Hyundai is keen to expand its collaboration with Lappi

The team principal of Hyundai Motorsport, Cyril Abiteboul, says that his team wants Esapekka Lappi to remain at the squad in 2024 considering the ideas he is offering on car development.

The Alzenau-based team announced that Ott Tanak rejoin them for 2024 and will have Thierry Neuville as his teammate again while it is yet to be confirmed if they will bring four Rally1 cars next year. According to what the manager of Teemu Suninen said to a Finn media site, his driver has secureda seven-rally WRC campaign with Hyundai which means that it is unknown who will share the third car with Suninen as Dani Sordo's future remains uncertain. In addition to that, it is rumored that Toyota's line-up will remain the same as this season, therefore Lappi's options are Hyundai and M-Sport ahead of 2024. Last but not least, it was expected that the fourth-i20N decision would come until the end of last month, but still there are no news on it while it is very likely for a young driver to step in.

"I think what we like in particular is Esapekka's commitment to improve the car", Abiteboul said.

"I think Thierry is very strong and has a very strong opinion of what he wants, but to a certain degree when you have been 10 years in the same team you struggle to bring up new ideas and concepts. 

"And that is absolutely normal and it is not a criticism of Thierry, and this is an area where Esapekka is very strong. 

"He has come in with a fresh pair of eyes and perspective and different ways of setting up the car, and that has been very useful. 

"I think we are all keen to see how we can expand the collaboration with Esapekka. 

"But without going into too much detail, there are a lot of things going on his side over the last couple of months, so again we will take a bit of time to see what is the best thing for him and us moving forward.

"I have been very transparent with Esapekka as well as Thierry and they understand why we are doing what we are doing".

Finally, he said that the fourth car is up to Hyundai's headquarters approval: "The fourth car consideration is a way to think about the mid to long-term future but again that is something we need to discuss with the headquarters.

"I have been saying on a couple of occasions that we also want to bring up young talent and that will take some time. 

"Clearly bringing back Ott is not exactly young talent that is for sure so that is why would like to invest in young talent with a fourth car, but again this would need to be approved".


Photo Credits: Hyundai

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