At number three in our countdown of season highlights is Thierry Neuville’s remarkable journey from zero to hero at ADAC Rallye Deutschland.
Three days after virtually destroying his Hyundai i20 when he rolled six times at pre-event shakedown, the Belgian claimed his first world rally victory.
Neuville’s story began when he barrel-rolled through the vineyards near Trier less than a day before the start. Team mechanics worked overnight for 18 hours to rebuild the battered car and Neuville repaid them in style, making steady progress up the leaderboard until the final leg when he leapt from third to first when first Jari-Matti Latvala and then Kris Meeke crashed out of the lead.
The win on the ninth round of the championship was the first for Hyundai in its debut year back in the series. Neuville’s team-mate Dani Sordo added icing to the cake by finishing second for the Korean manufacturer.
“I think we did an unbelievable job during all three days of the rally and I can only say thank you to our team,” Neuville said. “They did a fantastic job after our roll on shakedown and I couldn’t believe we could do such a good result. We put pressure on the others and it paid off.”
“When I saw the video afterwards, I realised how lucky we were. In the car, it actually felt quite soft. But then I saw the pictures and said: ‘I am lucky to be on the start line’. Maybe, after a six times’ roll, which I have never done before, perhaps everything got in the right position again in my head!” he added.
Watch Neuville's journey from roll to victory in the videos below.