Hyundai restricted by setup, not pace – Neuville

He thinks the i20 N Rally 1 would be on par with Toyota had he opted for a different setup

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Thierry Neuville believes it’s the setup choice on his car that has prevented him for fighting for victory on the Monte Carlo Rally, not the actual pace of the Hyundai i20 N Rally 1.

Toyota has dominated the 2023 World Rally Championship season-opener so far, with Sébastien Ogier and Kalle Rovanperä first and second, while Neuville is a further 16 seconds back.

Neuville has claimed two stage victories, putting an end to Toyota’s 100% record on SS12 before winning SS13, but over the course of the weekend Hyundai has been unable to consistently match the pace of its rival.

But while many quicky jumped to the assumption that Toyota has taken a step forward with its GR Yaris Rally1 this year, Neuville isn’t quite so sure.

He’s happy with the pace of his car, but believes the approach he took to setting it up for the event is what’s actually held him back.


“No, I think the car is not the problem,” Neuville said when DirtFish asked what is going to be first on the list to sort with the car after the rally.

“It’s the setup we have and we are… we can’t change it at the moment because we decide to be… we had something which worked in quite dry and probably much better in wet and slippy conditions and now we can’t change.

“We have to stick with that. So that’s it.”

He backed up that thought by pointing to the fact that in the tight technical sections of Monte’s stages, he was setting similar times to the Toyotas. It was the fast sections where they had the advantage.

“We see that in the twisty narrow sections, we are up to speed. It’s in the fast section.

“We are moving around, we have less precision, the car is nervous a bit.

“So automatically you have to back off here and there where they can go just much faster.”

But although he knows the setup is hindering him, he’s not consigned himself to taking it easy on tomorrow’s final stages.


He could look at the long game, have a conservative start so that he can aim to win the powerstage, but when asked if he would, he was swift to respond.

“No. We have to drive,” was his response.

“They just need to do a spin or whatever. You don’t know.”

Words:Rob Hansford