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Fri 29 Jul 2022

Moncet sets sights high for Finland

Hyundai Motorsport boss Julien Moncet has set his drivers the tough target of improving on last year’s second and third place finishes at next week’s Secto Rally Finland (4 - 7 August).

Deputy team director Moncet was disappointed with the pace of the squad’s i20 N Rally1 cars at this month’s Rally Estonia. He acknowledged that more development was needed on fundamental parts to match the dominant Toyota GR Yaris cars ahead.

The gravel roads near Jyväskylä are even faster than those across the Gulf of Finland but Moncet remains optimistic that Ott Tänak, Thierry Neuville and Oliver Solberg can overcome the balance and handling problems that have plagued the team this year.

“Although Finland was not an event we had traditionally performed well at previously, we were able to get two crews on the podium last year and that was a great achievement for us,” he said.

“It is our hope that we can do the same at this year’s rally, if not do even better.”

Tänak finished runner-up last season with Craig Breen, now driving for M-Sport Ford, claiming the bottom step of the podium at an event that was held two months later than the 2022 fixture in Finland’s autumn.

Estonian Tänak was third on home roads a fortnight ago and Moncet believes the knowledge gained from that rally will help his team at the eighth round of the FIA World Rally Championship.

“Estonia was good preparation for us as it is a similar type of event. The gap between Estonia and Finland has been very short so we must manage our expectations slightly, however we will still push to the limit,” he added.

Tänak is the most experienced of Hyundai’s trio in Finland. This will be his 12th start and he has banked back-to-back wins in 2018 and 2019.

“With how fast the stages are and the number of crests you really need a car that stays on the ground and is also very precise. The set-up is challenging but we have confidence we can perform well,” explained the 34-year-old.

“Finland is always special and I have a lot of respect for the rally. I’ve been there many times in the past, but every time you arrive there you still get the same ‘wow’ effect because it is a great event and the roads are definitely made for rallying.”

• Full coverage from Secto Rally Finland will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park

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