After undergoing development during the off-season, Hyundai has made great strides with its i20N this season but is still behind the championship’s pacesetting Toyota GR Yaris on both reliability and performance.
With one round of the season remaining, Hyundai has scored 14 podiums, the same as it had amassed at this point last season, albeit with one less victory, and has been unable to halt Toyota from sealing a third consecutive constructors’ title.
After signing the experienced Francois-Xavier Demaison as technical director, Hyundai is pushing forward on its development strategy with its i20N. The next step of that process is to utilise the October joker development window, but the fruits of that won’t be felt until next year.
Reliability remains a concern for the team, and was best illustrated by the propshaft failures it suffered at Safari Rally Kenya in June. Ensuring the i20N improves in the reliability department is the main focus for this development joker, ahead of a push to upscale the car’s performance.
Team principal Cyril Abiteboul has confirmed to Motorsport.com that the team won’t rush to debut any reliability upgrades at the final event in Japan later this month.
“We have done what we need to do. We still have the homologation to pass which is a bit later so we know very well what we want to do and we have a good idea of what we want to do in 2024,” Abiteboul said.
Photo by: Fabien Dufour / Hyundai Motorsport
Thierry Neuville, Martijn Wydaeghe, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1
“The 2024 jokers are well in advance in terms of development, so FX has got his hands on the technical strategy.
“We are pushing as hard as possible because we wanted to give him as much time as possible to make his judgement of the priorities and then to design the parts and then to test them. It is coming for next year.
“As I have said, unfortunately we are in a position where we have some reliability weaknesses in the car as we have shown publicly this year like in Kenya and in other places, so this is the priority.
“We hope to fix the reliability so we have none of these issues next year when we have two very strong drivers fighting for wins and hopefully the championship. Then we can move on and start developing the performance of the car.”