Hyundai Motorsports Esapekka Lappi is in line for a podium finish at Rally Croatia as the Finn ended the second day of the event in third place overall and speaking following the action he commented saying:

Of course it’s nice to be in a podium position even though we have been lacking a bit of pace today; it’s been a different feeling compared to what we had yesterday but I know I have never been perfect on the dirty tarmac. I have been trying to reproduce the driving we had on Friday but it was difficult to match the times at the front. The conditions have felt more slippery, and if you feel like there’s no grip then the confidence just goes. We knew that the new stage would be tricky, but it was crazy how dirty it was. We have benefitted in terms of our position because unfortunately Thierry went off this morning, so we will have to concentrate, try to find some improvements in the car for the final day, and aim to complete the rally on the podium. That would at least be something to take away for the whole team.”

Thierry Neuville was forced to retire from the rally after the morning loop with a lead of 10.8s and speaking following the action he commented saying:

We were trying to maintain defence of our lead over Elfyn, which we had done well on the two opening stages with good pace. In SS11, we were a bit late braking into a third gear right-hander, we entered the cut and just lost the rear of the car upon corner entry. We hit some concrete on the outside and our day was over; we broke the rear left damper and upright, so there was no chance to continue. I didn’t feel too comfortable up to that point. Even though we were slightly down on the splits, I had expected to continue my rhythm, but it wasn’t to be. When you are battling for victory sometimes small mistakes can happen. I want to apologise to the team. We were all dreaming about the victory this weekend for the reasons that we all know about. We were close, we were doing our best, we kept believing but unfortunately our efforts were not rewarded.”

Hyundai Motorsports Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul commented saying:

Today was a bitter pill for us to swallow. Fighting for the win here was very important for everyone in the team – drivers, co-drivers, everyone here and back in Alzenau. That’s precisely what we were doing until SS11 this morning when, unfortunately, Thierry hit some concrete which meant his day was over. So, too, were his chances of figuring well in the standings. We have no alternative but to accept what happened, regroup, and move on. Esapekka had a similar pattern to yesterday with a better afternoon than morning; thanks to a strong team effort at lunchtime service the car was back into the window where he could display his performance potential. Maybe this is what we must take away from today: we need to keep focused, doing what we must do as motorsport professionals, knowing that at some point our efforts and hard work will pay off.”

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