Friday | 06 Aug 2021

Asphalt return gives Hyundai boss Adamo more faith

Hyundai Motorsport boss Andrea Adamo admits he has more belief in his team’s car on asphalt ahead of next week’s Renties Ypres Rally Belgium (13 - 25 August).

A torrid opening half of the FIA World Rally Championship culminated in Ott Tänak retiring his i20 World Rally Car from the lead with shattered suspension in Portugal and Italy, before Thierry Neuville did likewise for a third rally in Kenya.

The squad bounced back with a double podium at Rally Estonia last month thanks to Craig Breen and Neuville. Now team principal Adamo is eyeing the return to sealed-surface roads in Belgium for the first of three asphalt fixtures in the final five rounds.

“We are more confident in the performance of our Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC on Tarmac, but we recognise the challenge that a new event poses, especially with the competition so tight between crews,” said Adamo, ahead of Belgium’s maiden WRC appearance.

Video: Renties Ypres Rally Belgium preview

“Our objective is to pick up where we left off in Estonia, where we took a double podium finish, and to try our best to compete for the victory.”

Hyundai trails Toyota Gazoo Racing by 59 points after five straight wins for the Japanese manufacturer. It heads to Ypres with home hero Neuville and Breen as former winners of a rally in which the other frontrunners lack experience of the narrow farm roads.

“It’s Thierry and Martijn’s (co-driver Wydaeghe) home rally, so they will have extra motivation but generally speaking we know what we have to do and what we expect of ourselves and our crews,” Adamo added.

Toyota team principal Jari-Matti Latvala acknowledged his team could be on the back foot with Sébastien Ogier, Elfyn Evans and Kalle Rovanperä all starting in Ypres for the first time.

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“It will be a challenge for us against those who know the roads well, but generally our car has been very competitive and our drivers have been very comfortable on asphalt,” explained Latvala.

“So this is something that can bring us confidence together with our strong position in the championship, which means we can run at the front of the field where the road should be cleanest.”

• Full coverage from Renties Ypres Rally Belgium will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.

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