Tänak questions Hyundai’s role in hybrid unit issues

Hybrid problems blighted Tänak's first day on Rally Spain, and the supplier may not be at fault

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Ott Tänak has hinted that the hybrid boost problems that have hamstrung his opening day on Rally Spain are down to an issue on Hyundai’s side, although deputy team director Julien Moncet has disputed the idea.

On several of Friday’s stages, Tänak was left with either intermittent hybrid boost or none whatsoever. It left his i20 N Rally1 down on power and consigned him to fourth place overall, behind team-mate Thierry Neuville.

After remedying the issue at midday service the first time around by swapping units, the same thing then happened again on SS8.

DirtFish put it to Tänak that it must have been a particularly frustrating issue as it was out of his and Hyundai’s control. But he replied that it may not have been an issue arising from the hybrid issue supplier – rather, he hinted that the fault was potentially Hyundai’s doing.

“It’s not bad luck for sure,” Tänak told DirtFish. “It seems to be a similar issue to what we had this morning, so probably there needs to be something which is causing it. The guys need to find out what is the issue.

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“This exact case, I’m not sure if it’s outside from the team’s [control]. I don’t actually know why it’s happening; there must be some reason why it’s coming. We need to learn a bit.”

Unsurprisingly, Hyundai deputy team director Julien Moncet was quick to dismiss the notion that the team was in some way responsible for Tänak’s hybrid issues.

“You can argue that it’s quite a coincidence that it always happens on Ott’s car and two times today,” Moncet said.

“But as far as we know, the reason is still unclear. I just discussed with Compact Dynamics guys; it’s not really clear what has happened or why it is happening always on Ott. We will investigate definitely but currently we cannot point out anything.

“I would say that it looks like we’re OK on our side but I do not want to point out [anything] until when we will have the full analysis. Then we will see.”

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Moncet also pointed out how little it had affected Tänak’s ultimate performance, suggesting it was a minor variable compared to issues with tires that other crews had suffered during the opening day.

“As I say, definitely, it will not help the performance of the car,” he added. “It’s not a drama; we have seen some other drivers in the past even win stages without hybrid support. It depends as well on the grip. But tomorrow should be dry, so I think we will suffer a bit more.

“But it’s a concern; we have to see as well because we have a pool of kits and we maybe have to see as well how to manage that.

“It has affected Ott and hopefully it will not tomorrow. He has lost time but you see he’s still within 20s of first place. So it’s annoying – more than annoying – don’t get me wrong.

“For sure Ott will have a different point of view. But we are still in the game. Now I hope we can fix it for tomorrow.”