Mon 24 Apr 2023

Abiteboul now is the time for reflection

Hyundai Motorsport team principal Cyril Abiteboul has praised the approach his team took to last week’s Croatia Rally, one of the most emotional and demanding rallies in the Alzenau outfit’s history.

The loss of Craig Breen in a testing accident days ahead of the start of last week’s Croatian round of the World Rally Championship left the team mourning the loss of their much-loved Irish driver. 

Hyundai’s togetherness and dignified tributes to Breen were praised by all involved in the championship. Esapekka Lappi’s podium finish was a fitting epitaph to an poignant weekend.

Abiteboul said: “This has been a difficult event for all of the rally community and we must thank everyone far and wide for their help, assistance and understanding. 

Drivers pay tribute to Craig Breen

“Looking at the sporting element of this weekend, we had to dive into this wholeheartedly from the outset of the event. This was the will of Craig’s family and what he would have wanted; this is very clear.”

Abiteboul admitted the 33-year-old had rarely been far from the memory of all of those in the team,

He added: “All we have done this week has been for him and in his memory. The motivation of the team, despite the circumstances, was very high, especially Thierry [Neuville]. 

“Our collective disappointment was immense when his hunt for victory suddenly stopped on Saturday. It was important for us to have a car and a crew represented on the podium today, for Craig. We knew it would mark a poignant milestone in this tough and emotional journey we have been on in the past week. 

“We have been able to achieve that with Esapekka. It’s important that we put the sporting element to one side now. The sequence of events that has happened since that tragic day last Thursday has been incredibly hard on the team; we had to put our emotions on pause but now is the period of reflection. It will all come back hard, and it is important that we all find the time to deal with this in our own individual way.”

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