Officially a Hyundai Motorsport driver from today (1 January), world champion Ott Tänak talks for the first time about his maiden test in an i20 WRC.
Q. You drove the car in the French Alps for the first time last month. How was it?
A. I actually did a seat fitting before the first proper test, but that was just driving around slowly. The testing time is quite limited, so we didn’t want to be wasting time on the first proper test getting the seat sorted out. When I drove the car, straight away it was OK. It was good. It was driving easily and there was a good feeling for the car.
Q. The consistent conditions were conducive to a first test?
A. We had some ice places in the morning and then a little bit in the shade, but really the road was quite dry and consistent – this is good for learning the new car.
Q. Whose set-up did you use?
Thierry (Neuville) and Séb (Loeb) had already driven the car and their settings are not so far apart. The car was quite similar to them and I drove like this. Then we were just doing some fine-tuning to the car after that. That was helping me get comfortable with the car, but you know at this level, if the car’s good then the car’s good. And this is a good one.
Q. What do you need from the car for Rallye Monte-Carlo?
A. Monte Carlo is not normally so much about the peak performance, it’s not all about the speed you can make from the car. It’s such a tough event, it’s more about finding the comfort and confidence. A lot of that comes from the small details, but I got all I wanted from my comfort in the car.
Q. You test again in the coming days. What are you looking for in that test?
A. I want some more tricky conditions. I have an idea for the car in normal conditions, but now we need to find more snow and ice for the next Monte test.
Q. And what’s the welcome from Hyundai been like?
A. Really good. There’s no doubt this is a factory team, it’s obvious from the way the team is running it’s a very high level. They know what they’re doing, the feedback and support immediately was really good and very much at the top level. I’m happy.