Al-Attiyah had been due to contest the Auckland-based round for the Qatar World Rally Team but instead handed the keys of his Citroen DS3 WRC to Neuville in order to continue his preparations for the London Olympic Games where he will represent his country in the skeet shooting event.
Following Sunday afternoon’s finish in Auckland, Neuville said: “I’m pleased to have reached the end of the rally without making any significant mistakes. These three days of racing have been extremely beneficial for me and I would like to thank Nasser Al-Attiyah once again for having given me this superb opportunity. I really enjoyed driving on this magnificent stages and I can’t wait to come back.”
It was the second time this season that Neuville had finished in the top five although he believes fourth place could have been possible.
“I’m happy to make it into the top five at this rally,” he said. “If I hadn’t lost so much time on day one [running behind a slower car], we might have finished fourth.”
Neuville and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul will be back in their regular Citroen Junior World Rally Team entry when the WRC resumes on Neste Oil Rally Finland in early August.