Hyundai development driver Juho Hanninen was the first to sample the i20 World Rally Car back in May 2013.
This week in Sweden he’ll get his proper taste of competition in it. Wrc.com caught up with the Finn after a final day of testing on Sunday (2 February):
Q) Tell us about your snow preparations
“I’ve had three days in the car. Two days in Rovaniemi, Finland, in December and another full day today near Torsby in Sweden. Maybe 400 kilometres in total.”
Q) You’ve driven many different cars on snow – how does the Hyundai compare?
“Very positively. We saw today that it’s easy to drive and it didn’t give me any nasty surprises; all the time it was easy to control and the balance was good. Since the last test we made some adjustments to the differential and suspension and right from the first few runs today I saw them working. The feeling was very positive and there was no reason to try and make a new car today. I think we are ready for the rally.
Q) On Sunday you tested on roads close to the Rally Sweden stages. What were conditions like?
“The weather in Scandinavia has been quite peculiar; it has been cold for a long time and there has been a lot of snow but we have been missing one or two days of warmer weather to let the snow melt and give us the base ice layer. We had lots of snow at the test and good snow banks but pretty much straight away the surface wore down to the gravel. I believe it will be more or less the same on the rally.”
Q) So it’s going to be a tough rally for the studded tyres?
“I think so. Today we tried to do a lot of mileage with same tyres just to see. For sure it wont be so easy on Saturday when there are a lot of kilometres between the services. If conditions are like today then more or less straightaway the cars will be facing gravel. Yes it will be hard for the tyres, but luckily it will be the same for everyone. We need to think a bit and try and save them where we can.”
Q) What is your target for Rally Sweden?
"For sure the main target is to finish the rally; that’s the best way that we can achieve experience for everyone in the team. When it comes to the result, okay, it would be nice to be in the top but at the same time we need to remember where we are – it’s just the start of the project.”