Nandan: asphalt progress brings optimism
Hyundai team principal Michel Nandan hopes changes to the i20 World Rally Car will transform its asphalt performance at next week’s ADAC Rallye Deutschland (16-19 August).
The German-based squad had a difficult run at the last asphalt event, March’s Corsica linea - Tour de Corse, where lead driver Thierry Neuville was plagued by persistent understeer.
After the rally, Nandan acknowledged his team could not continue having lacklustre performances on sealed surfaces.
Five months later, as he looks to hold on to leads in both the drivers’ and manufacturers’ championships, Nandan believes recent suspension and differential upgrades will enable Neuville, Dani Sordo and Andreas Mikkelsen to be more competitive.
“We struggled for performance on asphalt in Corsica earlier in the season, so we have carried out development tests with the i20 to make some progress in this area,” he explained.
“Our work has centred on suspension items as well as differential in an effort to improve the balance of the car. We want to demonstrate a more assured performance, but I am quite optimistic we can be competitive.”
Hyundai has enjoyed success at the Saarland-based rally in the past, with a 1-2 for Neuville and Sordo in 2014 giving the manufacturer its first win at WRC level.
Nandan hopes the five-day test the team conducted recently will allow them to hit the ground running.
“Rallye Deutschland is an important event for us, and one where we have built up a lot of good memories from previous seasons,” he added. “It requires a very different approach to other rallies, with a unique combination of stages. We had a more intensive five-day test ahead of this rally because of the unique mix of tests we will face.”
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