Qatar M-Sport's Thierry Neuville expects a challenge on this weekend's forthcoming Rally of Portugal.

Despite scoring his first WRC podium on the last event in Mexico, the Belgian expects a tougher run on the Algarve stages and for strategy to play an important role on the event.

"People often say that this is the first 'conventional' event of the season, but that's not to say it's not without its challenges," he admitted.

"The long stage on Sunday will be a big test for the crews, but first we need to get there. With no midday service on Friday we'll need to play a clever game and ensure we look after the car and tyres.

"Strategy will play a key role for sure."

Neuville admitted that despite M-Sport showing well in previous events, he would be happy to settle for a points finish in Portugal given his lack of experience.

"Our results in Sweden and Mexico mean that we are feeling confident, but we can't let that take over," he said. "We are still learning but I would hope that we can secure a fifth or fourth position next week."

Team-mate Nasser Al-Attiyah is equally as confident of a points scoring finish having scored his career best result of fourth on the event last year.

"I have good memories from this rally as it is where I recorded my best ever result in the WRC - fourth place overall last year," said the Qatari.

"We had a great run in Mexico and I hope we can keep the momentum going for another good result here."

Neuville and Al-Attiyah lie sixth and tenth in the championship standings.

By George East


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