Hyundai yet to fully utilize its Finland test site

Unseasonable weather has prevented the team from making the most of its new location prior to Rally Finland


Hyundai Motorsport’s decision to nominate Jämsä, Finland as one of its permanent World Rally Championship testing sites should have paid dividends for this weekend’s Rally Finland – but Ott Tänak has revealed the team only first properly used it last week.

Current rules for testing Rally1 cars allow each competing team to designate one stretch of road (not exceeding 7.45 miles) in Europe as a permanent site, plus a separate systems check site (typically the factory) with a maximum distance of 1.42 miles.

Since rejoining the WRC back in 2017 Toyota is yet to be beaten on Rally Finland while Hyundai has typically struggled, so the move to copy Toyota and have a permanent testing road in Finland was a shrewd one from Hyundai.

But, appearing on DirtFish’s brand-new team talk show on Wednesday night, Tänak disclosed that unseasonable weather in Finland has prevented Hyundai from fully utilizing its new location.

“We have the test base here but we haven’t been able to use it,” Tänak said. “We only [got out there for the] first time last week.

“This year because the winter was really long and it took a long time to dry out the roads, the roads were very soft in the spring so only now we were able to do some running.”

That, of course, is a problem that also affected Toyota and technical director Tom Fowler said as such back in May.

But it’s a bigger blow for Hyundai which is currently chasing its tail while Toyota looks to have both the most reliable and the fastest car at the moment.

Despite this, deputy team director Julien Moncet is hopeful of a more positive outing in Finland than in Estonia where he admitted his cars were further from the ultimate pace than expected.

“Historically we have never been very, very good in Finland but now it’s a new car, new regulation so I think we have to forget a bit about the past but yeah, we are a bit disappointed by our pace in Estonia,” Moncet told DirtFish.

“Personally I was expecting much better and we have never been even close to the pace of the Toyotas, so for sure we have very good drivers but we have to give them the best possible car.


“For sure it’s difficult, even for me,” Moncet added when asked how mentally challenging this period is for the team.

“We do our team briefing every Wednesday and I have my motivational speech and it’s getting more and more difficult, because we know pretty much where we are. We know where we want to be but it will take some time, so we have to be a bit patient.

“We know as well that the championships are bit compromised to say the least, so we have to look forward to the future, to the development but what I try to say is due to the regulation that the cars are homologated for three years and so on, every small step that we do even this weekend is a step that we will bring with us for the next two and a half years.


“So we should not give up, I think we can still do some nice results. We can maybe still win some races from time to time and focus on the development for next year.”

Will that win come in Finland?

“I don’t think so,” said Tänak.

“We are going for the top, but how it plays out, let’s see.”