6 September 2013
Rally Australia: Neuville to take 'different approach'
Thierry Neuville prepares for Rally Australia debut
Thierry Neuville has admitted he will need take a 'different approach' on Rally Australia next week and while he would like another podium, he concedes he would be happy with a top-five finish, given he has never contested the event before.
Neuville is on a roll currently and in Germany last month took his third runners-up spot in succession - and fourth podium on the trot - only just losing out on the victory to Dani Sordo following a nail-biting final stage decider.
His recent successes has propelled him up to second in the 2013 WRC Drivers' Championship standings, and the young Belgian is determined now to try and hold onto that position.
“This will be our first time in Australia so we will need to take a different approach to what we have had recently,” Neuville confirmed ahead of round ten in the championship. “We will be discovering the stages for the first time, but I think that we are well prepared.
“Both Nicolas [Gilsoul, my co-driver] and I have been studying lots of on-boards from 2011 so, hopefully, we will be in the best possible position going into the recce.
“From what I have heard, the stages are very fast. You can even compare them to Finland although there are obviously a lot less jumps and the gravel is a lot looser and softer. We could see some big ruts form over the second pass so, as always, road position will be key."
“With all the podiums we have had, I would of course like to have another,” added the Qatar World Rally Team pilot, when asked about his targets. "But honestly, I think a top-five finish would be a good result for us.
"For me, the most important thing is to hold onto second place in the championship – from now until the end of the season.”
Despite that, however, Neuville is confident the M-Sport-run Fiesta RS WRC will be capable of challenging the VW Polos and Citroen DS3s and while he is regarded as something of a tarmac-specialist, he has proved his worth on all surfaces this season – with four of his five podiums being secured on loose-surface rallies.
“The [Ford] Fiesta [RS WRC] was very competitive in Finland, so I see no reason why it won't be just as competitive in Australia,” he continued.
“We have had no testing before this event, though, so we will need to spend some time discovering the best set-up during the rally.”
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