Thierry Neuville has said his main aim on Wales Rally GB this coming weekend is to 'finish strongly' and secure second in the 2013 WRC Drivers' Championship.
Neuville will switch to Hyundai
next season – a decision announced last week – and as such he will have extra incentive to do well on his final outing, at least for now, with M-Sport.
“Our main aim for this rally will be to finish strongly and secure second place in the drivers' championship,” confirmed the Belgian, who has a 14-point cushion over Jari-Matti Latvala. “Of course our plan was to win at least one rally this season, but we have not achieved that yet.
“With that in mind, I would like to be in the fight for victory this week and it would be great to finish the season with another podium for the team.”
Neuville has taken six podiums so far this year for the Qatar World Rally Team, but has only competed in Wales once, finishing seventh in 2012.
“Wales Rally GB is certainly a difficult event. There are lots of changes in grip – sometimes the ground can be wet, but there is actually quite a lot of grip, then all of a sudden it can get really muddy and you lose traction almost straight away,” he added. “Given the time of year, it is very cold and we could even see some ice in places.
“The main challenge for the driver is to judge the grip correctly. You need to have a very good recce and analyse every aspect of the stages.”
Nasser Al-Attiyah meanwhile will pilot the other Ford Fiesta RS WRC entered under the Qatar World Rally Team banner and this will be his fifth outing on WRGB.
“I am really looking forward to this event and for the Qatar M-Sport teams to end their season on another high. This is an event which suits the [Ford] Fiesta, and I hope that at least one of our crews will be on the podium come the end of the rally – that would be the perfect way to end what has been a very encouraging season for Qatar and M-Sport,” he continued.
“I like this event, but it is certainly a challenge. The stages are very fast and technical and there can be lots of changes in grip throughout each test. You need to have a really good recce, and also be able to react quickly when the stages are live. The fans in Wales are always very enthusiastic so it is a great way to end the season,” he concluded.