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Mon 12 Dec 2022

Moncet: Safari was turning point of Hyundai’s season

Hyundai Motorsport deputy team principal Julien Moncet has identified a disappointing Safari Rally Kenya result as the turning point in the Alzenau-based squad’s 2022 season.

All three factory Hyundai i20 N Rally1s suffered at the hands of the rough African terrain, with Thierry Neuville the highest placed finisher in fifth place – more than 10 minutes behind Kalle Rovanperä’s winning Toyota. 

Despite Ott Tänak giving a hybrid Hyundai its first ever WRC win on the previous round in Sardinia, Moncet felt Kenya was the team’s low point.

“This rally was definitely waking us up in the team,” said Moncet. “Things were looking better than Monte Carlo and we had made some good results with the win in Italy and some other podiums, but then Kenya was a disaster.

“After this, the team reacted really well. The team was pushing for the whole season and before Kenya, we were definitely struggling with the supply of parts and reliability was tough. But after that event, like I said, the team reacted really well and we pulled together. The reliability was coming and then we could focus more on the performance of the car.”

Despite the tough first half of the year, Moncet said he never lost faith with the i20 N Rally1.

“It was difficult to know when we came to the season with the new cars,” he said.

“Everything was so new – were the other cars going to be seconds faster or slower? Nobody knew. But quite early, we could see we were going to be able to compete – already at round two in Sweden we could see the potential for the car.”

And that potential paid out with Moncet governing over Hyundai’s most successful season ever in terms of rally wins - with a record-breaking five in the year.