26 August 2013
Rallye Deutschland: Our time will come, says Neuville
Thierry Neuville: I'm very satisfied with our performance in Germany. We were the only crew who was always in a position to fight for victory from the start to the finish.
Qatar World Rally Team pilot Thierry Neuville believes he proved a lot on Rallye Deutschland, even if he did have to settle for second - and he is confident now that his 'time will come' and he will get to taste the victory champagne.
Neuville put in a sensational performance during the ninth round in the 2013 World Rally Championship and going into the final leg on Sunday was locked in an epic battle for the lead with Citroen's Dani Sordo.
As the stages ventured back to the Belgian's favoured hunting ground in the Mosel vineyards, he went into the last two tests on Sunday with it all to play for – just 0.8 seconds separating him from securing the top-step on the podium.
Using the first pass as a high-speed recce to double check the notes he lost just 2.2 seconds to Sordo - a feat made all the more impressive considering he was also nursing a slow puncture. That left only a three-second deficit going into the final stage.
As the Belgian fans roared at the stage end, the leading pair traded fastest splits throughout the 24.58 kilometre stage – it all coming down to the final five kilometres. Ultimately, the battle came to an end some three kilometres from the finish line. Pushing to the limit, Neuville put his M-Sport-run Fiesta RS WRC slightly off-road – gifting 50 seconds to his rival and forfeiting a potential first win.
Regardless of that, however, Neuville was still pleased and his third runners-up spot in succession – and fourth podium on the trot – strengthens his hold on second position in the 2013 WRC Drivers' Championship.
“This was an incredible weekend,” he reflected, “and I feel we proved a lot again, even if we did ultimately just miss out on the win. The battle with Dani reminded me of some of the fights I used to have in the IRC!
“Nicolas [Gilsoul, my co-driver] and I decided we were going to go for it on the final stage, but there was a corner towards the start that was much dirtier than I'd expected and I went slightly wide, which cost me two seconds.
“We then gave it everything – driving flat-out to regain the time we had lost and try to win in front of all our supporters. The split-times showed that approach was working well, but then coming out of the forest [near the end], I mistook one fast left-hand corner in the vineyards for another and we went off. By the time Nicolas announced the pacenote, it was already too late. Luckily we were able to rejoin the road and make it to the finish without losing position.”
“Dani drove really well all weekend, though, setting consistently fast times and making no mistakes. I can only congratulate him and Carlos [del Barrio, his co-driver] and hope that soon it will be our turn,” Neuville added.
“Second place is still a great result for us and I'm very satisfied with our performance in Germany. We were the only crew who was always in a position to fight for victory from the start to the finish. This performance throughout the weekend without any big mistakes is good.
“At least we tried [to win], and our time will come.”
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