Neuville pledges not to change attacking style

Group Rallying Editor
@davidevansrally

Thierry Neuville says he has no regrets about the risk-all strategy which looks to have cost him his chance of challenging Sebastien Ogier for this year’s World Rally Championship title.

The Hyundai star was 17 points down on Ogier ahead of last week’s Rally Spain, but a double retirement on Saturday and Sunday allied to Ogier’s second place at the finish mean he goes to Wales Rally GB trailing M-Sport’s Frenchman by 38 points.

Neuville said: “It’s very bad for us in the fight for the championship. That’s the situation and we have to accept it. After the problems we had on Saturday, our chances were much smaller to win and we had to push hard to come back strong to take some points from the event. That we have done and there are no regrets.”

Ogier now needs to finish Wales with at least 31 of his 37-point lead intact to seal his fifth consecutive title. Until that’s done, the now third-placed Neuville says there is still hope.

“It’s not over,” he said. “As long as there is a chance mathematically to win the championship we won’t give up. We will fight. It does change the championship. It’s going to be much more difficult now.”

Neuville says he has no regrets over approach. Pic: Mcklein

The Salou-based event was a disaster for Neuville’s Hyundai team, with all three cars retiring due to the same suspension problem. Team principal Michel Nandan admitted the Frankfurt-based squad would be looking at the strength of i20 Coupe WRC – but pointed out there was nothing the team could do to change the components ahead of the last two rounds of the series. 

A homologation joker would be needed to make significant changes to the car and there’s not time to do that before the season’s last two events.

Nandan said: “It’s a very bad weekend. We try all weekend and we ask the driver to do all they can do. It’s true when you try to the maximum you can, you must take some risks – and now we have to take the consequence. In the end all three cars stop with the same failure: cutting too much and damaging the suspension. But, I have to say it’s difficult not to take any risks. You optimise the road and cut a bit everywhere, sometimes it works, but it didn’t work here. It’s part of the game to take some risks.”

Asked if he was concerned that rival cars had hit the same post in stage 12 without being forced into retirement the way Andreas Mikkelsen and Dani Sordo were, Nandan added: “If it’s true, we have a big problem with the car. 

“When you hit something you can damage parts. Maybe our car is more fragile but it’s like that and we can’t change anything.”

Neuville added that he would be doing all he could to find a solution ahead of Wales. “I don’t know if there’s a weakness,” he said. “My part is to drive the car as fast as I can and give the feedback from there. Cars are not made to go through the bushes to hit things, but we have to analyse and to see – if it is that the Ford survived where Dani and Andreas retired, then we have to see why we didn’t. 

“We are going to fight hard to find solutions to be more competitive on upcoming events, we have missed part of our success in the past couple of races but we will come back.” 

Recent news

Column

Motorsport isn't about gender

By Jack Benyon

Racing News

British champion Ahmed closes on Euro F3 deal

BRDC British Formula 3 champion Enaam Ahmed appears to be closing in on a deal to move up to...

Racing News

Barwell expands to three Lamborghinis for British GT

Barwell Motorsport will expand to field three Lamborghini Huracan GT3s in next year’s British...

Racing News

New race series for classic Porsche 911s

A new race series for pre-1966 Porsche 911s has been launched by Peter Auto, the French-based...

Racing News

Simpson moves from Dynamics to Eurotech

British Touring Car Championship racer Matt Simpson will move from Team Dynamics to the expanding...

Racing News

Morris won't return to defend British GT3 title

New British GT3 champion Seb Morris will not return to defend the title he won this year alongside...

Rallying News

Bakkerud to make Andros Trophy debut

World Rallycross ace Andreas Bakkerud will make his debut in the Andros Trophy ice racing series...

Column

Stop kicking the WRC Down Under

By Colin Clark

Rallying News

New rules to cut costs in World Rallycross

A raft of measures aimed at reducing costs in the World Rallycross Championship have been introduced...

Racing News

Bushell to return to BTCC with Team Hard

Two-time Renault UK Clio Cup champion Mike Bushell will return to the British Touring Car Championship...

Rallying News

VW R5 car completes first public test

Volkswagen's Polo GTi R5 World Rally Championship WRC2 car has been seen testing in public for...

Racing News

Double R signs American for 2018 British F3

Leading BRDC British Formula 3 team Double R Racing has made American driver Dev Gore its first...

Racing News

Combe changes set to tackle track limits

The Castle Combe Circuit will make changes for 2018 in a bid to stop track limits being exploited...

Rallying News

WRC split on Mahonen's plan for shorter stages

FIA rally director Jarmo Mahonen’s plans for shorter stages in the World Rally Championship...

Racing News

Clio champion Bushell eyes TCR UK move

Two-time Renault UK Clio Cup champion Mike Bushell says TCR UK is a “serious option” for...

Rallying News

WRC eSports final on Motorsport.tv and Autosport

The 2017 eSports WRC Powered by Hyundai Grand Final will be live streamed by Motorsport.tv today,...

Rallying News

WRC title fight will go to the wire in 2018

M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson believes that his team will face an even bigger challenge to defend...

Rallying News

Rovanpera and Solberg team up in Fiestas

World Rally Championship stars of the future Kalle Rovanpera and Oliver Solberg will team-up...

Racing News

DTM returns to Brands Hatch for 2018

The DTM will return to Brands Hatch next season, with the Kent venue securing an August date...

Racing News

HHC signs Ginetta champion for GT4 expansion

HHC Motorsport will expand to field two cars in next year's British GT Championship, and has...

Rallying News

M-Sport gets Ford support from America

Malcolm Wilson has revealed that his M-Sport team will benefit from technical backing from Ford...

Racing News

Button's year out "best thing I've done"

Jenson Button says his "love for motor racing is back" after spending a year away from Formula...

1 2 3 36

More national news, in-depth race reports and analysis. Subscribe to the Motorsport News paper today.

What’s On

This weekend

No Events

Later

No Events

X