Thierry Neuville has expressed his satisfaction after finishing in an 'amazing' fifth place on Rally Sweden.
Neuville ran in the top-ten in his Qatar World Rally Team-run Ford Fiesta RS WRC throughout the three-day event, gradually hauling himself up the order and displaying real potential, even though snow is his least preferred surface and even though he was using the event to perfect a new pacenote system.
Still the Belgian managed to keep clear of trouble while also showcasing flashes of real speed, including securing a joint stage victory on Saturday evening's short Super Special in Karlstad [SS8].
The youngster also claimed the laurels in the coveted Colin's Crest Award - launching his Fiesta some 35 metres to the admiration of hundreds of fans lining the stage.
“I'm really pleased with the way we have performed on this rally,” said Neuville after taking his career best result on a winter rally.
“We drove a lot steadier today [Sunday] because the conditions were quite tricky especially on SS21. We drifted slightly into a snow bank and lost a bit of time there. Luckily the car didn't get stuck, but that did cause me to back off a bit more.
“We have done a lot better than I expected this weekend. If somebody had offered me fifth place at the start of the rally, I would definitely have taken it.
“We also claimed the Colin's Crest Award which was quite a nice way to reward the team who have provided us with a perfect car throughout the event. I wasn't flat-out over the jump, so we'll call this year a practice and I might go even further next year!”