Hyundai junior driver Pierre-Louis Loubet says he still has some work to do to understand how the aerodynamics work on fast stages after his Rally1 debut on last weekend’s Rally Stars Roma event.
Loubet, Hyundai team-mate Dani Sordo and M-Sport gentleman driver ‘Pedro’ all contested the rally that ran alongside the opening round of the European Rally Championship – Rally di Roma.
Despite it being his first competitive outing in the i20 Coupe WRC, Loubet actually headed Sordo after the first leg on twistier, narrow roads but when the going got faster and more flowing on the Sunday, Loubet struggled to find the same feeling.
Last year’s WRC2 (now WRC3) champion acknowledged that this was the area he needs to work on most.
“The feeling was very good [on Saturday],” Loubet told DirtFish. “It was [a] more narrow road and the feeling was a bit better.
“[On Sunday] the feeling was a bit different, it’s more like Catalunya so it was a bit more difficult for me to find the feeling with the car but yes, I’m really happy and I think Dani [Sordo] he is a super good driver on Tarmac so to compare it’s good.”
When asked about how he progressed throughout the weekend, Loubet said: “On the brakes that’s the most important, I did a big step [from Saturday to Sunday].
“That was important and yes, I think I have to find how to feel the grip of the car more when it’s really fast and [the roads are] large.
“I already said this is the biggest difference, [on Saturday] in the narrow parts you didn’t feel so much aerodynamics but [on Sunday], yeah, it was a big gap [in performance] from that.”
This weekend’s Rally di Alba offers Loubet an immediate opportunity to put his aero learning into practice, as he makes his second appearance in the i20.
After Alba, Loubet will complete the remainder of the World Rally Championship season excluding Japan, so will tackle the lightning fast gravel roads of Estonia in September.
“On gravel [testing] with the car it was easier than on Tarmac so we’ll see,” he said.
“On Tarmac, I say it’s easier but it’s not true it’s always difficult to find the good line and all these things.
“On gravel you can move a lot more with the car and sometimes you have a better [feeling] so I hope to be in a good pace in Estonia. That will be tough but we will try.”