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Fri 28 Apr 2023

Neuville: No real positives to take from Croatia

Thierry Neuville left last week’s Croatia Rally feeling frustrated after collecting just five points from the challenging asphalt fixture.

The Belgian driver led the rally throughout Friday’s opening leg but bowed into retirement on Saturday morning when he hit a concrete post, causing damage to the rear left corner of his Hyundai i20 N.

Neuville rejoined the action for Sunday’s four-stage finale and was able to salvage five bonus points by winning the Wolf Power Stage, however, he left feeling frustrated by set-up struggles on his car.

“To be honest, we didn’t have the pace,” he told WRC.com. “We had to push very hard and take a lot of risks to be able to keep up, and the car wasn’t very comfortable to drive.

“There were no real positives, but we obviously got some more data for the engineers to see what we can work on and what to improve, so hopefully we are going to use it to make a better car for the next Tarmac round.”

When asked whether he could take any consolation from the fact he had won the Wolf Power Stage, Neuville added: “Of course, we can go fast, I mean, we have all similar power, all similar aero - the cars are all very similar.

“For sure, you can go more or less the same speed, but it’s just about taking more risks or having more moments than the others because the car is more nervous and more unpredictable. That was the case for us this week.”

A silver lining for Neuville is that next time out at Vodafone Rally de Portugal (11 - 14 May), he will start fourth in the order - offering the potential advantage of cleaner road conditions.