Neuville led the Marmaris-based event after Friday’s opening stage and then again through Saturday afternoon, but fell foul of a puncture on Sunday morning’s opening test. Stopping to change a tyre cost Neuville the lead and left him second at the finish.
“I expected the win on this one,” said the Hyundai Motorsport driver. “After what happened to us here in previous years, we really believed that P1 would be ours this year. We were close, but we didn’t get it.
“I was disappointed with the puncture. We were in the middle of the road and it felt like we were controlling the race, but we were not the only ones who were unlucky with the tyres.”
Neuville narrowed the gap between himself and the championship lead by five points, from 37 to Sébastien Ogier before the event to 32 to Elfyn Evans after it.
Video: 67 minutes that changed Rally Turkey
“There are positives,” said Neuville, “and the fact that we’re closer to Ogier and to [Ott] Tänak is good. I was able to fightback for P2 and that’s positive.
“I think we did an exceptional job in Turkey, there were no mistakes from our side and we made very good management of the event. We reacted very fast to the set-up changes to the car and they made the car faster, they worked. We were the strongest performer but still we weren’t P1.
“But now let’s focus on Sardinia. We’ll be fifth on the road there and that should be good, depending on the weather,” he added.
Neuville has good memories of Rally Italia Sardegna, winning a final-stage thriller against Ogier there in 2018.