Mon 31 Oct 2022

Neuville: We can challenge Toyota in Japan

Thierry Neuville is hopeful Hyundai Motorsport can challenge Toyota on its home round of the FIA World Rally Championship next month.

The Belgian, who finished a close second to Sébastien Ogier’s Yaris last time out, was guarded in his review of Rally Spain, but admitted there was optimism that the pace of the i20 N Rally1 could be enough to challenge the GR Yaris Rally1 at FORUM8 Rally Japan (10 - 13 November).

Neuville self-admittedly struggled to find the total sweet spot in Salou, struggling with understeer in some stages while lacking confidence in the dirtier sections. Despite that, he and co-driver Martijn Wydaeghe made continual developments to the car’s set-up.


“Sometimes you have to accept that somebody is stronger,” said Neuville. “And [in Spain] Sébastien Ogier was stronger than us. It wasn’t a big difference in time and we kept changing things to try to find the time. I wouldn’t say they made the car better, but I don’t think they made the car worse. 

“The target now has to be to take this information and use it for the next rally in Japan – where we would like to beat Toyota on their home soil.”

Close Calls: RallyRACC - Rally de España 2022

Deputy team principal Julien Moncet was similarly optimistic on the i20’s performance post-Spain. Ott Tänak finished fourth overall while Dani Sordo, driving the team’s third car, placed fifth. 

“Three cars in the top five and with Thierry in second place, it’s not a bad result,” he added. “We were missing a little bit of pace for the fight to win, so that’s a bit frustrating, but we know that we can always improve the car. It’s an ongoing process of improvement.

“We don’t know much about Japan, but we know we want to win over there.”

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM