Mon 29 Jan 2024

Neuville: “This was a real Monte-Carlo”

Hyundai Motorsport ace Thierry Neuville has affirmed that Rallye Monte-Carlo remained as challenging as ever this year, despite the drier weather conditions.

Despite the reduced snowfall at the opening round of this year’s FIA World Rally Championship, drivers, co-drivers, and cars were still pushed to the maximum on roads scattered with black ice, dirt, and frost.

 

While drivers such as Ott Tänak, Takamoto Katsuta, and Andreas Mikkelsen each had time-consuming excursions in the French Alps, Neuville and co-driver Martijn Wydaeghe, who secured victory with a 16.1-second lead over nine-time Rallye Monte-Carlo winner Sébastien Ogier, navigated flawlessly throughout the week.

 

Reflecting on the event, Neuville emphasized that the challenge was as daunting as ever.

 

“It was a real Monte-Carlo,” the Belgian told WRC.com. “I didn’t expect it to be this tough, to be honest. Even this (Sunday) morning, on the first stage it was very tricky because we had high speed In the dry sections and then suddenly, bam, the grip was gone.

 

“In the second stage, the first 1.5 kilometres were completely frozen and we didn’t have it in the notes, so that made it really challenging but it was a lot of fun.”


Neuville also took full advantage of the WRC’s new points structure, which came into effect for the first time last week.

 

His push to reclaim the lead in Saturday’s final stage ensured that he garnered 18 points, while his blistering pace throughout Sunday, including in the rally-ending Wolf Power Stage, saw him depart Monaco with a perfect 30-point score.


“For sure, it was on my mind,” he said, referencing the new system. “The points you take, they are taken and nobody can take them away, so that’s something we will always have to remember on a Saturday – to try to fight as many positions up as you can. Between the lead and second [on Saturday night] it’s a three-point difference, so it’s really important.”

 


Latvia
Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Italy
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Hungary
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM