Abiteboul reveals that Hyundai was in doubt if Lappi should continue with them in 2024

The team principal of Hyundai Motorsport, Cyril Abiteboul, says that his team doubted if Esapekka Lappi should continue or not with them in 2024 after the difficult second half he had last year, but he believes that his driver did a mega job last week.

The Finn driver secured his second victory in World Rally Championship at Rally Sweden last weekend and it had been six and half years since his first win at the top level which was at Rally Finland back in 2017. EP left Toyota at the end of 2022 as Hyundai offered him a full-season programme with the i20N for 2023, but the Koreans announced that he would continue with them as a part-time driver in 2024. In 2023, he managed to take three podiums in a row on the first half of the season, but his performance dropped on the second half as he had three retirements. Andreas Mikkelsen and Dani Sordo will share the third i20N with him and EP's first outing of the year was Rally Sweden while it is expected to see him only on the fast gravel rallies of the WRC calendar. However, the most important is that he put Hyundai at the top step of the podium for a second consecutive rally whereas the Alzenau-based team had only two victories last season.

"It has been an exciting Rally Sweden!", Abiteboul said. 

"It’s been a long wait for EP and Janne, and they have done a mega job this weekend. 

"I would like to thank Sean Kim for his trust in EP last year when we faced moments of doubt. 

"We knew having a shared car would be an advantage for road position in a rally like this one, but equally the job they have done to navigate a number of challenges has been fantastic. 

"As always, they have been extremely well supported by the team, yet we shouldn’t underestimate the reality check from Toyota on Sunday morning – their pace on that opening stage was something else. 

"It is a good result, but the positions in the championship standings show that every single point will count towards the final result".

Photo Credits: Hyundai

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