Hyundai's propshaft issue may be caused by Lappi's driving style

The team principal of Hyundai Motorsport, Cyril Abiteboul, senses that his team will not face any propshaft issue this weekend and reveals that Esapekka Lappi's problems with his i20N in Kenya were caused by his driving style.

Esapekka Lappi was not able to complete a single run through the Shakedown session of Safari Rally a month ago as his i20N carried a propshaft issue, therefore his mechanics had to change it for the rest of the weekend. This issue hit him again on Saturday, but the impact was more serious as he was forced to retire and eventually to lose the chance to finish on the podium for a fourth rally in a row. During the midnight service, the mechanics worked very hard and prepared his car for the final day of Safari Rally with the view of scoring some points for the manufacturers' championship, but again he had to slow down as he carried a propshaft issue for a third time in that week. However, he managed to arrive at the service area which was scheduled before the start of the final two stages, therefore he was able to continue his race as his mechanics fixed his car again.

"It is a tough one", Abiteboul said. 

"We have been looking a lot and we had the opportunity of some tests that we had already planned mainly to work on the set-up characteristic development of the car, but we added to the mix more understanding of this issue.

"It is a complex issue because clearly there was a combination of factors and probably you have to put on top of these factors some driving style of Esapekka and that is not a criticism.

"It is up to us to design and build a car that can cope with any driving style, and especially a fast one and clearly Esapekka has been quick. 

"It looks like it is a fact that there is something in the way that Esapekka is doing, some combination, and is a bit harsh on the prop shaft.

"We have done a few things that again are under authority without changing anything to homologated parts for this weekend and hopefully that should be good enough. 

"I am 80-90% confident that we will not hear about the prop shaft this weekend. 

"In the medium-to-long term clearly we will have to design and most likely homologate a new part but that is when the homologation session is going to open because we are very restricted to change things.   

"We are still in the process of forming up our development plans trying to come up with the best compromise between reliability and performance. 

"We still have a good car in certain conditions and hopefully that is one of those this weekend but in certain conditions we are behind".


Photo Credits: Hyundai

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