Saturday | 24 Oct 2015

Question Time: Thierry Neuville

Before the start of RallyRACC Catalunya-Costa Daurada, Thierry Neuville strapped into the WRC hotseat to answer questions suggested by WRC Facebook users.

Congratulations if yours was one of the five questions we picked. We'll be back soon with news of a special Question Time for Wales Rally GB. For now, here's what Thierry had to say in Salou:

Question from René Ernaelsten: 'What do you think about Hayden Paddon's new contract with Hyundai?'
TN: "I was quite surprised he signed for so many years but I knew he was going to stay in the team, that was quite clear to us. I'm very pleased for him. He deserves it. I remember very well the time in my career when I was in a similar situation. Working year-by-year you want to be sure that you have a drive next season. There is a lot of uncertainly. Now it is clear for him. I think it was the right time to sign.

Question from Manuel Liste: What is the difference between your current Hyundai and the 2016 car. Will it be faster than the Polo?
TN: "The difference is that it is a complete new car! Nothing is the same. Well, maybe the brakes are similar, but otherwise it's completely new. A longer chassis, lower, better weight distribution, all is changed. Is it faster than the Polo? I hope so. The aim is to get as close as possible, or even better. So far it's too early to say. We will find out next season."

Question from Chris Davies: Can you tell us what happened between you and Citroën when you left? It seemed a strange time to leave the team when they were so successful?
TN: "It's a good question. In 2012 I had a nine race season and I needed to find sponsors to get two more. Then Nasser [Al-Attiyah] gave me the chance to do New Zealand as well, so I did the full season. For 2013 it was to be a similar project, a couple of races were unsure, and also I would have been in the Junior team. The car was never the same as the factory version, even if sometimes I had some upgrades, like in Germany and France. It was still a good car, but at one point I got the opportunity to join M-Sport for a full season. I wanted to be sure to do all the rounds and that was what was on offer. At that point I wouldn't have been in the official team, but finally we sorted out to be the main team. That is what I needed at that time."

Question from Andrey Golovanov: Which company supplies your glasses?
TN: "A lot of people are asking me this! They are made by a Germany company called Mykita. I've worn them for three years and I'm really happy with them because they are very light and practical to put on under a helmet. They stopped making this exact model a couple of years ago, but we have so many requests that together we are thinking of making something similar. The same colour of course, because the orange is quite flash."
Question from Tomek Migdał: What music do you like? Any favourite bands?
TN: "Favourite bands I would not say. I listen to a lot of pop music, some house, electro, but mostly just what is new and on the radio - nothing special. I never buy CDs and I'm not really interested in watching concerts live. Maybe one day when I get older I will get more interested, but so far, no."

Question from Nico Mollica: "Do you think going to Hyundai in 2014 was a step back in your career, considering the good championship you had in 2013 with the Fiesta?
TN: "No, I don't think it was a step back. When I left M-Sport there was no scope for me to do any better there. We finished second in the championship, a private team against the Volkswagens, so we could only have done worse or similar. My long term aim was to do better. We knew 2014 was going to be difficult. It should have been better in 2015 but the new car was delayed. Still it was a step forward - I had the chance to work with a manufacturer and to develop two cars. It's all good education. I'm still I'm one of the youngest drivers and if everything works out well I can do 10 more years in WRC."

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