Neuville and Lappi working together on i20N development

Thierry Neuville and Esapekka Lappi are working together to develop the Hyundai i20N Rally1 this year saying that they are moving to the same direction after the team has already done some changes. 

The Alzenau-based team is trying to offer to its drivers a more stable and reliable car as EP, Neuville and Dani Sordo complained about the behavior of i20N in Monte Carlo last January. In addition to that, it was difficult for them to find the pace to push in the stages and this can be proved by the fact that the first victory of Hyundai came at sixth WRC round in Sardinia earlier this month. As FIA reduced the test days this year, it is more difficult for the teams and the Rally1 drivers to make further improvements on their cars and to select the right set-up for an event. For instance, all the teams had three days of testing for Portugal and Sardinia in comparison with last year where the drivers had a separate testing programme for each rally. However, it must be mentioned that Ott Tanak and Pierre-Louis Loubet have more testing days due to the fact that M-Sport Ford chose to field two Rally1 cars in 2023 while Toyota and Hyundai scheduled a half-day test for Elfyn Evans and EP respectively in Finland before the start of Rally Italia Sardegna.

"We are constantly changing things on the car and obviously we followed a bit Ott’s approach last year", Neuville said.

"I was always looking for something stiffer and more reactive, which we got now, but obviously I adapted to the softer car driving wise and now I have to come back to what I was used to driving in the past.

"And therefore, I was a bit off balance, and it got better during the Sardinia weekend.

"I learned a lot from Tänak as well on the technical side. 

"However yeah, our driving style was different.

"With EP we are more on a similar philosophy, so I think it’s going in a good direction".

Finally, Lappi stated: "We made completely, not completely, but a new setting which felt really good already in Finland on the small road.

"And then I took a risk.

"I take it here as I felt I don’t want to go with the same setting which we had in Portugal because we know what’s the speed with that.

"So I wanted to try something else and it’s working".


Photo Credits: Hyundai

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