Hyundai deputy team director Julien Moncet has lamented the team’s reliability problems, claiming Hyundai has been in a “race against the clock since about one year now” in that regard.
Hyundai Motorsport’s pre-season testing program didn’t run smoothly with late sign off from the parent company in Korea, a totally abandoned car concept and a crash for Thierry Neuville, which wrote off the only chassis, impeding its progress.
The i20 N Rally1 struggled for pace on the Monte Carlo Rally but looked more competitive in Sweden and Croatia. However Rally Portugal, the first gravel event of the season, seemed to represent another step backwards as a lack of performance and a spate of reliability concerns curtailed Hyundai’s event.
Ott Tänak told DirtFish “everything” needed to be changed on his i20 N Rally1 while team-mate Thierry Neuville was left frustrated by Hyundai’s repeated technical problems.
Moncet admitted he was “not pleased” with Hyundai’s Portugal performance “because I would be pleased if we would be 1-2 on the podium”.
“We still have some reliability issues that we have to get through,” he told DirtFish.
“I keep saying since the start of the season the car’s base is OK but we need to get rid of these reliability issues.
“It’s even more frustrating because we are getting better in the tire strategy and so on and weather forecasts; it’s a shame to waste all the energy from the drivers, from the team and so on for reliability mistakes.”
However Moncet is aware that “we are missing time” to rectify the problems due to the WRC’s strict allowances on mid-season testing.
Teams can only conduct one day of testing per driver ahead of each round of the championship, and these are typically used to dial in setups for that upcoming event.
“Yeah, that’s very frustrating. For sure we have less and less testing days,” Moncet said.
“Unfortunately we cannot check everything during this little mileage. It’s more frustrating that every time it’s a different problem, so we sort them out one by one.
“But every time there is another one coming behind, so we are in a race against the clock since about one year now. We just have to try to catch up.
“We had the pre-event that we did in Portugal. We will do the pre-event in Sardinia next [this] week and so on. So for sure we would like to do more, definitely, but while there is a regulation, we have to figure as well that we have the resource that we have; we cannot be everywhere everytime.
“We do the best with what we have. The time we lost at the beginning, it’s difficult to catch up but we’ll manage at some point.”
Moncet isn’t too concerned about the pace of the i20 N Rally1 though.
“We see that sometimes we are a match, with the Puma we are pretty much on the same level, the Toyota a bit in front but we are not far behind – really on given circumstances we are sometimes on the same level or even ahead,” he said.
“We have excellent drivers. But yes the time is the time, the days are 24 hours, testing days are limited. We are already flat out but we all know we started later than the others and yeah we are trying to catch back but for sure it will take some time again.”