A 'proper' team
podium - Neuville
Thierry Neuville believes his podium finish at Rallye Monte-Carlo last weekend marks a turning point in his relationship with the Hyundai team after a difficult 2015.
Third place on the Monte was Neuville's best WRC finish since last June's Rally Italia Sardegna and was achieved on the first event for Hyundai's all-new i20 World Rally Car.
Frustration with delays to the car's introduction caused the Belgian's form to slump last year, and culminated in him being dropped from the manufacturer's main squad on the final round.
But having taken 15 points at this season's opener, Neuville sought to draw a line under his earlier problems.
"If you compare this rally to the end of last year then it was more up than down. This was quite a good weekend for us," he said.
"I spent a lot of time after last season with the team, working hard with the boys in the factory. They all deserve this result, these people are working day and night to get ready on time and to be as well prepared as we are.
"I think we are getting more and more a proper WRC team. Of course it took a bit of time but finally I feel pretty comfortable in the team, now I am really happy!"
Highlights of the rally were Neuville fastest times on Stages 12 and 13, but he had problems too, including a skittish suspension set-up on day one and a transmission failure that left him with front-wheel drive only for the final stage.
"I can’t be happy with the start of the event but it got better as we worked on the car. At the end, it was quite regular." he said.
"I am quite optimistic about the future events. We will be closer from the beginning and with some more improvements it is looking positive. I’m really happy the new season has started and the new car is here."
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