Abiteboul does not rule out the possibility of sacrificing Lappi for Neuville

The team principal of Hyundai Motorsport, Cyril Abiteboul, says that he is thinking of the possibility to give team orders to Esapekka Lappi with the view of favoring Thierry Neuville at Rally Mexico.

The Alzenau-based team offered a full-season programme to Thierry Neuville and Esapekka Lappi for 2023 as the last one left Toyota and joined them for the first time. On the other hand, Neuville is at Hyundai since 2014 and have helped the Koreans to win the manufacturers' championship for two years in a row (2019, 2020). However, despite the fact it is very early at the season, Craig Breen took a 10-second time penalty at Rally Sweden for checking one-minute late at the stop control of Powerstage resulting in dropping to third place behind Neuville, but eventually the team tactics did not pay off as the Belgian driver had a moment in PS and lost some time in comparison with his teammate.

After the end of the first two rounds of this year's championship, Neuville is standing at third place with 32 points whereas Lappi is seventh overall with 15 points.

"It’s very difficult to say because there are so many parameters", Abiteboul said.

"It depends what would be the impact of him swapping position.

"I would say I’m not ruling this out – obviously it’s much more straightforward with the third driver because they’re not really in this championship fight.

"I’m not ruling this out for Esapekka but obviously the consequence would have to be really acceptable for him.

"So it depends who is losing position and therefore points in the championship. 

"It would be a tough call, because when I look at the championship it’s going to be pretty tight for Esapekka for all the season".

Source: DirtFish.com

Photo Credits: Hyundai

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