Experience-chasing Munster ready for ERC step
Grégoire Munster plans to use next week’s FIA European Rally Championship season-opening Rally di Roma Capitale to increase his knowledge of Hyundai’s Rally2-specificaiton i20 challenger.
Luxembourg-born Munster was selected for the Hyundai Junior Driver programme earlier this season but has been restricted to one i20 outing so far due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Next week’s Rally di Roma Capitale, which he contested last season in an Opel ADAM R2 as part of his ERC3 Junior bid, will therefore provide an excellent opportunity for Munster to build his experience behind the wheel of the Hyundai.
“We already have experience with the R5 cars, but it’s only our second rally with the Hyundai and we still have to drive some kilometres to get some experience with the car, that will be the biggest challenge,” said the 21-year-old, who is registered for ERC1 Junior points. “In general Rome was not a bad experience for us last season so we thought to get some experience there would be a great idea with the Hyundai.”
A return to Rome
Munster and Belgian co-driver Louis Louka were fifth in ERC3 Junior on Rally di Roma Capitale last season. They were competitive throughout but dropped out of contention for a podium finish following a “small mistake” on leg one. “Every rally from the ERC is a bit of a challenge,” said Munster. “They are really interesting roads. What is particular about Rome is that the first day is different from the second day. The second is a bit more fluent with larger roads, while the first day has some stages with bumpy sections. It was difficult to adapt your set-up between the stages. But it’s a nice experience and it’s good learning.”
Hyundai initiative a great opportunity
“It’s a great opportunity to get the support from Hyundai, get their feedback and support from engineers to make sure the learning curve goes even quicker,” said Munster of his inclusion in the Hyundai Junior Driver initiative. “We have only driven the Hyundai in Belgium where the grip level is quite low compared to other rallies and countries. We were not perfect with the set-up but we are still in this learning phase. There was a lot of potential in the car. We are really eager to find out what the maximum is and how to use it fully.”
Family time awaits
Munster will drive for BMA Autosport on Rally di Roma Capitale, the team run by his father Bernard Munster, a winner of four ERC rallies in the past. A test is planned for next Tuesday.
Further ERC appearances under consideration
“We are for sure considering it,” said Munster. “Our main focus is on the Belgian championship. But we want to do as many kilometres as possible in an international context abroad.”