Thierry Neuville is 'hungry' to score more podiums, after taking his first top-three finish on last weekend's Rally Mexico.
The young Belgian was pushing Citroen's Mikko Hirvonen for second on Sunday, but an off-road excursion in the opening stage of the day in his Qatar World Rally Team-run Ford Fiesta RS WRC car made him settle for third, bringing home an important 15 points for both him and the team.
“I hope this is not the last time you will see us here!” said Neuville. “We're hungry for more podiums and one day I hope that it will be the top-step that we are standing on.”
Neuville also praised M-Sport, who prepare the cars, and added that what he learned in Mexico will stand him in good stead for future events.
“We learnt a lot and we agreed with the team that we would push this [Sunday] morning because we thought, even if we get no podium here, we will definitely get one at another rally. So we certainly tried to push Mikko for second,” he continued.
“All in all this is an absolutely fantastic result for us. I want to say a big thank you to the team because they did a really great job all weekend.
“Everything worked really well for us, and even when we damaged the car a bit, they repaired it perfectly.”
In the post-rally press conference, Neuville's co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul added that making constant improvements and taking a more mature approach to events was what allowed them to get their first rostrum.
“For one year now we have worked hard together to understand the WRC and improve our pace notes on each event,” he explained. “I understood there was no damage on the car [when we went off in the first stage on Sunday] but, even 100 metres before the corner, I knew that there was no way to make it. We learn now and it will be better next time.”
Neuville's third place was M-Sport's second consecutive podium of the season after Mads Ostberg finished third on last month's Rally Sweden, albeit for the sister Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team.
“What a fantastic result for Thierry and Nicolas! They controlled the rally perfectly and I am extremely proud that Qatar and M-Sport can be the ones to bring them the first of what I am sure will be many podiums in the WRC,” summed-up M-Sport boss, Malcolm Wilson.
by George East