What M-Sport and Hyundai learned on their Italian tour

Two WRC team bosses sit down to discuss the hard life of rallying in the sun


DirtFish caught up with World Rally Championship team bosses Andrea Adamo and Richard Millener after Rally di Alba to get the story from their side on what it’s been like to have been thrust back into rallying action.

They gave a digested recount (quite literally) of the Hyundai Motorsport and M-Sport experience on Rally di Roma and Alba as a countdown of the five biggest things they learned, with Hyundai’s local man Adamo starting with number five.

Andrea Adamo: The first thing that we have learned about is that it’s a nice place where Rich and myself can have nice dinners together and enjoy the time together. But, officially we have just sandwiches and water because it’s important that people do not think that we enjoy too much. We have to look like we have suffered a lot in these days because we have to come back home and cry for this and that, and so this is important to say.

It’s been very tough, we suffered a lot, it was very hot, it was difficult to put together lunch and dinner in these days, we we’re so busy, sometimes Rich and myself we found ourselves sharing a sandwich, a bottle of water so the first thing that we learned is that Rich and myself, we can survive with very poor meals and poor drinking.

Richard Millener: *nods solemnly in agreement*

AA: So, it’s good for the rest of the WRC season that looks like it’s going to happen in Estonia, Turkey, and we don’t know. So we are already planning good budget cuts. We suffered a lot this weekend.


Photo: Hyundai Motorsport

So the first thing that we learned: we can survive with poor meals.

RM: Yes indeed. Now I go home and we recover, and go back to English temperatures and I can enjoy myself again because I have no more team clothing left, it’s completely destroyed. My number four, I think, is to say congratulations to the organizers who did a very good job in creating a rally.

After Rome last week there was a lot of pressure for this smaller rally to come alive with all these regulations that we have to now get used to, and I think it’s been very interesting for us to see how it’s done and hopefully that means we can see some more events this year in WRC and everything else, so that’s been great to see, and [it’s] been great to be a part of here in Italy.

The first two rallies back again really. For us to be here has been really good.

So that’s my number four. Number three now. We didn’t think about this beforehand so nobody knows what to say.

AA: That’s true, but while you were speaking I wished to say something that… I try to explain the best I can with my poor English, but as long as you and Marko understand me it’s good.

We learned that we can work together, and if you really wish to do something together, we can. We spoke at lot, to be together in Rome, here. I think that we learn and we get that we have a passion for this work.


Photo: Hyundai Motorsport

We are fighting each other because it’s our job but we know also [to] work together and make the things happening and understand each other and understand the needs to let the WRC, the things going on.

The thing that we learned the most, not only in Rome and Alba, but in the last month, is that we can work together to get the best out of a difficult situation.

If I learned something out of this tricky month, it’s that we are all sensitive persons, we are all in the same boat and we have to and we are doing really trying to help each other and the common objective pass together and keep the WRC alive and kicking and even stronger than before.

RM: I think that’s probably my number two as well. I kind of agree because I think it’s been great to see the WRC drivers of Andrea’s team here for all the local fans, but also the fact that we had three more local people – Italians – in the WRC cars. Which is a dream for a lot of them.

I think it’s really good to show these cars as much as we can when we get the opportunity, and it’s really important for all the local people to see them, because you don’t often get to see these kind of cars.

So that’s been really exciting for them, [it] brings a whole new atmosphere to the event and hopefully we can see them more as we go forward, because bringing the top drivers to these kinds of rallies is something really special.


Photo: M-Sport

People will remember this for a long time now. And like Andrea said it’s been really good to work together on this away from the WRC, where maybe we try to fight more often, but behind the scenes we know that we need each other to survive so that’s been really good to have a good working relationship and hopefully we can carry that on through the year.

They are my points, and it’s Andrea’s home rally, so he can have number one. It’s up to him now.

AA: I bring back home one important thing, that I knew already, and I think Rich knows as well as me. Drivers and co-drivers are competitive beasts and you can tell them ‘we go there for testing’, ‘we have to be there to be focused and developing’, and everyone says ‘yeah yeah yeah’, we have to share. And also for the FIA when these thing say we have to: ‘yeah yeah yeah’.

As long as they see a set of traffic lights that became red, and they start to see something that looks like a stage time at the end of the stage with name, the ECU that they have somewhere got some bugs, I don’t know, and all the things get mixing, you have to retune every time and say [to them]:

“This is a test, we have to check…”

“Yes but…” [full revs]

This is the thing. Okay, on the other end we love them because they are like this and they are so competitive.

RM: It’s the stress we love.

AA: Yeah, I guess so. But it’s good on the other end because if they have not thought about this, [it] means they are not ready. I would say that I see them up and running, ready to go back to WRC because there is a sort of competitivity and things that is related to the five, four, three, two, one and the flag at the end and stage time, it’s there.

At the end I’ve been told that once you have race horses you can not manage, and so it’s what I… maybe I’ve not learned here but I’ve been definitely refreshed.

RM: You might’ve been four months away, but now that’s gone.

AA: Yeah definitely. It’s like a wake up call, but it’s nice.