Abiteboul – the former boss of Alpine’s Formula One operations – officially joined the South Korean manufacturer on Thursday and will take charge for the first time at next week’s Rallye Monte-Carlo.

He inherits the position from countryman Julien Moncet – the interim Team Principal for 2022 – with Italian Andrea Adamo holding the post for three years from 2019 to 2021, and before that Michal Nandan was in charge.

After reaching an agreement with the automaker and its board, Abiteboul has promised to approach the role with “humility”, whilst being “excited and patient” about what the upcoming campaign and beyond holds for everyone in the squad.

And despite a character building 2022 which left Hyundai playing catch-up for large parts to eventual champions Toyota Gazoo Racing, Abiteboul says it “does not need to be built up”, adding that “it is established, it functions, and it is capable of delivering extremely good results”.

In a question and answer interview with Abiteboul that was released by Hyundai Motorsport, he speaks of his enthusiasm for the “DNA and heritage” of the World Rally Championship because of the “great brands, great drivers, [and] great liveries”.

On his decision to take up a senior role in the sport for the first time in his professional career, he said: “Hyundai is the most innovative and fastest-growing manufacturer among the top global brands.

“Long before we entered discussions with one another, I was very impressed with what the company has been achieving, so I was invested in this role from the start. I think it is well known that after 15 years working in motorsport, I stopped for different reasons.

“Although I needed to take a bit of distance from the automotive and motorsport industries, the appetite for the thrill of motorsport remained very strong in my blood. I had mutual connections with Hyundai Motorsport and I knew they were looking for a new Team Principal.

“I made contact with them and we found there was a good fit between what Hyundai and I were looking for. There was a natural willingness to go further, but it was only a few weeks ago that it came together.

“It is still all very new, and I still need to learn a lot, but I am very excited by the challenge. I think the Hyundai brand has been greatly enhanced through its motorsport activities, and it is now my responsibility to continue and further this growth.”

Abiteboul says it should come as “no surprise” to followers of the World Rally Championship that the goal this season is to seal a third manufacturers’ title, and have a Hyundai Motorsport-backed crew crowned overall drivers’ and co-drivers’ champions.

Lead driver Thierry Neuville begins his tenth season in the series with Hyundai, during which time he has finished runner-up on several occasions. Asked how he intends to contribute to the fight for silverware, Abiteboul claimed his involvement would “be only marginal”.

He said: “The team is established, the Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid is already designed and built, so I can’t claim any contribution to what this car can do, but I would still like to be able to live through those positive moments with the team.

“This way we can also build as a group for the other challenges that will come in the years ahead. It is history in the making for Hyundai in motorsport; they are already a well-established player, but one that needs to look forward, to show that there are long-term plans.

“I would like to be able to look back on this year and say we’ve got a plan for the future; for the future generation of drivers, engineers, mechanics and other talents that we need to constantly attract, develop and retain. Motorsport is a place where talent makes a difference, and I would like to explore how I can build upon that here at Hyundai Motorsport.”

Abiteboul has already had the chance to meet some of those people who will work on the ground across the thirteen World Rally Championship rounds in 2023, and those based back at the team headquarters in Alzenau, Germany.

He has made it his objective to speak to them one-on-one going forward, believing this can help give him a much clearer idea of what motivates them and what their personal objectives are.

“I have also done this with the drivers. We have an excellent line-up of very experienced talents, and I’m excited to meet more people in the coming weeks,” he added.

“The place has huge potential. Frankly speaking, it was bigger than I expected. Walking through it, even though it is a large building, I already understand it is short on space.

“I was impressed with the facilities during my brief time there and I think the team has what it needs to perform under these regulations. I enjoyed seeing the engine dynos and the machine shop, and then to see the workshops working to a world championship standard.”