Hyundai urges critics to wait until Argentina to judge its new i20

The new Hyundai World Rally Car should not be judged until Argentina in April, says team principal Michel Nandan after its inconclusive Monte Carlo debut

Hyundai urges critics to wait until Argentina to judge its new i20

The New Generation i20 WRC is the first car to be designed and built completely by Hyundai Motorsport, with much expected from it following a six-month delay in delivery.

Nandan himself insisted the car would not compete until it was capable of beating the all-conquering Volkswagen Polo R WRC.

But on the first full day of competition in the 2016 World Rally Championship, Thierry Neuville lost two minutes to the leaders and Dani Sordo three.

Neuville battled back to finish in third place, scoring a debut podium for the car.

Nandan put the poor initial pace down to set-up errors.

"During the first days the car was not set-up for the conditions. It was our mistake," said Nandan.

"We should have done a full Tarmac setting."

He believes Rally Sweden will offer a clearer picture of how the car compares to its rivals, but thinks it best to wait until Rally Argentina in April to judge it.

Rally Sweden is the WRC's only full-snow rally, while round three in Mexico runs at high altitude and is not representative of the conditions the engines run under for the remainder of the season.

"Of course the car is better than the old one," said Nandan.

"There is no doubt about this.

"It's difficult to know how much closer because of the conditions [on the Monte] and running different tyres and then, of course, at the end of the event Sebastien [Ogier] was cruising.

"In Sweden we will know more about the speed from the car. The tyre choices will be all the same, so it's an event where you can probably see how much we have closed the gap [to Volkswagen].

"Normally, we would have looked at Portugal as the first representative rally, but now that's going to be Argentina as round three.

"We will know how we have progressed from there."

Neuville said Hyundai had made a lot of progress in Monte Carlo.

"We cannot say we are on fire when we are two minutes behind the winner, but we are learning more and we are improving the car," he said.

"We are still missing mileage and knowledge, but every kilometre this is getting better."

Asked if he was concerned by the day one pace, he added: "I wasn't worried at all. I knew about the settings, I knew I wasn't confident and I knew I was still learning.

"We should be quicker in Sweden with the rhythm. We have a good reference from last year and I hope we will be in the game from the beginning."

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