“We tried a lot of things”

And yet, the Belgian will have tried everything, always seeking to extract the maximum performance from his car while his opponent was on cloud nine with his mount.

“I was more or less satisfied with the car in Power Stage. Starting the weekend, I felt pretty good in the car. I felt in control in terms of balance and feel. We just had a problem with the balance in difficult conditions. I felt like, compared to last year, I wasn’t on the same speed in some sections. We tried both ways, softer and harder, and worked on the balance of the car. We have tried many things. We are trying to find more balance in order to match Seb’s times this weekend. We weren’t really worried. He was so strong, but we don’t know what was missing. We weren’t far. “

With Rally Catalunya already over, all eyes are on Japan, an event the teams could not really prepare for as testing will be banned.

“To be honest, currently we haven’t prepared much in Japan. Basically nothing. But I’m taking it event by event and I’m going to start preparing very soon. The goal will be to translate the information from this weekend into performances for Japan. If we achieve this, we will award Toyota challenge there.

It would be a great pleasure to win in Japan. It would be fun. It won’t be easy. It’s a big challenge. Toyota has been strong all season and with Kalle and Sébastien on the starting line, it will be even more difficult. So we have to work to see what we can do. It’s not just me. My teammate Ott also had good speed over the weekend. That’s what we want.

Asked about the identity of the next Hyundai driver for 2023, the Belgian cited a few names, some of which were more fanciful than others.

“We will find out. But the question has been raised many times. I have always backed Oliver for a fourth car. Maybe it was too much pressure for him and the step was too big compared to the R5 immediately. The decision has been made unfortunately. But it’s a decision for Hyundai now. Now the team will make the decision for the third driver. I don’t know who it will be. There are a lot of experienced drivers and rapids – Andreas, Elfyn, although I understand that Elfyn is not available. There is Jari (present in press conference), many good pilots who diffuse it. It is not for me to take the decision for pilots. What I love is having Ott as a teammate because he’s the best teammate I’ve ever had. It’s an extra challenge for me, but it’s also motivating for me.

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