Thu 02 Feb 2023

Abiteboul: Hyundai roadmap revealed

Recently appointed Hyundai Motorsport team principal Cyril Abiteboul has emphasised the need for his squad to respond quickly to current challenges whilst also planning for the future.

Abiteboul, a seasoned motorsports veteran with a management background in Formula One, joined the Korean manufacturer squad shortly before the season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo, where all three of Hyundai’s cars made it to the finish.

Thierry Neuville was the first i20 N driver home in third overall, while Dani Sordo and team newcomer Esapekka Lappi ended in seventh and eighth respectively after struggling to match the pace of the frontrunners.

When asked about his immediate plans, Abiteboul stated he is particularly focused on improving the overall efficiency of the team in the short-term.

"Short-term, I would say my target will be to improve the overall team efficiency,” he explained.

“It’s not bad, but given the very long hours and routines [on rallies], I think we can improve slightly our flow of processes in order to make sure there is the right level of energy and focus at the times when it matters. That can have an impact on the performance of the team overall at the end of the weekend."

But the Frenchman is also looking to the future and emphasised the need to plan ahead in order to make targeted upgrades and modifications which will improve the car’s performance.

“We need to come up with a response with a clear development roadmap to the car in order to make it more competitive, in particular on asphalt,” he said. “So far, we've only seen asphalt. It will be interesting to see the competitiveness of the car on a different surface, but that’s medium to long-term."

Neuville and Lappi return to action next week at Rally Sweden (9 - 12 February), the only pure snow and ice fixture on the WRC calendar. Craig Breen - who alternates drives with Sordo in the third car - makes his first start in Hyundai colours since re-joining the team from M-Sport Ford.

• Full coverage from Rally Sweden 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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