The South Korean marque has already reshuffled its driver line-up for 2024 with Ott Tanak re-joining the team alongside Thierry Neuville, however it’s but to disclose plans for its third and potentially fourth car.
Abiteboul says a name is prone to be made earlier than the season finale in Japan later this month.
The previous Renault Method 1 boss has admitted that Suninen, who was drafted in to pilot the third automotive for 4 rounds this 12 months, and its full-time driver Esapekka Lappi are among the many choices on his listing to pilot a 3rd automotive subsequent 12 months.
Abiteboul says it’s extremely seemingly the third automotive will proceed to be shared between drivers given the advantages that possibility can provide for highway place because it appears to be like to outsmart Toyota, which the Hyundai boss believes will proceed to have an edge with its GR Yaris.
After witnessing Suninen end sixth ultimately weekend’s Central European Rally, his first asphalt begin within the i20N, Abiteboul confirmed the Finn is the group’s ideas for subsequent 12 months.
Suninen was known as as much as be part of Dani Sordo within the third automotive this 12 months following the tragic lack of Craig Breen. He completed fifth and fourth in Estonia and Finland respectively, earlier than retiring from second on the ultimate day in Chile.
The 29-year-old was again behind the wheel on Tuesday and Wednesday testing the i20N on the group’s check facility in Finland.
Photograph by: McKlein / Motorsport Images
Teemu Suninen, Mikko Markkula, Hyundai World Rally Group Hyundai i20 N Rally1
“[Suninen] may be very a lot on the radar, however I can’t say something specifically,” Abiteboul instructed Autosport.
“He’s very a lot a part of our listing so we have now to now get along with the remainder of the group and take a look at what has occurred and make a collective resolution for the best way ahead.”
Lappi additionally impressed final weekend by operating as excessive as third before crashing out on stage five in what was the Finn’s third high-profile crash within the final 4 occasions.
Former Toyota, Citroen and M-Sport driver Lappi has performed a key function in creating the i20N this 12 months.
Abiteboul confirmed that the weekend’s outcomes gained’t alter his thoughts on the subject of forming the motive force line-up.
“Esapekka was very a lot key to the system this 12 months and actually essential and he has been delivering among the very Positive moments within the group this 12 months,” Abiteboul mentioned forward of the rally.
“I prefer to suppose that he might be part of what we do for the longer term and never simply subsequent 12 months. It has been a dialogue that has been occurring between us for some time and I hope we will convey that to a conclusion within the subsequent few days.
“I feel it’s about attempting to grasp what he needs and ensuring we will ship him what he needs and I’m not speaking about cash.”
Photograph by: Fabien Dufour / Hyundai Motorsport
Cyril Abiteboul, Group principal Hyundai World Rally Group
It does nonetheless seem that Hyundai’s plans to develop to 4 automobiles could possibly be delayed, with the group’s precedence firmly on securing the line-up for its third automotive. Hyundai has already stipulated that the fourth automotive ought to be designated to creating younger drivers.
“I [would] like there to be a fourth automotive however success occurs with planning, with organisation, but in addition with prioritisation,” Abiteboul mentioned within the post-event press convention.
“And I feel the very first thing we have to do is make it possible for all three crews subsequent 12 months can have the automotive that they want and that would be the focus of the entire group.
“So in that respect, in that perspective, we might delay the plans for a fourth automotive.
“However clearly creating drivers, younger drivers, with a fourth automotive may be very a lot what we’d love to do. It’s all about timing.”