Thierry Neuville says the problems his Hyundai team have encountered in the opening two rounds of the season are part of the development process of the new i20 car.
The Belgian retired with broken front right suspension in the opening stage of today’s second leg of Rally Sweden. He was followed out by team-mate Juho Hanninen, who retired in the second pass of the same stage after pulling off his front right wheel.
Their demise followed first day exits for Neuville and Dani Sordo in Rallye Monte-Carlo last month, but Neuville told wrc.com he could accept the team’s early problems.
“That’s the choice I took at the end of last year when I joined Hyundai,” he said. “I knew this year would be hard, a big challenge, but this is part of the development. We’re learning from everything and we’ll continue developing the car and parts.
“We have to accept this. Hopefully we won’t have too many problems like this but if we do it’s normal, I think,” added Neuville.
His retirement came in a slow right corner about 5km from the finish.
“We had a small impact. I thought maybe we punctured, but we broke a piece of the suspension. It’s a shame because we were doing quite well. I was quite slow this morning because they were tricky conditions and I didn’t want to risk anything. We definitely weren’t too fast,” he said.
Team principal Michel Nandan said he expected Neuville to return tomorrow under Rally 2 regulations. “We just want to have a careful look at the damage and then I think it will be no big problem to repair it,” he said.