|Niclas Grönholm powering around the circuit in his Hyundai i20 Supercar.|
PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World RX Media
The Hyundai i20 Supercar proved to be one of the fastest cars around the Abu Dhabi circuit, but the Team Manager Jussi Pinomäki remains conscious of the challenges his team faces in Barcelona.
“For me, Barcelona feels almost like the real beginning of the season, because for the first race everything is always prepared in a little rush and there is a lot of unknown about your own team and your competitors," says Jussi Pinomäki, GRX Taneco Team Manager.
"Now everyone had the first real test and had enough time to draw conclusions out of it and improve where needed. But still, even though we had a decent pace in Abu Dhabi, I am sure that Barcelona will provide us with new challenges."
While Niclas Grönholm momentarily claimed the win in Abu Dhabi. The Finn was handed a three-second time penalty for a "pushing and passing" incident with Kevin Hansen. Grönholm secured a second place finish.
“I think we can expect to carry the momentum with us from the exciting first race of the season. As long as we don’t lose our focus, we can achieve great results, and this is a key for our future success,” says Niclas Grönholm.
The 1,135 km rallycross circuit in Barcelona consists of 60,4% tarmac and 39,6% gravel surface.
In 2018, Niclas claimed a fourth place for the GRX Taneco team in their debut race outlining the potential of their i20 Supercar.
“In dry conditions Barcelona track is very enjoyable, but can turn into a very tricky one with just a slight rain, so I hope for sunshine,” Grönholm adds.
The teams' second permanent driver Timur Timerzyanov did not have the cleanest of weekends in Abu Dhabi. The Russian suffered from punctures and also having to take avoiding action in the semi-finals. In a tussle with Liam Doran in the semi-final, he ran wide and lost third place.
“I was really happy with our pace in the first round of the season, and now we will be pushing even more to beat our opponents in the run to the finish line and to be on top," said Timerzyanov.
"Barcelona is a nice track and I have great memories from it as I scored my last podium there in 2016."
TEXT - Junaid Samodien