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Neuville bags 'thoroughly deserved' second podium
3 June 2013
Qatar World Rally Team man Thierry Neuville notched up his second podium of the season on the Acropolis Rally of Greece last weekend.
The Belgian played out his conservative strategy to perfection and was flawless in his approach to this notoriously difficult event.
Indeed he was never lower than fourth place overall and was rarely out of the top five on the individual stage times in his M-Sport-run Ford Fiesta RS WRC, eventually taking third place with ease, more than 1.5 minutes up on Andreas Mikkelsen in fourth.
“We've shown this weekend that the car is very competitive and I think that we have shown that we [myself and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul] can be competitive too,” Neuville stated. “We have done a good job this weekend – the strategy paid off and we achieved our second podium of the year. I didn't think it would come so soon.”
“We have proven that we can be clever as well as fast [too] – something which is very important here in Greece,” he added. “OK, it is not so easy! I am only 24 and sometimes it is very hard to see the others [drivers] setting really fast times and telling yourself that you need to hold back. But it is working, and we are improving all the time.
“The team have done a great job this weekend and I need to say a big thanks to my mechanics who were fantastic all weekend. I really hope that our performance continues like this and that we can continue to improve over the rest of the season.”
Team-mate Nasser Al-Attiyah meanwhile also had a good event and while he couldn't hold off Mikkelsen and keep fourth, he was still pretty pleased with his third fifth place finish in a row.
“This has been another fantastic rally for us. OK, it was a shame not to get fourth place, but Andreas drove very well today and it was more important for us to finish the event and secure another top-five,” Al-Attiyah explained.
“The team have all worked very hard and I am very happy to finish in the top-five. We have done three WRC rallies this season and always finished in the top-five which is a very good performance for us.”
M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson added: “It was a really mature drive from Thierry. He stuck to his game plan, wasn't drawn into any battles and thoroughly deserved his podium finish. Nasser too has been fantastic this weekend. He has now finished in the top-five on all [WRC] events this year. Teamed with his string of victories in the [FIA] Middle East [Rally Championship], this is looking set to be a very good year for him. We're set-up well for the second half of the season now. The whole M-Sport team has performed really well this weekend and I am sure that more good results will follow.”
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