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Tue 26 Jul 2022

Neuville: Finland will be better

Thierry Neuville is confident he can come away from next week’s Secto Rally Finland (4 - 7 August) with a stronger finish than he managed in Estonia earlier this month.

The Belgian finished fourth overall at Rally Estonia despite struggling to get his hybrid-powered Hyundai i20 N set-up to his liking. He also admitted to lacking confidence on the high-speed gravel terrain. 

Next week’s Jyväskylä-based counter shares some similarities with the previous round, although Neuville believes he can bring home a stronger result. 

After a stunning second place on only his second start in Jyväskylä nine years ago, the 34-year-old has struggled to recreate that form. Next week could be the week.

“We did a lot of work with the car in Estonia,” he said. “We were trying things with the car, changing the suspension, making it softer then stiffer to find out some interesting things.

“Finland is a different rally, but it’s a rally I enjoy and I believe I will be better there. We’ve had the chance to test and take some confidence for a better set-up with the car and I think it will be good for us,” he added. 

Hyundai Motorsport endured a rocky start to the season and faced technical issues at a number of rallies early on. 

Neuville rued the troublesome opening rounds, adding that - in his opinion - reliability should have been the main focus from the beginning. 

“If we have a fast car, we can bring good results,” he said. “If the car is not reliable enough then it’s difficult.

“In Estonia, the reliability was 100 per cent and all three cars came to the finish without any real issues, but the performance just wasn’t there.

“Reliability should have been the first target at the beginning of the season and unfortunately that wasn’t the case,” he continued. “Estonia was our first event without trouble, but it was also the first event where I was not fighting for the podium or victory.”

Hyundai Motorsport will field three i20 N Rally1 cars in Finland, with Neuville joined by Ott Tänak and Oliver Solberg.