Neuville: I’d rather have a bigger lead but we can’t dwell on...

Neuville: I’d rather have a bigger lead but we can’t dwell on what’s happened in recent rallies

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Hyundai Motorsport has suffered a setback in its FIA World Rally Championship bid following a lacklustre performance at Wales Rally GB. Thierry Neuville salvaged a fifth-place finish after dropping down the classification following an off on Saturday morning. His teammates Andreas Mikkelsen and Hayden Paddon completed the rally in sixth and seventh respectively with just four seconds separating all three crews.

Hyundai Motorsport has consequently lost ground to Toyota Gazoo Racing in the manufacturers’ fight, now holding a 20-point deficit. With two rounds of the 2018 WRC season remaining in Spain and Australia – and a maximum 86 points up for grabs – the title battle remains fierce.

Neuville continues to lead the drivers’ championship, albeit with a reduced seven-point advantage over Wales Rally GB winner Sébastien Ogier

Ott Tanak also remains firmly in the chase in third.

“We have given it everything”, Neuville said. “The mistake [on Saturday] ended any chance of scoring a podium but we’ve pushed hard to reclaim a few lost positions. The championship is far from over. From a fan point of view, it’s getting exciting between me, Sébastien and Ott. I’d rather have a bigger lead than we have now, but we can’t dwell on what’s happened in recent rallies. We have to pick ourselves up and fight for overall victory in the final two rounds. It’s in our hands.”

Hyundai took five stage wins over the weekend in Wales

“Our aim was to salvage whatever we could from a difficult weekend. We came to this rally hoping to fight for a podium or even the win. But it hasn’t transpired. We failed to get the correct set-up of the cars for this event. We made improvements during Friday afternoon. Things were better by Saturday but with Thierry’s issue we were too far behind”, Team Principal Michel Nandan commented.

“We have to accept the result, learn from the experience and move on. We have allowed ourselves to fall behind in the championship and we now have just two rallies remaining this season from which we can bounce back. It will be an uphill battle but we have to give it everything possible.”

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