So, Julien Moncet thinks he’s had some tricky conversations this season. Trust me, they’re nothing compared with the chat he could be having in 24 hours’ time.
And nothing would give Hyundai Motorsport’s deputy team director more pleasure than to be put in such a tricky position on Saturday night.
As it stands, Thierry Neuville leads fellow Hyundai i20 N Rally1 driver Ott Tänak on Ypres Rally Belgium by 2.5 seconds.
Were this the end of day two and not Friday night, in Moncet’s strategic thinking, the local hero would have done enough to land a second successive Ypres win.
Team orders – a subject rarely off the table under Andrea Adamo’s previous regime – are officially back on the table.
Asked what his thoughts were about dictating a finishing order, Moncet told DirtFish: “Definitely not for tomorrow, tomorrow they are doing their day. Then we will see tomorrow night…”
Nice. Which would you fancy? Would you tell Tänak’s he’s got to give up on back-to-back wins for the first time since Finland-Germany in 2019? Or would you kick Neuville’s hopes of a second successive home win into touch?
Neither’s a conversation to be relished, but Moncet’s got to be ready for such a situation. The last Hyundai 1-2? Here in Belgium last year. There’s a symmetry in there.
We might be simplifying this one slightly though. Let’s not forget Elfyn Evans’ Toyota is running third and only 11.2s behind the Estonian i20.
There’s no denying, though, this has been Hyundai’s day. And Moncet saw it coming.
“To be honest we were expecting some good result here in Ypres,” he said.
“It’s quite satisfying to see less than two weeks ago [we won] in Finland on fast gravel, and now on the Tarmac the car can be competitive. The car and our drivers can be competitive so it’s very satisfying for us.
“Still, we are just at the end of the first day, we have to be careful but yeah it’s a good day, both Thierry and Ott showed strong performances.
“Kalle [Rovanperä crashing] has helped a bit, but this is part of the game and you have to be there when the others have problems, it’s very good for us.”
Back to the team orders question, we missed the chance to ask Tänak, but Neuville offered a reasonable dismissal. For now.
“I’m not sure,” he told DirtFish, “there will be any team orders until the end of the weekend. And the target for me anyhow is to stay in front of Ott and Elfyn, so the battle is still on. So far I don’t think there’s any reason to give any team orders.”
Come back to us in a day.