Every round of the World Rally Championship is important to a manufacturer that is investing millions to be there, but Arctic Rally Finland carries that little bit of extra importance to Hyundai Motorsport.
Team principal Andrea Adamo has offered DirtFish an explanation as to why with a fiercely forthright analysis of his team’s failings at the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally.
After making his feelings clear in the team’s post-event communication – admitting things had to change after “totally the wrong approach” to round one – Adamo has now set out what it was that went wrong.
“There was a lack of commitment and stupid mistakes, sadly,” he told DirtFish.
“The team did not prepare and work in the way it should’ve done for different reasons. And me, first of all, I was not 100% behaving in the way I should do. Because I should, in my role, have avoided them and worked to stop them to happen.
“I didn’t do this in the past, [but this time] I was [doing them]. The first one I point the finger to is myself and I’m the first one I question after Monte Carlo that I should change the approach of these things to make sure it’s not happening again.
“I don’t like to put excuses on the table, but if I have to make some cold analysis, what my people have done last year has been amazing. To work with the limitations, with quarantine and the home office, it does not help at all.
“The car’s performance improved a lot and this all came with an expensive bill: people didn’t come back home for three months, they didn’t see parents relatives, family, children for months because they knew if they went home they couldn’t go to the rally or the test because they will be stuck for quarantine.
“The level of stress everybody was piling up to Monza last year was very high. Monza was the needle that was piercing the balloon and after that everybody was a little bit destroyed because the level of tension was very high. Me? Honestly? I was a little bit smashed after this event.”
Now we have to show how we can bounce back. There is no alternative.Andrea Adamo
Crucially – and to the detriment of the team’s preparations – the six-week off-season brought no respite.
Adamo added: “After Monza there was no quarantine and people had to take holiday. Instead of recovering, we have to start immediately with the Pirelli test. Let me say the preparation for Monte Carlo has not been done in the way it should have been and neither the management of the rally itself.
“When you have these things happening you have to dig, dig, dig to find out why. If you want to win you have to go deeper to the problem. We were not in Monte in the way we should be. Have we fixed this? The answer will be in a few weeks, we will see if what I did with my people has allowed us to catch back what we have to have to win rallies.
“I know my people, I know my crews. I know the way they’re preparing it and I think we are working very hard. We did all what we could to be ready 100%. I was in Finland [at the tests] because I wanted to show my people it’s easy for me to tell people to do more when I’m sitting in my warm office, I want to show people first and I’m here with them.
“I see the crews, everybody is very focused and I see the commitment changing. I remember Markku Alén saying when I was younger: ‘It’s been a big wake-up call in Monte Carlo!’
“Now we have to show how we can bounce back. There is no alternative. We have to. Full stop.”