WTCR champion Gabriele Tarquini tries Hyundai World Rally Car
|By David Evans||Monday, June 17th 2019, 15:02 GMT|
Defending World Touring Car Cup champion Gabriele Tarquini tested a Hyundai i20 Coupe World Rally Car on gravel for the first time in Sardinia on Monday.
Tarquini drove the car on a stage close to the Alghero base for last week's Rally Italy, with Hyundai Motorsport director Andrea Adamo as his co-driver.
Before he drove, Tarquini was given a demonstration of the i20 WRC's capabilities by Andreas Mikkelsen, who had finished third in the weekend's rally.
"I was impressed co-driving with Andreas, there you can really have the right feeling," Tarquini told Autosport.
"But I was very slow. I don't feel comfortable on this surface, it was so slippery.
"I take care about myself and Andrea in the car. I had some feeling on the acceleration and the braking, but it was far away from the potential of the car."
Asked what had impressed him most about the World Rally Car, Tarquini replied: "Stability on the straights. Even when the car was under full throttle, the car remains on the line very easily.
"But sure, the acceleration and braking is something very special - I cannot imagine having this acceleration on the gravel.
"The hardest thing for me was to get used to making the corner on timing. I was always very late and I wasn't controlling very well the back of the car.
"I was approaching in asphalt style: I was late and the car was not very sideways, I was understeering in the middle of the corner.
"The torque and power is not far from my TCR, but the acceleration and the feeling of the gearchange, the driving style, these are not so similar.
"Really, the only similarities are the seating position and livery! The brakes are probably the most far away from the circuit car."
Tarquini admitted it took time to get used to having a co-driver alongside him.
"Normally I drive alone; normally I listen to the talk on the radio and then I have the guy sitting beside me - it's totally strange," he said.
"In our DNA you concentrate on what you do and this other person can disturb you if you are not used to it.
"But Andrea, I am surprised because he was not scared. He knows I am not very good on gravel, he told me I was much slower than Andreas, but it was more risky than Andreas - I don't know the car and the road."
Adamo's assessment of the morning was more straightforward.
He told Autosport: "I think he is better to go ahead with TCR and I think it's better that I go on doing my proper job."