Thu 12 Jan 2023

Neuville: New principal, targets the same

Thierry Neuville has laid down his targets for the upcoming FIA World Rally Championship season.

The Belgian is about to embark on his 10th season with Alzenau-based team Hyundai Motorsport having been runner-up in the drivers’ championship on five occasions as well as finishing third overall for two years running.

Earlier today (Thursday), Hyundai appointed former F1 team boss Cyril Abiteboul as its new team principal. The announcement came just days before next week’s season opener at Rallye Monte-Carlo (19 – 22 January).

His new manager may have just a few days to settle into the role, but Neuville’s feeling positive about what lies ahead.

“I mean, we repeat it every year,” he told WRC.com. “The targets are the same: we want to win both [the manufacturers’ and drivers’] championships. Unfortunately, the last couple of seasons we weren’t able to get any of them, but there's been a bit of a change from last year to this year.

“We have new team-mates, and we have a new team principal as well with Cyril joining the team. Hopefully, together those changes are going to bring us improvements and we’re going to be capable of fighting for both championships – that’s clearly the target.”

Neuville added that he’ll be working closely with Abiteboul to establish some common goals before the season begins.

“Hopefully we are going to be having a few discussions so we can give our visions of what has been going on and what we are hoping to achieve, and also what is his vision with his experience from Formula One and leading even bigger teams than Hyundai.”

Neuville is yet to test the latest evolution of Hyundai’s i20 N Rally1 car and will do so on Friday (13 January). His team-mates Esapekka Lappi and Dani Sordo have already completed their Monte-Carlo test sessions earlier this week.

  • Full coverage from Rallye Monte-Carlo will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.
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