Hyundai Motorsport stars eye better performance at Safari Rally

Hyundai Motorsport stars eye better performance at Safari Rally

With a win on some of the roughest European gravel in the season already done, Moncet is looking forward to this week’s trip to Naivasha.

The sixth leg of the World Rally Championship, the Safari Rally is set to rev-off in Nairobi on Thursday with many drivers hawk-eyed on the glory that it brings.

Apart from the individual honours, there will be another fierce battle in the background, the manufacturers’ duel.

Currently, defending champions Toyota Gazoo Racing are leading in the manufacturers' championship on 200 points, Hyundai Motorsport follows on 161 while M-Sport Ford is third on 120.

Hyundai’s mission to topple Toyota in the race was revived by the victory of their Estonian core driver Ott Tanak who clinched this month's the Rally Italia Sardegna .

“We are now getting our act together, we won in Italy and this improved our championship standings. We look forward to a similar outing in the Safari this week,” Hyundai youngster Oliver Solberg said.

“All the Hyundai drivers who have come to Kenya are on fire, they possess an insatiable appetite for success and indeed points that will be beneficial to our team's title chase"

“We have a good team atmosphere, we are learning tricks about our new car that will help us maneuver races being held in unfamiliar terrains like the Safari Rally,” Solberg added.

 Hyundai Motorsport deputy team principal Julien Moncet says his squad’s Rally Italia Sardegna victory has bolstered confidence ahead of the Safari Rally Kenya.

Last time out, Tänak and Dani Sordo delivered a double podium for the Korean manufacturer, bringing to an end what had been a tricky start to the 2022 season and the new generation of hybrid-powered Rally1 cars.

With a win on some of the roughest European gravel in the season already done, Moncet is looking forward to this week’s trip to Naivasha.

“What we did in Sardinia was a big relief for all of the team,” said Moncet. “We know it was a difficult start, we know we were a little bit late with the car, but now we are here in Kenya.

“Yes, we have more to do with the car and probably, we can’t get it all done before the Safari Rally. But in Sardinia everybody had a competitive car and we know where our car is now.

“We are looking for a strong result in Kenya, it’s what we need to catch back more points to Toyota. We were all very motivated before, but now it’s even stronger. Like I said, the start was tough, but nobody gave up, we all stayed motivated and we saw the result of this [in Italy].”

Hyundai is no stranger to the summit of the field at Safari Rally Kenya – Thierry Neuville led for all but two of the first 14 stages before suspension issues halted his i20 last year. Tänak made the podium with third, having been denied his chance of a win when his wipers failed on the final day.

The Alzenau-based team heads to round six of this season’s WRC 39 points behind series leader Toyota.

MANUFACTURER STANDINGS

1. TOYOTA GAZOO RACING- 200 points

Kalle Rovanpera

Takamoto Katsuta

Elfyn Evans

Sébastien Ogier

2. HYUNDAI MOTORSPORT – 161 points

Thierry Neuville

Ott Tanak

Oliver Solberg

3. M-SPORT FORD- 120 points

Craig Breen

Sébastien Loeb

Gus Greensmith

Adrien Fourmaux

Jourdan Serderidis

SHAKEDOWN RESULTS

1. Kalle ROVANPERÄ Toyota GR Yaris 3min 42.1sec 

2. Thierry NEUVILLE Hyundai i20 N +0.5sec 

3. Sébastien LOEB Ford Puma +1.8sec 

4. Ott TÄNAK Hyundai i20 N +1.8sec

 5. Sébastien OGIER Toyota GR Yaris +2.2sec 

6 Takamoto KATSUTA Toyota GR Yaris  +4.0sec 

7. Elfyn EVANS Toyota GR Yaris  +4.6sec 

8. Gus GREENSMITH Ford Puma +4.6sec 

9. Adrien FOURMAUX Ford Puma +4.8sec 

10. Craig BREEN Ford Puma +5.6sec 

Read more on : Motorsport

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