Thierry Neuville admits that his first appearance on Rally Finland next weekend will be the realisation of a dream.
The youngster will be tackling the challenging event for this first time as he seeks to try and match the fifth place finish he secured last time out in New Zealand – which equaled his best result to date in the WRC.
Prior to the Finnish event, Neuville took the opportunity to contest Rally Estonia, where he finished second behind WRC rival Mads Ostberg.
“I started cautiously and then gradually picked up the pace and won a few stages at the end of the rally,” he said. “It's fairly difficult to make direct comparisons with Mads, because he didn't have the same tyres as we use in the WRC. But in any case, this positive experience helped me to prepare in racing conditions. So, we achieved our goal in that respect.”
Neuville added that his aim for the event was to secure a finish while taking the opportunity to learn as much as possible.
“It's a bit like New Zealand, I've been dreaming about taking part in this rally since I was a kid. I'm not expecting it to be easy this weekend, and I know that most non-Nordic drivers have struggled the first time they drive on the stages of the '1000 Lakes Rally'.
“I'm not setting myself any excessively ambitious targets, I'm just going to learn about this rally at my own pace and, if possible, avoid making any mistakes that would cut short the experience!”