Angry Abiteboul hopes Suninen to learn from his Chile crash

The team principal of Hyundai Motorsport, Cyril Abiteboul, is being disappointed and angry with what happened to Teemu Suninen at Rally Chile on Sunday and is hopeful that this crash is part of his driver's learning process.

Teemu Suninen was leading Rally Chile after the end of Stage 4, but he dropped to second place overall at the end of Stage 5 as Ott Tanak was faster than him. The Finn driver hold this position for ten stages and had to defend his second place over his teammate Thierry Neuville on the final two stages of Rally Chile as their gap was at 6,7 seconds at the end of Stage 14. However, the things did not go well for him in SS15 as he went off the road 7 Km into Stage 15 after firstly his hitting a tree stump and damaging the front right suspension of his i20N. After Suninen's retirement, Neuville was the only Hyundai driver on the classification and was comfortably in front of Elfyn Evans and Kalle Rovanpera, but his teammates' DNFs meant that Toyota would become the 2023 Manufacturer Champion of WRC if the Japanese team scored four points more than Neuville in Powerstage. Rovanpera and Evans managed to score nine points for Toyota in PS whereas Neuville was only the third-fastest driver there, therefore Hyundai lost its hopes to continue fighting for the championship on the last two rounds of this year.

"I thought that maybe I was not clear enough with my drivers", Abiteboul said. 

"But I did think I was clear.

"So, you know it’s difficult because at the same time the guys, I think they want to shine. 

"And they want to shine for the team, they want to deliver, but also they want to shine for themselves. 

"And I think that’s also maybe the step too far that experience, maybe maturity is helping you not to do. 

"And in that case that didn’t really help.

"I don’t want to be too harsh, because again you should not forget the fact that he’s been doing a fantastic rally to bring him into that position and to give this opportunity to the team to have two cars on the podium. 

"But that’s not happening.

"I think, I hope and believe it’s also going to help him in his building process. 

"It’s all about the learning curve. 

"As we talk about learning curve, about how to deal with the car, how to deal with hard tires yesterday, which is a thing he had not experienced before.

"And hopefully that’s also part of the learning process that he’s experiencing today, in a hard way. 

"That’s clearly the hard way for the team, and I’m sure it’s also the hard way for the driver.

"We also need to move on from that at some point, but for now we are all very disappointed, that’s for sure".


Photo Credits: Hyundai

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