Thierry Neuville will compete on Rally d'Italia Sardegna next month, it has been announced.
Neuville will run in Nasser Al-Attiyah's Citroen DS3 WRC car as the Qatari will be busy testing in preparation for the 2013 Dakar Rally. It is the second time the Belgian has been entrusted with running for the Qatar World Rally Team, as he also subbed for Al-Attiyah in New Zealand back in June, when his commitments at the London 2012 Olympic Games meant he was unable to make the trip to Auckland.
“Although my involvement with Citroen in the World Championship is very important, I have to make choices and I have to work on the development the buggy that we are preparing for use in the 2013 Dakar Rally,” Al-Attiyah explained. “Thierry showed his potential the first time we entrusted the Qatar World Rally Team's Citroen DS3 WRC to him. He scored some important points for the team and learned a lot from taking part in Rally New Zealand.
“When we were looking for someone to defend the team's colours in Sardinia, with his talent, he was the obvious choice.”
Neuville, who normally competes under the Citroen Junior World Rally Team banner, had initially been due to do eight events this year, but he will now do them all. To date he has had five points finishes - his best results, two fifth places in Argentina and New Zealand. Most recently he came home seventh on his Wales Rally GB debut.
“Competing in Italy will enable me to complete a full championship this season and I couldn't have asked for any better in terms of building up as much experience as possible,” Neuville remarked. “I know the roads in Sardinia, having competed in my first rally in a four-wheel drive car there and I know how difficult and rough the gravel can be.
“But it's yet another opportunity for us so we'll do everything we can not to disappoint Nasser and the Qatar World Rally Team, who have once again put their complete faith in us.
“The best way of thanking them for this opportunity would be to secure a good result and we'll be trying very hard to do just that.”