Abiteboul wants Hyundai to create a lasting legacy for Breen

He wants to ensure the team fights at the very front of the WRC field for the remainder of the year


Cyril Abiteboul is pushing his Hyundai team to create a lasting legacy to Craig Breen by ensuring the i20 N Rally1 remains at the front of the World Rally Championship field, starting with next week’s Rally of Portugal.

Breen passed away in a pre-Croatia Rally testing accident three weeks ago.

Although it considered pulling out, Hyundai competed in the event one week later but with just two cars which also sported a tribute livery in the colors of the Irish flag.

Esapekka Lappi provided the team with a lift via a third-place podium finish in Zagreb, but heading to Portugal Hyundai is still a team in mourning.

“There is no denying that this is still incredibly hard for our team, and that won’t change for some time,” Abiteboul said.

“We’ve had some time to process our emotions, but we are still feeling the loss of Craig.”

“Our focus in Croatia was to compete in his memory, and now we want to honor him by fighting consistently at the front.”

Abiteboul is confident Hyundai can do just that too, even if it hasn’t won the rally since Thierry Neuville’s victory in 2018.

“Portugal will kick-off a run of gravel events, where we believe we can be strong,” Abiteboul added.

“We know what is possible from México; Thierry and Martijn secured a superb second place, and Esapekka and Janne were on strong form to lead the rally in only their third event with the team, showcasing their speed and potential.

“With the right preparation and determination I believe we can demonstrate that same performance again next weekend.

“There is still a great sadness among us as we head into Rally Portugal, and there will be times where Craig’s passing will hit us hard, but I think it’s important we remember to enjoy it, for him.”

Neuville, Esapekka Lappi and Dani Sordo will pilot the three i20 N Rally1s next weekend.