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WRC Rally Chile

Hyundai expects challenge to manage Neuville and Tanak in WRC 2024

Hyundai boss Cyril Abiteboul says managing two World Rally Championship contenders in new signing Ott Tanak and Thierry Neuville will be a challenge but one it's ready for next year.

Thierry Neuville, Martijn Wydaeghe, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Hyundai has announced that 2019 world champion Tanak will rejoin the Korean squad for the 2024 campaign, which will see the Estonian reunite with five-time WRC title runner-up Neuville.

The pair were previously team-mates at Hyundai from 2020-2022.

Following Tanak's departure from Hyundai at the end of 2022, Abiteboul made it clear after taking up the team principal role for 2023 that Neuville would be Hyundai's number-one driver.

As a result, Hyundai has often employed team orders to favour the Belgian, notably in Sweden and Sardinia. 

When asked about how the driver hierarchy system will operate next year, Abiteboul said it was "too early" to make a call, but admitted it will be "different" with two title contenders in its ranks. 

"I think it is a bit too early to talk about the target for next year," Abiteboul told Motorsport.com.

"I think in motorsport the target is relative to what is happening on the other side and what the competition is looking like. 

"I believe we are the first to announce our plans for next year at least for two cars and we will take a bit of time to work on the third car and possibly fourth car. 

"But before saying what we want to achieve next year I want to see what the competition is looking like, but for sure the priority will have to be a bit different when you have two rally winners two champion contenders in your stable.

Thierry Neuville, Martijn Wydaeghe, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Thierry Neuville, Martijn Wydaeghe, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Photo by: Fabien Dufour / Hyundai Motorsport

"Yeah, for sure [it will be a challenge to manage the two drivers] but I feel like the organisation is up for it. But I don't think they would have been ready for it this year. 

"But after this year of learning, I'm pretty sure we can all manage with good execution. But as soon as we have a clear understanding of the competitive environment and we will establish a clear objective for the team and drivers as well as a clear code of conduct for next year."

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Abiteboul is however excited at the prospect of Tanak and Neuville extracting the best out of each other next year, which he hopes will push the team in its battle with Toyota. 

"They did [get the best out of each other] last year. The team secured five wins with a car, and I wasn't there but I am told was not really competitive and reliable, so I think does say something. 

"We have only one win so far this year so we are not going to do the same in terms of win numbers. I believe the car is a bit more competitive and reliable than last year.

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