This weekend marks the primary gravel rally of 2023 and the third completely different floor in as many rounds, following the asphalt of Monte Carlo in January and the snow of Sweden final month.
It is usually the third spherical since former Caterham and Renault Components 1 boss Abiteboul took over as staff principal at Hyundai in January.
Hyundai’s new boss has begun to make modifications to the squad, starting with a give attention to bettering its inner construction by implementing practices honed from his time working in F1 to enhance communication and the choice making course of.
Hyundai’s i20 N underwent a big aero improve over the off season, however its growth technique will largely be shaped following this weekend’s occasion in Mexico which Abiteboul anticipates will spotlight the automobile’s strengths and weaknesses.
Hyundai is but to style victory this season however has racked up three podiums to this point due to Thierry Neuville ending third in Monte Carlo, adopted by a double podium in Sweden when Craig Breen completed second forward of Neuville in third.
“That is the third occasion and the third kind of floor; the calendar is sort of helpful in that respect so I feel after these three occasions we are going to get a very good image [of the current package],” Abiteboul informed Autosport.
“We noticed we had a little bit of tempo on tarmac in Monte Carlo. I feel we’d be higher if we have been going again to that occasion immediately; possibly to not the extent of Toyota and [winner] Seb [Ogier], however barely higher.
“We have been very aggressive in Sweden and I feel the automobile was good there. I’m very eager to see the way it does right here in Mexico.
Abiteboul is assured of Hyundai’s prospects after its Acropolis podium lockout in 2022
Photograph by: Romain Thuillier / Hyundai Motorsport
“We’ve got completed hopefully what we have to do from a reliability perspective and when it comes to software program and vitality administration.
“[The rally] goes to be fairly necessary as it is going to give us an concept what to anticipate fro the remainder of the season. It’ll additionally assist us when it comes to growth technique for the 12 months.”
Hyundai might be regarded among the many favourites to problem for victory in Mexico after impressing in tough gravel rallies final season.
The South Korean marque appeared to have an edge over its rivals Toyota and M-Sport Ford on the floor after scoring wins in Sardinia and Greece in 2022. The latter witnessed Hyundai’s first podium lockout within the WRC.
This weekend the staff may also profit from an advantageous street order with Neuville beginning third, Esapekka Lappi sixth and Dani Sordo ninth.
“Till it’s confirmed unattainable we might be going into each rally aiming and pondering a victory is feasible, that may be very a lot the spirit,” he added.
“We might be assured however once more [Mexico] is a specific one. There’s excessive temperatures and altitude, so it may be difficult.
“The engine is without doubt one of the strengths of our vehicles and that is going to be undermined by the altitude and that would be the identical for everybody.
“The deciding issue might be reliability. The roads might be robust and the altitude might be demanding and the temperatures might be excessive.”
Neuville will begin third on the street
Photograph by: McKlein / Motorsport Images
Hyundai will function with Tolga Ozakinci put in as the brand new staff supervisor in Mexico. The previous Toksport staff chief took over the position in Sweden, though predecessor Pablo Marcos oversaw the occasion as a part of the transition course of earlier than his departure.
“[Tolga] has had a outstanding time with Pablo, who’s off to new issues,” Abiteboul added.
“Pablo has been outstanding proper as much as his final day to supply the very best platform for Tolga, who’s our new staff supervisor which is a very necessary place.
“It’s important in different classes, however I feel it’s much more necessary for controlling the staff’s total efficiency. I feel Tolga has a very good platform and he may have massive footwear to fill, however I might be serving to him.”