In the World Rallycross Championship’s visit to Finland last month, the GRX Hyundai team made a noticeable step forward after a trying first two rounds at Höljes.
The team returned to the fore on home soil at Kouvola – in the first event local wildcard Juha Rytkönen impressed by finishing second, while on the Sunday, Niclas Grönholm took the win, with team-mate Timur Timerzyanov in third.
The step forward came after a pre-event test in which two-time World Rally Champion and Niclas’ father Marcus Grönholm got behind the wheel to assess recent improvements.
“We were not happy with Sweden for sure,” Grönholm Sr told DirtFish. “We had the problems there with the grip and the dampers and the starts.
“We tried to fix many problems and now it looks like we are a bit better.
“Okay, we still have to find some tenths of a second for [points leader Johan] Kristoffersson but to the others we’re quite okay.”
While the improvements have brought the team back into the competitive fold, Grönholm admits that the difficult start to the year has left GRX with yet more work to do to make up that ground.
“I think we have done something good. The team has done a good step.
“We had a feeling with the car that we don’t feel the grip, it’s not biting on the Tarmac and it was understeering, but now many many small changes here and there have made it so that we are on the pace.
“We are back on track but we lost a lot of points in Holjes which makes it difficult for the championship when we have two races in Holjes, so it was not easy.”
Niclas Grönholm was equally philosophical, despite his round four win at Kouvola, telling DirtFish: “We did a bit better but [there’s] still some work to do I would say.
“I think it’s small things here and there which should be improved, then we’re on the right track.
“It’s not too far away but as we all know it’s quite close at the top and you need to perform, you need to have a good car in every condition.
“It’s a sport of small margins so we need to get all the puzzle pieces matching, then we can, I think, challenge for wins.”
After four of nine rounds, Grönholm is 35 points behind leader Kristoffersson, which is a larger gap than the Finn had to champion Timmy Hansen last year despite missing two rounds in 2019.