Wed 16 Nov 2022

Moncet proud of Hyundai’s turnaround - but hard work must continue

Hyundai Motorsport deputy team principal Julien Moncet has talked of his pride in the Korean squad’s 2022 turnaround.

From one car finishing the season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo seven minutes behind the leader, to a record-breaking five wins – the last of which came in rival Toyota’s FORUM8 Rally Japan backyard – this has been a memorable season for Moncet and his team.

After that troubled opener, the Alzenau squad worked tirelessly on its i20 N Rally1 and had it turned into a winner by June’s Rally Italia Sardegna. Four further wins followed Ott Tänak’s Sardinian success to give Hyundai more wins than ever before in a season.

Across the second half of the year, Tänak and FORUM8 Rally Japan winner Thierry Neuville outscored title winner Kalle Rovanperä and Hyundai edged Toyota in points across the last six rallies.

“It’s a bit of a paradox,” Moncet joked. “This has been one of our most successful seasons, but we haven’t won any championships.

“When you look back to Monte, it was looking very difficult for us. We were late with the car and struggling for performance and reliability. 

“To be able to react so quickly as we did – especially when it was not easy to get parts – was something special and something the whole team can be proud of. Nobody in the team gave up and everybody kept on working, and this is what’s possible when you do that.”

Even though the 2022 season is done and dusted, Moncet insisted the hard work will continue behind the scenes at Hyundai.

Only 64 days remain until 2023’s season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo (19 - 22 January) and, before then, the team also has a number of seats to fill. Tänak departed the squad at the conclusion of Japan while Oliver Solberg was dropped from its books early in October.

“We still have work to do,” Moncet admitted. “I still consider the Toyota to be really strong but we are not far [behind] and we can win. I think all the cars are competitive everywhere.

“It’s going to be a challenge. To replace such a talented driver like Ott [Tänak] is very difficult. He is obviously one of the best drivers of our day, but on the other hand it’s exciting because maybe it’s an opportunity to discover and to work with someone else with different experiences and feedback.”

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Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM