Hyundai boss anticipates "exciting" battle for Rally Japan victory

Julien Moncet – Hyundai Motorsport’s Deputy Team Director – is predicting an “exciting” finale to Rally Japan, the concluding round of the 2022 FIA World Rally Championship campaign.
Hyundai boss anticipates

Hyundai driver Thierry Neuville produced a late burst of speed at the wheel of his I20 N Rally1 car on the final two Saturday stages to snatch top spot from the Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 car of overnight leader, Elfyn Evans.

As things stand, the pair are separated by four seconds, and with five stages totaling 43.75-miles still to run on Sunday, Moncet believes fans can look forward to a grandstand finish at an event that us making its return to the series for the first time since 2010.

The weather could also have a say as to who finishes where given that rain is forecast. “We are very excited by the current result here – Thierry did a very strong afternoon, so it is very exciting for tomorrow. We are looking forward to it,” said Moncet.

“With the uncertainties around the weather, it makes it even more exciting. And with Ott [Tanak] on the podium, it looks good for the whole team so far.”

Adding to the anticipation between Neuville and Evans is the fact Japan is the home country of Toyota, while Hyundai is based out of Seoul in South Korea, approximately 591-miles north west.

Moncet admits it would be great for morale to get one up on this year’s manufacturers’ champions. “We have a lot of people from Korea here this weekend, so for us it would mean a lot to win here as well as to finish on a high as we prepare for next season,” he explained.

“To win is always better. Tomorrow, it will be all about getting through the uncertain weather conditions with unique tyre choices for the whole loop – and to keep the lead until the end.”

If Neuville can hold his position it would mean the Belgian taking just a second win of the season in a car that he is gradually starting to gel with on sealed surface rounds.

“The rain is just going to make it a bit more exciting,” he said. “To start the season with a win is great but to finish it with a win is also great. Let’s see what we can do.”

Read More