Hyundai eyes on investing in a young driver for the third i20N

The team principal of Hyundai Motorsport, Cyril Abiteboul, says that his team wants to invest in a young talent for a long-term cooperation as the Koreans have already three experienced drivers.

Thierry Neuville and Esapekka Lappi have signed a full-season contract with Hyundai Motorsport for 2023 as both of them have shown their skills while Dani Sordo has a partial programme with them and is considered one of the most experienced WRC drivers in the grid together with Jari-Matti Latvala. Due to the fact that the Spaniard still has the ability and the speed to win rallies, the Alzenau-based team is looking now for a young driver to invest in for the future. When Julien Moncet became the deputy team principal of Hyundai in 2022, Oliver Solberg was confirmed by them as the driver who would share the third i20N with Sordo, but the team decided not to renew his contract for this season and this announcement had been made at the end of Rally New Zealand seven months ago. Last but not least, it must be mentioned that M-Sport has the tradition to invest in young talents as Ott Tanak was one of them and became World Champion in 2019 whereas Toyota chose Kalle Rovanpera as its investment.

"We see that we have in Dani someone who is absolutely capable of performing, and we have in Esapekka…", Abiteboul said. 

"I think that when the decision was made for Craig there was a bit of a question mark for whether Esapekka would join the team.

"And Esapekka and Dani are both a combination of experience and speed when it matters, when the conditions are there and when we are providing them with the right car.

"So I think it’s a bit of a relief that alleviates a bit of the pressure on the team to find even further experience.

"So I think we can now afford to look beyond just what is here but a bit further away because at some point if we want a future we need to build that future.

"This is also an indication given by Hyundai headquarters, to start building the future, so that is very much what we are doing these days.

"I don’t want to give any specific name, neither as to whether they’re a part of the plan or not part of the plan.

"As I say, now we’ve got a strategy, we need to implement that strategy with whoever is best positioned or whoever in plural it’s not just one person, it’s several people that need to join the Hyundai family for the long-term".


Photo Credits: Hyundai

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