Hyundai Motorsport announced on Tuesday that they will bring two WRC Rally 1 class cars to Estonia to compete at Rally DirtFish on August 7-8, driven by their two representative drivers: reigning world champion Ott Tänak and winner of Rally Monte Carlo 2020 Thierry Neuville.
In addition to Tänak and Neuville, talented Finn Jari Huttunen will also compete under Hyundai Motorsport.
Tänak said that he has missed driving a WRC car. "It's been a while since the last time we were able to drive the Hyundai i20 Coupe fast and obviously I've missed it," Tänak said. "It's about the same feeling you get when you haven't seen your best friend for a while. That's why this period of having to stay at home has been a challenge and the thought of driving again is very positive. I can't wait to compete and it's especially great to do so on familiar Estonian roads at Rally DirtFish."
"It's great that Hyundai is allowing Thierry [Neuville] to also compete here. His participation will definitely make the rally more competitive and will provide the fans with spectacular views. Organizers are really making an effort so that rally fans could have the chance to cheer the competition on whether on the side of the road or from at home," Tänak added.
The last time Neuville drove the roads of Estonia was in 2012 and is awaiting his return because roads here will most likely be the fastest of the season. "Sometimes at Rally Finland you get the feeling of driving in Estonia because of the fans," Neuville said.
"I am really looking forward to come to Estonia and I believe it will be an interesting and fast rally," he added.
Andrea Adamo, team boss of Hyundai Motorsport, confirmed Neuville's words of a passionate fanbase in Estonia. "I went to Estonia last year and saw how passionate the fans are there. Seriously, Estonia is an incredible country with a lot of rally fans. I understand that Rally Dirtfish organizers are working hard to allow at least a portion of the fans to come and cheer us on and I'm very happy about that," Adamo said.
"We have to admit that we've had problems with the type of soil that Estonia has, but since we're coming with two cars, it will give us the opportunity to collect valuable experience for actual conditions. It is a great opportunity to develop our car," the team boss said. He added that the schedule change for Rally DirtFish was also reasonable.
"I have to thank the organizers of Rally DirtFish," Adamo said. "Delaying the rally to August allows us to compete at Italian Rally di Roma and Rally DirtFish, which wasn't possible initially."
The CEO of DirtFish, Justin Simpson, is happy about the confirmation of Ott Tänak's participation and added that the efforts of Hyundai are good news for not only Rally DirtFish but for the sport in general. "The participation of Adamo and Hyundai Motorsport will take the rally to a completely new level," Simpson said.
"Knowing that we have two of the fastest cars in rally history in our starting line-up is fantastic. I hope that this will also attract other manufacturers to take part so we can provide an even more high level competition. Rally DirtFish will be special and I am more than happy that Hyundai will help us carry it out," Simpson concluded.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste