Wednesday | 18 Mar 2020

Neuville calm after Mexico setback

Thierry Neuville remains relaxed about his start to the WRC season despite finishing a lowly 16th on a tough Rally Guanajuato Mexico last weekend.

The Belgian struggled with an electrical problem and retired his Hyundai i20 from the opening day’s action in León.

Despite those problems, and further reported issues on Saturday, he won five of the second day’s special stages. That performance and his position in the championship mean the Rallye Monte-Carlo winner is focusing on the positives in the WRC’s enforced break.

“Going home from Mexico I’m still third in the championship. It’s OK. I will benefit from a better place on the road – even if I don’t know where that (rally) will be.

“Unfortunately, we were caught out by some technical issues on the first proper day of the rally and that put us on the back foot. It’s tough to take but it’s also part of the game in motorsport.

Video - Rally Guanajuato Mexico - onboard compilation Hyundai

“On a positive note, we have shown that the speed is there to fight for the victory. After our troubles we wanted to come back fighting and we did just that with a strong Saturday overall,” Neuville explained.

He ended with eight stage wins and contributed points to Hyundai’s defence of its manufacturers’ title, even though the gap between the Korean squad and leaders Toyota Gazoo Racing increased to 21 points.

“We bring back some points for the manufacturers. It was important, that’s why we kept going. We set some good times, some fastest times, that’s always nice.

“I tried to push as hard as possible. Together, as a team, we are going to work hard to avoid the sort of problems we’ve had this weekend and to come back stronger than ever,” added Neuville, whose team-mate, Dani Sordo, also retired on Friday with an overheating engine.

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With next month’s SpeedAgro Rally Argentina postponed, Neuville will have time to consider his approach for the rest of the season.

“This situation is strange,” he said, “but it’s strange for us all, nobody knows what’s happening. But, I’m still third in the championship and I’m still top Hyundai.”