Thierry Neuville says he is learning where best to develop Hyundai’s i20 Coupe WRC from new team-mate Ott Tänak given the World Rally champion’s more recent experience of different machinery.
Tänak, who recovered from damaging his car on Friday’s opening day of Rally México last week to finish runner-up, drove for Toyota for two years prior to his move to Hyundai, and before that was at the M-Sport Ford outfit.
Neuville has driven for Hyundai since 2014, and said he was happy to listen to advice on where best to improve Hyundai’s 2020 challenger from Tänak, given his knowledge of the Yaris WRC with which he claimed last year’s drivers’ title.
“It is OK, the speed is there, it’s just when I start talking with Ott, who obviously has a good reference, there seems to be much more potential apparently,” Neuville told DirtFish.
“As I always say, it’s a long time for me that I didn’t drive any other car, so it’s really difficult for me to make a comparison.
“But obviously Ott coming from the Toyota, he has good feedback.
“We had some interesting chats, so hopefully we can push the team in this direction.”
Asked if there was a particular area of the car he and Tänak were focusing on improving, Neuville said: “Obviously the car is quite difficult to drive compared to the car he drove before, less progressive, so we need to work on that.
“He will tell us! The speed, we can go fast, but in some conditions we just lack a bit of confidence because the car is not so stable as we would like, and then you lose performance.”
Tänak broke his right-rear suspension against a bank on the second stage of the day last Friday and, despite finding a fix on the road section between stages, he and co-driver Martin Järveoja had to nurse the car for the remainder of the loop.
He said he was “glad we finished this rally” and that the data gathered in doing so would aid the development process.
“We have a lot more feedback and information now, so we just need to start working from here and definitely I’m looking forward to get the job started,” he said.