Thu 08 Jun 2023

Proud Abiteboul lauds Hyundai team

Hyundai Motorsport team principal Cyril Abiteboul has sung the praises of the team after a perfect one-two at last week’s Rally Italia Sardegna.

Former Formula 1 team principal Abiteboul scored his first frontline FIA win in Olbia last week, but quickly declined to take credit for i20 N Rally1 drivers Thierry Neuville and Esapekka Lappi who scored a one-two.

Abiteboul said: “We have been consistent podium finishers so far this season but we were yet to win, and we have done that in beautiful fashion.

“Although such a result in challenging conditions is always a team effort, our drivers need to be particularly praised. Esapekka [Lappi] was absolutely remarkable all the way through, in his approach before and during the rally. The pressure he applied continuously to [Sébastien] Ogier most certainly contributed to the mistake he (Ogier) made.

“Thierry [Neuville] had an amazing SS14, which was a demonstration of his determination to win here in Sardinia as his confidence in the car was building stage-by-stage.

"It was a shame that Dani could not finish despite what has been a strong effort from him to contribute to the overall performance of the weekend. I would also like to take a moment to mention Craig. He remains a part of our team, and our success, and this win today is very much for him.”

Talking about the roles he – and Hyundai’s most recent signing, new technical director Francois-Xavier Demaison – played, he jokingly added: “We did not win because of him, just to be clear. He is not going to take all the glory and it is not because of me!
“It is a team effort. It is good to see, it is good to observe. I have to say that I never won in Formula 1 so I am glad I found some place where I could win!”

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