Hyundai will ‘double down’ its efforts after reviewing the tough WRC opener.

The 2019 and 2020 WRC Manufacturers’ Champions faced a host of reliability issues during a particularly challenging start to the WRC’s new hybrid era, leaving the team well behind rivals Toyota and M-Sport Ford.

This week the team will sit down to address their issues, with team deputy director Julien Moncet confirming that his staff will now have to redouble their efforts to catch the opposition. Over the weekend, the i20 N’s performance improved, but its reliability issues, ranging from the engine, hybrid and suspension, proved to be its downfall.

With just one of his three i20 Ns finishing, Thierry Neuville finished sixth, albeit 7min 42.6s behind rally leader Sebastien Loeb after losing time to a broken front right damper. The Belgian also described his car as “scary” to drive on Friday’s stages but was able to win a test on Sunday.

Hyundai on Sunday decided to withdraw its entry for Oliver Solberg as the Swede and his co-driver Elliott Edmondson were unwell after two days of exposure to exhaust fumes entering their car. The problem contributed to Solberg losing concentration and going off the road on stage 10, losing 35 minutes in the process.

Ott Tanak had to retire on Saturday night after rolling over a rock face on slick tires on an icy section of stage 11. He had already sustained a puncture before and only had a spare with him, so a second puncture occurred after the crash, it ended his rally.

Moncet expected a tough start as the team caught up with their rivals who had previously settled on the new rules. He explained the situation his team is facing as ‘bad’ but ‘under control’ with a month until the next round in Sweden.

“It was a very tough rally,” Moncet told Motorsport.com.

“We knew it would be difficult to get here. We finished the cars just in time. We’ve had a lot to do in the past few weeks, so we knew it was going to be a challenge.

“When you start a race you always expect more and we’re just not where we’d like to be.

“We’re here to win and that’s quite disappointing. Nevertheless, we have learned quite a few things since we were able to measure ourselves against our competitors with our car for the first time.

“We’ve seen that when the car is running smoothly, the power is there, so that’s a positive.

“One car is ready, we won a stage, but we know that we still have to work harder and push even harder.

“We must ask all the people who have been here in Monte Carlo and at the factory to redouble their efforts.

“We still have some time until Sweden, so we have the opportunity to continue testing with our car and even more time until Croatia. The situation is bad but still under control.”

Julien Moncet, Team Principal Hyundai World Rally Team

Photo by: Romain Thuillier / Hyundai Motorsport

While reliability was the team’s main concern, Neuville believes the team also needs to work on improving the car’s performance.

“At the end of this rally we are left with feelings of disappointment and frustration,” said Neuville.

“We had a tough weekend. I drove for my life on the Power Stage, I gave it my all so I was disappointed with the time.

“There was a lot of work behind the scenes to prepare for this event, by me and by me [co-driver] Martijn [Wydaeghe]as well as the team, so it’s hard to accept walking away without a reward.

“We won’t give up. We’re trying to keep everyone motivated and we’ll keep pushing.

“The will is definitely there and that is important. There are several areas we will work on, but the most important is reliability. We need to be much stronger for the upcoming events.”

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