Thierry Neuville credited new engineer Gerard Zyzik for persuading him to adopt major set-up changes that cemented second place at last weekend’s Che Guevara Energy Drink Tour de Corse.
The Belgian was in the thick of a battle with Andreas Mikkelsen midway through Saturday’s second leg. Less than six seconds split the pair and although Neuville held sway, he was unhappy with the handling of his Hyundai i20 on the wider sections of the mountain speed tests.
After making changes during the mid-leg service in Bastia, Neuville increased his advantage to 21.5sec in the afternoon and that was enough to secure the runners-up spot at Sunday’s finish.
Zyzik has been responsible for much of the development work on Hyundai’s new 2017 challenger, but has stepped into engineer Neuville following the departure of Clement Mitchell.
“This weekend my engineer was very sound. He helped me to make some new bigger changes which he convinced me to do. He pushed hard to do the changes and finally all the changes we did were positive, so that was important,” Neuville told wrc.com.
“We changed the differential and we made many set-up changes on the dampers. It was good to get my confidence as well after the huge changes he was sure about. He convinced me, so when I was sure the changes were correct it was good for the confidence between us and good for the teamwork,” he added.
Zyzik is expected to remain alongside Neuville for the final three rounds of the season in Spain, Great Britain and Australia.
It is also looking increasingly likely that Neuville will stay at Hyundai in 2017. He has been linked with possible moves to Citroën and Toyota but said his future should be confirmed before the WRC’s next round in Spain next week.