Tue 01 Feb 2022

Neuville: ‘We have to be stronger’

Thierry Neuville has urged his Hyundai Motorsport team to react quickly to a disappointing 2022 season opener at Rallye Monte-Carlo.

The Belgian was the Korean firm’s only official finisher, placing his i20 N Rally1 sixth after an arduous four days in the French Alps.

Team-mate Ott Tänak exited after hitting a bank on day three while Oliver Solberg retired on medical grounds on the final morning after his car had leaked fumes into the cockpit throughout the event.

Neuville was the only Hyundai driver to score a fastest time and while he was frustrated with the result, he backed his team to bounce back in time for round two at Rally Sweden (February 24 - 27).

“We know there is a lot of hard work to do,” said Neuville, “and we have to react quickly to what we saw in Monte Carlo. It’s tough.

“The team put in so much preparation, so much work and effort and the result was frustrating and disappointing. I know this team and I know how motivated everybody is both in the team on the event and back in the factory. We will keep pushing and pushing hard – for sure the will to get everything right is there.

“From [Monte-Carlo] we saw there are strong areas for the car, but the one place we have to work is with reliability. I won’t talk about the specific areas, but we all know we have to be stronger on the coming events.”

Neuville spent most of Saturday’s leg fighting against a broken front damper, which punched through his i20’s bonnet at one point.

Deputy team director Julien Moncet agreed with Neuville, adding: “It has definitely been a tough rally for us. I am disappointed for all the team who have pushed so hard, those at the rally and those at the factory.

“We have to react. When the car ran troublefree, we could show some competitive times so the pace is there. We just have to sort out our issues as quickly as possible.”

Video: Rallye Monte-Carlo best of action
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