No need for Lappi to change approach – Abiteboul

Hyundai boss wants more of the same from the Finn despite Rally México crash


Hyundai team principal Cyril Abiteboul will not ask Esapekka Lappi to change his approach on next month’s Rally Croatia, despite his driver crashing out of the lead of last weekend’s Rally México.

Lappi was engaged in a thrilling battle with eventual México winner Sébastien Ogier and led the rally overnight on Friday, describing it as “one of the best days” of his career.

But Lappi crashed heavily on the opening stage of Saturday morning and was unable to restart on Sunday. That created extra pressure for third Hyundai driver Dani Sordo to make sure he brought his car to the finish.

Rather than publicly admonish Lappi, Abiteboul said at the time that the team only felt sympathy for him.

Looking forward, Abiteboul does not think Lappi should alter his approach to the asphalt stages of Rally Croatia.

“No, no, completely,” Abiteboul responded when asked by DirtFish if Lappi would be under any different instructions or if he would still be able to push.

“He needs to push and actually yesterday [Saturday] what he said is that, if anything, it’s maybe because he was not pushing enough and being a bit conservative that he made that sort of one millisecond mistake and that led to the consequence that we know.

“So no, not at all. He has shown that he’s got pace. He’s done that in Sweden, he’s done that here and I think what we need now is to make sure that he materializes on this ability. But no, he needs to keep doing what he’s been doing.”