Mon 24 Jan 2022

Neuville left empty by Monte frustrations

Thierry Neuville has talked of his frustration and disappointment after finishing almost eight minutes off the pace at last weekend’s season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo.

While the Belgian did manage a stage win on the first run at Sunday’s Briançonnet-Entrevaux test, he departed the principality upset with sixth place and a performance he felt was at odds with the effort put in by the Hyundai Motorsport squad.

“The team has put a huge amount of work in,” he said. “All the time, everybody has been working so hard for the preparation for this car and this season – but we are coming away with really nothing as a reward.”

Neuville ran inside the top four on Friday, improving after an eye-opening start to the second leg in which he described the balance of his Hyundai i20 N as ‘a nightmare’. “I’ve never been so scared while driving,” he said.

But things went downhill on Saturday when a front-right suspension problem hampered him throughout the leg and demoted him to sixth.

“I don’t know what happened with the damper,” he said. “It was coming through [the bonnet] and it was so difficult to drive.

“The rally has been frustrating and really disappointing – it was a tough weekend. The Power Stage was a big disappointment for me.

“Honestly, I drove so hard and pushed so much, but really there was nothing. When I saw this time I was not happy. Martijn [Wydaeghe] and me, we had done everything we could,” added Neuville, who finished third in Sunday’s bonus points-paying test.

Neuville was Hyundai’s only finisher. Ott Tänak retired after going off the road on Saturday and Oliver Solberg was forced out on medical grounds on Sunday morning after inhaling fumes that leaked into his i20 N for the duration of the rally.

Video: Rallye Monte-Carlo 2022 review
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