After a very difficult Rally1 debut on the Monte Carlo Rally, Hyundai needed to find a reason for optimism.
A question was posted to Julien Moncet, Hyundai’s deputy team director, at the end of the World Rally Championship season opener: “How would you sum up this weekend?”
It was a short, curt reply.
“I’m looking forward to Sweden.”
Quite. But there’s not much looking forward left to do – the rally is only a couple of days away from starting.
Last time around one car limped around for a day with a broken damper, another left its driver (literally) red-faced and teary-eyed from fumes filling his cockpit, and another slid off into a rockface, retiring with a damaged cooling system.
Sixth place and two retirements should not be hard to beat, on paper anyway. But how high can Hyundai realistically aim in Sweden?
“When we start a race, we always want to win it. But I think we have to be realistic with ourselves,” Moncet told DirtFish.
“Let’s bring the three cars to the finish first, that would already be something positive.
“In these conditions of Sweden I think we can target a podium.”
Hyundai is already bringing new parts to its i20 N Rally1 for Sweden but those changes are somewhat limited in nature, as only non-homologated parts will be updated between now and Rally Portugal in May.
While its pre-event test in Sweden was focused on car setup, Hyundai also completed mileage near its new Jämsä test base in central Finland, which was centered around overall car development.