Thierry Neuville: In France you accept the pacenote is a bit too...

Thierry Neuville: In France you accept the pacenote is a bit too fast or slow, it is very challenging

Thierry Neuville
Thierry Neuville

Hyundai driver Thierry Neuville about the Tour de Corse rally and his expectations for the fourth round of the WRC.

You showed your pace on tarmac at the start of the year in Monte Carlo – how confident are you of a similar performance in Corsica?

“I am very confident. Our car has shown great speed and we worked on some new things to prepare the car for Corsica, so everything should be alright.”

Second on Tour de Corse last year – can you make the top step of the podium in 2017 and who do you think will be your main rivals?

“I expect the Citroëns to be very fast. We know they have been developing their cars and from what we’ve seen in the past they have been very fast on tarmac, especially when it is dry. You can also see Jari-Matti Latvala and Sébastien Ogier being quick. I am looking forward to it, and Dani and I have a good chance to be on the podium.”

With the last round in Mexico on gravel, what are the main differences between driving on asphalt and loose surfaces?

“The precision you have to bring on tarmac – you must be so efficient in your driving style and use any part of the road that is left to go as fast as possible, and you need to be very precise on the pacenotes too. You have more forces in the cockpit when you are braking and accelerating because there is no wheelspin. Instead there’s more grip and this makes the difference.”

What aspects of Tour de Corse do you enjoy as a driver, and what are the most challenging?

“Most challenging is first of all the recce! After, if you have good pacenotes, it makes the rally much more comfortable. But with that many corners you cannot have them all right, so you have always to look ahead and accept maybe if the pacenote is a bit too fast or slow – especially on the first days when you get into the rhythm – it makes it very challenging.”

You and Nicolas enjoyed victory in Corsica early in your career together – what memories do you have of that event?

“I’ve only done it three times and once was only the shakedown because I retired on the first stage and the weather was horrible. But a couple of years before it was our first international win with Peugeot in the IRC and last year we were second, which felt like a win because the Polo was unbeatable. We had a huge gap compared to our team-mates on that rally and the guys behind were quite far back.”