy for Monza Rally a day early last month for one reason, to finally take our poor Italian immigrant friend to a great restaurant in Turin – his beloved home town.

Naturally, he chose the restaurant, he paid the bill and he provided the entertainment. But it wasn’t about work. It was about life, love and, yes, OK, Lancia.

Hyundai Motorsport has been weakened by Andrea’s decision today and that will be his biggest regret in the move he’s made.


But, in a book that’s bound for the bestseller’s list, it’s time for the next chapter.

Ciao, my friend. You and your zest for everything that’s great about a sport you’ve made your own will be sadly missed from the service park.

But I have a sneaking suspicion this isn’t the last we’re going to hear from Andrea Adamo in the World Rally Championship…