Hyundai prepares Latvia in Lithuania

In order to give itself every chance to compete with the Toyotas, which are still very strong on fast terrain, the Hyundai team will field Thierry Neuville and Esapekka Lappi at the start of the Lietuva Rally in Lithuania.

Published on 09/07/2024 à 07:20

Loïc ROCCI

0 View comments)

Hyundai prepares Latvia in Lithuania

Thierry Neuville will soon be an expert on the Baltic countries (Photo: Nikos Katikis/DPPI)

Who said that the manufacturers engaged in WRC didn't have enough budget to play their season? In order to save money, the FIA ​​decided last year to reduce the number of testing days. While there were 28, there are only 21 left. They must be distributed among the crews over a period of 12 months. While this rule is especially very penalizing for young people starting out in Rally1, it has pushed Toyota, Hyundai and a little M-Sport (especially in 2023) to find perhaps even more expensive solutions to make better preparations. As the performances between the Yaris and the i20 are very close, every detail counts. This delights certain organizers who see the arrival of a factory team in their service park. This will be the case this weekend during the Lietuva Rally in Lithuania.

This season, the WRC offers to revise your knowledge of the geography of the Baltic countries. For four years, the World Cup went to Estonia, but this year it will discover its southern neighbor from July 17 to 21. In order to arrive there perfectly prepared, Hyundai allowed its entire workforce to complete a test beforehand to familiarize themselves with this terrain, the main characteristic of which is that it is very fast.

Immediately after Poland, Ott Tänak continued with the sleeve of theERC raced in his country. This week, Thierry Neuville and Esapekka Lappi will be in Lithuania. Absent since March and the Safari in Kenya, this will be an excellent opportunity for the Finn to return to competition. As for the Belgian, this opportunity was not originally planned since only EP appeared on the entry list. In Poland, the championship leader believed that it would not be a bad thing for him to have such participation outside the WRC and that his turn would come. Thierry and Esapekka will have to be more productive than Ott Tänak who only covered a few kilometers in Estonia before making a scary exit. The 2019 world champion has already proven that this type of accident does not affect him too much, but he will have to be courageous to set off on the Latvian boulevards which promise pretty crazy average speeds.

The investment made by Hyundai to prepare for the 8e meeting of the season shows that the team wants to do everything to win the two titles. This perhaps also comes in reaction to Toyota which will line up 4 Yaris in Latvia and 5 in Finland. In addition to quantity, the TGR will rely on Kalle Rovanperä and Sébastien Ogier in Latvia then in Finland, which was not planned in the preamble.

Raced on land, Lietuva is based in Mažeikiai. Located in the north of Lithuania, the city is 300 km from the capital Vilnius, but above all it is a few kilometers from Latvia. Neuville and Lappi will have to tackle 103,54 km timed divided into 13 special stages.

ALSO READ > Looking for new female talents in WRC

Loïc ROCCI

Journalist specializing in rallying past, present and future... and with a southern accent

0 View comments)