Neuville aims for a top 5-6 position after early difficulties

Neuville aims for a top 5-6 position after early difficulties

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Hyundai had another day of mixed fortunes at Rally Monte Carlo. Dani Sordo consolidated his third position but his teammates Thierry Neuville and Andreas Mikkelsen had a number of problems.

Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul were hoping to bounce back from a frustrating Thursday, which saw them languishing down in 17th overall

The duo lost more time as a result of a rear-left puncture in SS3 but were then among the quickest crews in the remaining stages of the day. A string of top-three times culminated in a stage win in SS8, moving them up to ninth overall just 2.4-seconds from the top-eight.

“We had a puncture on the very first stage this morning, which lost us a lot of time. After that, we had a pretty good day. I am certainly happier than I was at the end of Thursday! Our aim was simply to make up as many positions as we could by driving cleanly and carefully”, Neuville explained.

“For sure, the weather this afternoon didn’t help anyone. The conditions were horrible with rain and mud, some aquaplaning and visibility problems. At the end of the afternoon, in SS8, the car was working well and we could enjoy ourselves a bit more. We are up into ninth overall, and everything is possible in the coming two days. A top-five or top-six finish is not out of the question.”

For Andreas Mikkelsen and Anders Jæger, it was a day to forget

The Norwegians, having set an impressive pace on Thursday, encountered an alternator problem at the end of the first stage of the day, which they couldn’t fix in the short space of time before the subsequent stage.

“Just after the end of SS3, an alarm went off in the car to signal low battery voltage. We stopped the car to check and discovered it was an alternator issue. With such a short space of time before SS4, we had no chance to fix the car, so we had to retire for the day. Fortunately, we are able to start again under Rally 2 on Saturday but it’s not really the way we wanted to get begin our 2018 season. We will now use the remaining stages to build some experience in the car, which we still need in order to find the optimum feeling on tarmac. The only thing we have left to fight for this weekend is the Power Stage”, Mikkelsen said.

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