Neuville, competing on this week’s Rally Italia Sardegna in a Qatar World Rally Team Citroen DS3 WRC as a stand-in for Nasser Al-Attiyah, finished fourth on the preceding round in France on the back of winning five of the final day’s six stages.
He said: “My target is to finish on the podium at least once. The result achieved in France has boosted our morale. We proved that we can go quickly without making any [serious] errors. We managed to achieve this by working relentlessly with the team, but we are still learning. Not a day goes by at a rally when we don’t learn something.”
Neuville’s bid for a podium in Sardinia didn’t get off to the best of starts when he languished in 10th place on the Qualifying Stage this morning amid reports that he didn’t engage first gear properly leaving the start line. However, he can count on confidence gained from a previous visit to Sardinia’s gravel stages having contested the island’s Intercontinental Rally Challenge round in 2010, which used a similar route to this week’s WRC event.
“It was only my third race in a Super 2000 and I finished fourth overall,” said Neuville. “I know more or less what to expect at this event. The course is very technical, and the gravel on some sections can be pretty rough. Just like with all WRC rallies, we’ll have to manage the race intelligently.”