Andreas Mikkelsen takes home a lot of positives home from Rally Spain and his debut from Hyundai Motorsport. – Even though the tarmac stages turned out to be a bit more challenging than I expected, it has definitely been a rally that gave us many good answers, he says.
The Spanish event is the only event on the calendar with mixed surface, where you start on gravel on the first day and then finish with two days on tarmac. After the first day, Andreas and co-driver Anders had an impressive overall lead, which no one had anticipated in their first outing in the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC. However, with limited testing on tarmac it was expected that day two and three would be more challenging.
– It’s been a weekend with a lot of positives. I was very pleased with our performance on gravel. And to be leading after day 1, with a new team and a new car, that was fantastic. I would never think that would be the case. But the tarmac was a bit more challenging than I thought, he admits.
Andreas were hoping to find a good rhythm that would help him keeping a comfortable pace, fast enough to be fighting with the fastest. But he quickly learned that more testing was needed to find the best way to drive the car.
– I know every car is different, but I have to admit I was expecting more of myself on the tarmac stages. It was very challenging, and I struggled to find the good feeling, even though I came closer to it towards the end of the rally. We did changes to the set up during the rally, which was more suitable for my driving style. We know there are more than can be done, but we could not continue with that during the event.
On Saturday afternoon, he had to retire after an impact which damaged the steering, but he was able to restart again Sunday morning.
– Looking back, I have to say I am very pleased with what we did. The gravel part went extremely well, but we still need to learn more about the car when it comes to tarmac. But that will come, and there will be good results for us on tarmac with the Hyundai!