Belgian fans spurred on Neuville
Home fans provided motivation behind Neuville’s Germany win
Thierry Neuville secured the Korean manufacturer’s maiden WRC victory on Sunday as he finished just ahead of team-mate Dani Sordo on Germany’s tricky asphalt roads.
Although the Hyundai pairing benefitted greatly from the retirements of rally leaders Sebastien Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala and Kris Meeke, their pace was strong for the duration of the rally and impressed many in the WRC service park.
But team principal Michel Nandan insists he won’t allow Hyundai’s German success to distract the team from the hard work that is required if the i20 WRC is to become a consistently dominant force in the WRC. “We could never imagine that coming here, in just our ninth WRC rally, we would be celebrating a one-two result. It is quite remarkable and very special,” he said.
“Our team has been absolutely first class and it is thanks to each of them – here and at Alzenau (Hyundai’s German HQ) – that we have this result today.
“But we have to stay with our feet on the ground and to keep working, because there is a long way to go. There is still a lot to do and we have to concentrate on our work. Everyone has to work in the same direction and work ahead.”
Hyundai’s German success has come in a season that it readily admitted was a learning year. But Nandan has been buoyed by the early promise of the i20 WRC and the progress that’s been made so far.
He said: “We have improved the performance since the beginning of the year. In every test we try to find new things and improve it. It’s good. Our first win, especially considering that exactly one year ago we were maybe in our fourth or fifth test. Our first Tarmac test was in the middle of August.”