The Citroen Junior World Rally Team ace is from Saint-Vith in the German-speaking part of Belgium and has travelled less than 100 kilometres from his home to the ADAC Rallye Deutschland base in Trier, where the competitive action will get underway on Friday morning.
Despite this effectively being Neuville’s ‘home’ round of the WRC, the 24-year-old has scant knowledge of the demanding asphalt stages, having competed on the event on one previous occasion.
“I don’t have a huge amount of experience at this event, as I have only competed here once before, in 2010 in a Citroen C2 Super 1600. And even then, I retired,” said Neuville. “But that is already much more than the last few rallies where everything was totally new for me. What’s important is that the road surfaces in Germany are much more familiar to me. I don’t think I can be categorised as a ‘gravel’ or ‘Tarmac’ driver, but I think I won’t have any difficulty getting my bearings.”
Although there have been a few mishaps along the way as Neuville builds his experience of world championship competition, the rising Belgian has impressed throughout his campaign in the Citroen DS3 WRC he shares with co-driver and countryman Nicolas Gilsoul.
With two fifth-place finishes in Argentina and New Zealand as his best results, Neuville will start Rallye Deutschland with hopes of similar success.
“My aim will be complete the rally without making any [significant] errors, like I did in New Zealand for example,” he said. “If I can manage that, I think I can challenge for a place in the top five and maybe even a spot on the podium.”