Thierry Neuville delivered a big vote of thanks to team-mate Dani Sordo for answering an emergency call to step into his safety note crew and play a crucial part in Sunday’s Rallye Monte-Carlo win.
When regular safety note driver Bruno Thiry fell ill pre-event, Sordo took on the role, driving the alpine speed tests a couple of hours before Neuville attacked the roads to provide vital pace note advice on changing conditions and tyre choice.
It’s a complex job as the safety note crew must understand the type of information a driver requires and Neuville admitted it took time for the partnership to gel.
“We struggled definitely. On Friday it was tough to get the cnfidence and to understand the work which had been done by the crew,” Neuville told wrc.com.
“We sat down together on Friday night and Dani was really reacting very well on Saturday morning straight away. He understood my needs and my wordings as well and it went much better from then. On Saturday afternoon and Sunday he did a fabulous job which gave the me the confidence to push hard.
“You can have information on the humidity and lines, but it can also be greasy at the same time so it’s important to have the most dangerous things in your notes instead of only what you see. That was what we changed and it worked well,” explained the Hyundai i20 driver.
Neuville won seven out of the last eight stages on Saturday and Sunday to climb from third to first and seal a 12.6sec victory over Sébastien Ogier in the FIA World Rally Championship’s season opener.
Victory offset the disappointment of losing out to Ogier 12 months ago by 2.2sec in the closest Monte finish ever. His win also ended Ogier’s six-year winning streak at the rally.
“It was pretty much time it changed! We were pretty close last year and we really regret we weren’t able last year to already win this rally. We delivered revenge and we took it this year. I have a lot of dreams but obviously winning Rallye Monte-Carlo is something special,” he added.