Thierry Neuville: For the first time I had tears in my eyes...

Thierry Neuville: For the first time I had tears in my eyes after crossing a finish line

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For Hyundai Motorsport the win in Rally Corsica has been a long time coming. The team had competitive performances at the beginning of the season but Thierry Neuville twice retired from the lead. At last his and the team’s luck turned round and the Belgian scored a highly unlikely victory in the fourth 2017 WRC round.

“They say that all good things come to those who wait, and that phrase could not be more true for us”, Team Principal Michel Nandan commented. “This result is fantastic and I’m overjoyed that we finally have a result we’ve been working so hard to achieve this season. I hope it’s the first of many, many more to come this year. Thierry and Nicolas [Gilsoul] have had a great weekend, showing their resilience after a tricky start on Friday. Scoring four stage wins and demonstrating their resolve while others hit trouble allowed them to really hit their stride. They thoroughly deserve this and makes up for the misfortune in Monte-Carlo and Sweden.”

“It’s also great to see Dani Sordo and Marc Marti back on the podium for the first time this season. This year’s WRC is proving to be exceptionally close among the manufacturers, so we can’t rest. We move to Argentina – which has happy memories from Hayden Padden and John Kenard’s win last year – and will aim to continue in this direction. For now, we will savour this important result.”

Thierry Neuville was also really happy after the difficult start of the season

“Like you say, we almost won twice but we didn’t win”, the Belgian said. “We knew the pace was there and we were able to set many fastest stage times and be in the lead for most of the time in the last rallies, but we were not able to score. This weekend I was expecting a lot because I knew on tarmac we were fast. I had a feeling the car was fast as well from testing.”

“But the rally didn’t start at all like we were expecting because the feeling was good, I had the feeling I was driving well and we were going fast but the times were not right, not bad, but still not where we wanted. So we reacted to it because we work a bit on the car but as well because the roads were different on day two which gave us the opportunity to show the full potential of the car on different kind of roads and score the victory here. It’s an amazing feeling. I think it’s the first time I had tears in my eyes after crossing a finish line, because I’m not very emotional, but this time I knew it was an important result for us.”

“We made a couple of changes in several areas but at the end the feeling was similar. The car felt great and I was still comfortable in the car. We improved slightly the grip level maybe. But in general it felt like the different characteristics of the road suited the car much better. They were not that long, much shorter and we were able to fly through the stages. And we were really enjoying and then the times were better.”

“[On Saturday evening] I was quite calm because I said to myself that it’s happened twice, it cannot happen three times in a row. It’s not possible.”

“So I said to myself, all will work and finally we managed quite well. We drove with a good speed first thing in the morning. When we finished this stage with a good gap compared to Seb [Ogier], we were going to cruise through the last stage as I didn’t want to take any single risk on this Power Stage.”

“At the end I had the feeling like nobody was really pushing like we were doing on the days before. Seb got a problem as well so that’s maybe why we made the fastest time. We were pretty close, maybe one tenth with Dani but we had a good rhythm, a good feeling. We didn’t lose concentration at the end. At the end of the stage we had a one minute gap. So we knew we were pretty safe for the last stage.”

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