tribute after Italy win
Thierry Neuville has dedicated his win at Rally Italia Sardegna to the late Philippe Bugalski and Jean-Pierre Mondron; two influential figures in the sport who mentored the Belgian in his early career.
Neuville paid tribute to both men after sealing his second WRC victory last Sunday, two years after his first win at ADAC Rallye Deutschland.
Frenchman Bugalski was a key figure in Citroën's rallying programme in the 1990s, both as a driver (he won the 1999 WRC rounds in Corsica and Catalunya at the wheel of a Xsara Kit Car) and a test driver. He died in 2012 at the age of 49.
Mondron, from Belgium, was co-founder of the Kronos motorsport team which ran Citroën's world championship programme in 2006 and later a Peugeot 207 S2000 for a young Neuville in the IRC.
Talking on Sunday afternoon, Neuville said he was indebted to both men who had backed him before his career took off.
"Today would be the birthday of Philippe, he was one of the main mentors to me, who invested a lot in me, a lot of time and help, and he gave me the chance to get in the WRC very quickly, so this is why I dedicated this win to him. It is a special win for me and especially on this day, 12 June," he said.
"This win is for him but it is also for Jean Pierre Mondron from Kronos, who died two weeks ago, who was one of the biggest fans and one of the biggest supporters in my whole career; this win is dedicated also to him."
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