Thierry Neuville believes crashing out of the lead for the second time in two rounds at Rally Sweden on Saturday is not the lowest point of his career.
The Belgian held a comfortable 43.3sec lead ahead of the short super special stage at Karlstad trotting track which ended the second leg. However, he hit some tyres on the inside of a corner, breaking his Hyundai i20 Coupe’s front left steering arm and forcing him to stop.
It is the second rally in a row in which an accident has cost Neuville victory. He hit a culvert and broke his suspension in last month’s season-opening Rally Monte-Carlo.
“You have to accept that situation. I have known much worse to be honest, even if we were not losing the win. I have known much more difficult times and I know we will come back very strong and with a bit more luck on our side we can do very well this season,” he told WRC Live.
Neuville’s career suffered a slump in 2015 and early 2016 when his form deserted him. However, he was revitalised by victory in Italy and claimed a string of podiums in the second part of last year.
“After Monte we could not believe it has happened again, but what can we do? I think we were doing a perfect job, Nicolas (co-driver Gilsoul) and me, and I have no regrets on that side, but at the end we missed out on luck.
“We could not do better than this weekend so far. Now a very small mistake cost us again a win, but it is promising for the upcoming events,” he added.
Neuville insisted the accident was not the result of pushing too hard.
“It would have been really bad if I had gone too fast, braked too late and just went off at the corner. Obviously, this wasn’t the case. I entered perfectly my corner but passing the tyres I just corrected a bit and touched 2-3cm too far inside,” he said.