Recce notes: Vodafone Rally de Portugal
Here's what caught our eye on the pre-event recce
After a decent third at the season opener in Monte Carlo, the Belgian faced misery on the three following rounds. Mechanical problems and a crash meant he collected no points in Sweden or Mexico and in Argentina he dropped six minutes when his i20's engine stopped.
Now, as he prepares for a fresh start in Portugal, Neuville is expecting a turnaround.
"My luck will change for sure. It will not continue like this," he told WRC.com. "I think the best example is Jari-Matti Latvala, he has had very bad luck in his career but at some point that luck comes back - you can continue and it will work out.
"This weekend I feel we are in good shape and with luck on our side we can get a good result. A podium is what I want. Lower than that I will not be satisfied."
Neuville will drive for Hyundai's second-tier 'N' squad in Portugal, while Dani Sordo and Hayden Paddon are nominated points-scorers for the manufacturer's main team. It's a situation that Neuville believes has its benefits.
"It's no disadvantage to be in the number 20 car this week, it will give us more freedom and space to push if needed, it's a bit more relaxed," he said. "I start each rally aiming for points, and here I can focus on the drivers' championship. I'm eighth right now, so I want to get up the rankings."
Neuville acknowledged that Paddon's win last month in Argentina gave him extra reason to push but he cautioned against direct comparisons.
"It's always motivating when somebody beats you, for sure, but in some ways it wasn't really our fault," he explained.
"In Argentina we didn't have the same tools to fight with, but for sure he did very well. It's always nice when you have someone strong in the team but if you fight on the same level with the same tools it is the best."