1 August 2014
Rally Finland: Rollcage damage puts Neuville out
Early Rally Finland exit for Hyundai WRC team leader Thierry Neuville after he damages the rollcage in SS5
Thierry Neuville will take no further part in Rally Finland after he damaged the rollcage on his Hyundai i20 WRC this morning.
Neuville did the damage in the very first test of the day, SS5 - the 14.51 km Pihlajakoski test. The Belgian was on the pace at the 9.4km split but went wide into a corner and clipped a stone. He subsequently hit a tree which caused significant wing damage.
The effect of the damage was sufficient to prevent him from pushing in the remaining three stages before the lunchtime service but he kept going nonetheless and still finished the morning eighth, only 2.3 seconds off P7.
During the mid-day service, however, the FIA technical delegate inspected the #7 car and deemed that the rollcage had been irreparably damaged in the incident and so he was forced to retire.
“It has been a really disappointing day for me and it's such a shame that we have had to retire from the rally,” said Neuville.
“We were hoping to make improvements after the tough start yesterday but in the first stage this morning, we went too wide into a corner and just clipped a stone. We lost the rear of the car and made contact with a tree which caused damage to the wing, which slowed us down a lot in the following stages.
“We focussed on getting to the end of each stage to make it to lunchtime service but we had picked up damage to the roll cage which was too severe to continue. We will now concentrate on coming back stronger in Germany.”
Neuville's Hyundai team-mates Hayden Paddon and Juho Hanninen meanwhile ended the day in seventh and ninth respectively, the latter losing over a minute in SS6 when he rolled his i20 WRC. He had been running fourth after setting the second best time in SS5.
“We have had a bit of a turbulent day today, really,” Hanninen added. “We started off very strongly with a competitive stage, just a fraction off the pace, but then in stage six we ran into trouble. We picked up a puncture and rolled the car. Thankfully we were able to continue but we lost over a minute. Tomi [Tuominen – my co-driver] and I tried to make some repairs to the car, including taking the windscreen off, which certainly made driving conditions interesting!
“The mechanics did a great job at service to get the car back into shape and we were on the pace again quickly. During the afternoon, we experienced some power steering issues, particularly in the ruts and jumps, but we are fighting back and I am determined to finish the final two days strongly in front of this fantastic home crowd,” he summed-up.
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