Fri 22 Apr 2022

Desperate Neuville pushes his way back to service

Thierry Neuville’s Croatia Rally challenge suffered a setback on Friday lunchtime when his Hyundai i20 N ground to a halt on the liaison section back to the Zagreb Fair service park.

The Belgian and co-driver Martijn Wydaeghe were just 12.5sec adrift of leader Kalle Rovanperä after the opening four special stages when their car stopped on the edge of Croatia's capital city with alternator issues.

The pair managed to restart the i20 N but it stopped again forcing them to push it 800 metres in six minutes to reach the time control at the entrance to the service park.

Both were exhausted, Wydaeghe falling to the floor at the control as he gasped for breath. They checked in four minutes late before the powerless car was pushed to Hyundai Motorsport’s team area in the service park.

"We are now fourth on the overall classification but the rally is still long and we won’t give up," said a resilient Neuville at midday service. "We will fight back."

The 40sec penalty relegated the pair to fourth, 52.5sec adrift of leader Rovanperä. The Finn now leads this third round of the FIA World Rally Championship by 47.3sec from Ott Tänak’s i20 N, with Craig Breen’s Puma third, 3.3sec clear of Neuville.  

  • Full coverage from the Croatia Rally will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park
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