Thu 29 Feb 2024

Abiteboul warns of Toyota threat despite Hyundai's successful start to 2024

Despite presiding over Hyundai’s best start to an FIA World Rally Championship season yet, team principal Cyril Abiteboul has still marshalled caution over the pace of reigning champions Toyota.

Abiteboul’s Alzenau-based team won Rallye Monte-Carlo and Rally Sweden, but Hyundai and Toyota remain tied on points at the top of the manufacturers' championship table.

Understandably delighted with Esapekka Lappi’s Umeå win earlier this month, Abiteboul said: “It’s been a long wait for EP and Janne [Ferm, co-driver], and they have done a mega job. We knew having a shared car would be an advantage for road position in a rally like this one, but equally the job they have done to navigate a number of challenges has been fantastic.”

Abiteboul paid tribute to his presidential predecessor, adding: “I would like to thank Sean Kim for his trust in EP last year when we faced moments of doubt.”

Talking more about Toyota, Abiteboul pointed to Sunday morning in Sweden, when the GR Yaris Rally1 was the car to have in the snow – Elfyn Evans dominated the final-day taking 11 of the 12 bonus points on offer.

He said: “We shouldn’t underestimate the reality check from Toyota this morning – their pace on that opening stage [on Sunday] was something else. It is a good result, but the positions in the championship standings show that every single point will count towards the final result.”

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM