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Hyundai team boss: Competition between Ott Tänak and Thierry Neuville no bad thing

Ott Täank (right) rejoins Thierry Neuville at Hyundai for the 2024 season, and both drivers will start the season with equal status, the team's principal says.
Ott Täank (right) rejoins Thierry Neuville at Hyundai for the 2024 season, and both drivers will start the season with equal status, the team's principal says. Source: Hyundai Motorsport

Hyundai WRC boss Cyril Abiteboul says there will be "absolute parity" between Ott Tanak drivers Thierry Neuville, but won't rule out deploying team orders during 2024 if this is needed.

Speaking to Motorsport.com, Abiteboul said his team won't start the 2024 season with a designated number one driver.

Abiteboul said "When the season starts there will be absolute parity of parts, information, opportunity and contractual rights and privilege to both drivers, and a clear mission for car number three to be here to support."

"Yes, it will be difficult in [2024] as we will have some intra-team competition going on, but I also think it is a bit of a relief for a driver to know that he is not alone and carrying the weight of the whole team on his shoulders," he went on.

Nonetheless, Hyundai has two top drivers – Belgian Thierry Neuville, who has been with the team for nearly a decade, though is still after his maiden drivers' title, and Tänak himself.

Abiteboul said he is aware of the sometimes tense relationship the pair enjoyed when Tänak was last with Hyundai, 2020-2022, adding that while he expects this to continue, the competitive frisson should overall benefit the team.

Tänak's presence will also take some of the pressure off Neuville, Abiteboul said, adding that he is looking for a more successful 2024 than 2023 has been (Hyundai won two races this year – ed.)

"I would like to think that it is a good problem to have. I would rather have two drivers against one and deal with the consequences rather than have one driver going against two [from other teams]," Abiteboul added.

This was particularly the case given Toyota's extensive stable of top drivers, including this year's (and last year's) WRC champion Kalle Rovanperä (Finland), eight-time world champion Sebastien Ogier (France) and this year's runner-up, Elfyn Evans (Wales).

Hyundai is set to unveil its 2024 i20 N WRC challenger ahead of the season opener in Monte Carlo, January 25-28.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: Motorsport

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