Hyundai will satisfy Tanak's requests by bringing upgrades to the i20N

The team principal of Hyundai Motorsport, Cyril Abiteboul, says that his team will help Ott Tanak by satisfying his requests on the development of the i20N and believes that these improvements may be helpful for Thierry Neuville as well.

The Estonian driver did not start his season in a positive way as he had two finishes in the fourth place (Rallye Monte Carlo, Croatia Rally) and two restarts under the SuperRally regulations (Rally Sweden, Safari Rally) from which he was fighting for the victory on the winter rally of the championship. As he stated before the start of Rally de Portugal, his aim is to take some points back for the WRC title bid as the championship goes to the part of the season with seven consecutive gravel rallies. In fact, he and Martin Jarveoja were the highest-rewarded crew in Portugal and managed to score 26 points there by finishing in second place on the Saturday classification and being the fastest pair in Powerstage and SuperSunday classification. However, the things could be different for Tanak if a slow puncture did not hit him in Stage 13 as he was in the fight for the lead with Sebastien Ogier, but the first one did not give up until the end of Powerstage and was able to cut Ogier's lead to 7,9 seconds. Tanak overtook Adrien Fourmaux on the championship and close even more his gap from the second Elfyn Evans as their margin is now at seven points before heading to the next WRC round which will be held in Sardinia next week.

"I’m happy with Tanak’s performance as we are opening stint of seven rallies with a similar profile, so the fact, that not always but on occasions, he was feeling good with the car does show that we can expect something good from him in the following rounds", Abiteboul said.

"Having said that he has given us a clear direction of what he wants to change and again that is what we want. 

"From an engineering side, it is good to have a new perspective and angle on things on what we need to do, and we will endeavour to do that as soon as possible.

"We have some ideas, there is indeed some limitation, but we have some ideas, and we will be testing some stuff in relation to that, and maybe for introduction this year.

"We still need to confirm exactly the two jokers that we want to use for this year, so we have some leeway there.

"I think what is interesting that Thierry has been able to drive around those limitations and I think by doing so does cost him a bit of speed, and the fact that Ott is saying that he cannot do what Thierry is doing, there is something not quite right with the car. 

"By helping Ott I also believe he can help Thierry unlock an extra step.

"It is not just him building his confidence he doesn’t lack confidence or commitment it is about us coming with the mechanical solutions, so he has a better feeling for how the car is going to respond".


Photo Credits: Hyundai

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