Wednesday | 24 Feb 2016

WRC Q&A: Michel Nandan

Hyundai's new i20 world rally car made its long-awaited debut at Rallye Monte-Carlo and finished on the podium there and on the championship’s second round in Sweden.

Highs so far include Hayden Paddon's second place in Sweden, but there have been problems too, most notably Thierry Neuville's time loss in Sweden when his car lost rear-wheel drive.
We asked Hyundai's team principal Michel Nandan for his thoughts on the season so far.

Q: Two rallies done, how do you assess the performance of the new i20?
MN: "It's difficult to judge, but so far not going so bad. We managed to do some good times but still have to improve because I don't think we are on the level, it is missing a bit. In general I would say I'm relatively satisfied."

Q: Can you explain the problem that affected Neuville's car in Sweden?
MN: "It was related to the rear-differential cooler. Both the diff and the cooler were okay but a fitting between the two units became loose and the oil leaked out. We have since modified the way the fitting is installed in the car so it can't get loose."

Q: Any other technical changes planned for the cars in Mexico?
MN: "No. We'll run some different settings there, but technically the specification of the hardware, engine, suspension and so on is exactly the same as in Sweden."
Q: The season started with two specialist rallies in Monte-Carlo and Sweden. When do you think we'll get a true picture of the new car's performance relative to the competition?
MN: "I think Mexico's stages will give us an idea, but the altitude makes a big difference to engine management. Okay, it's true that we did some altitude compensation testing, but the best rally to give a true comparison will be Portugal. Argentina is an unknown because so much depends on the stage conditions. If they are as rough as they were last year then we'll have other issues to solve and the car set-up will be a compromise."

Q: How is the 2017-spec car coming along?
MN: "We are still in the design phase although some parts have been released. In terms of timing we are on track. The plan is to have the complete car ready in June but for sure we will test some items before then on the 2016 car."

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