The Frankfurt team admitted they only just got the three all-new hybrid factory cars ready in time for the French Alps in January – and asphalt testing ahead of the Monte was hit by a sizeable crash for Thierry Neuville. The Zagreb-based third round will offer a clear indication of how much progress Hyundai Motorsport has been able to make since January.
“Tarmac was definitely our weak point,” said Ott Tänak. “Because of the way the testing regulations are, we can’t do too much development – we have, basically, one day for each of the three drivers.
“We need to make these three days work and make some useful testing time. The guys in the workshop are all working really hard and like I have said before, I can see some big potential with this car.”
Tänak will be hoping the all-Tarmac Croatia Rally provides a change in fortune for him following a miserable start to the season for the Estonian.
Team-mate Neuville demonstrated the pace and potential of the i20 at round two in Sweden. The Belgian was delighted with his second place, but echoed Tänak’s feelings that Tarmac remains an area in need of attention from the team.
“I know everybody in the team is working flat-out to make the car better on Tarmac,” said Neuville. “We know we are not where we want to be, but I’m sure we will get it right and we’re going to be competitive over there.
“Sweden was good – especially on Friday. I was missing a little bit of balance and confidence with the car on the second and third days, but it was still good to be able to bring some points home for the team.”