25 January 2015
WRC Rallye Monte Carlo: Neuville breaks Monte jinx, snatches fifth
Hyundai's Thierry Neuville notches up his first Rallye Monte Carlo finish and snatches fifth place from team-mate Dani Sordo in the final stage
Hyundai's Thierry Neuville says it feels “great” to have finally got to the finish of Rallye Monte Carlo.
Neuville crashed out in the very first stage twelve months ago and after also having retired in 2013, 2012 and 2011, he was determined to get to the end, gradually building up his confidence and in the final test he did enough to steal fifth place from team-mate, Dani Sordo, finishing 0.8 seconds ahead.
“It feels great to have completed my first Rallye Monte-Carlo,” said Neuville. “It is an unbelievable rally, really difficult and it is a real honour to have the opportunity to drive some of these fantastic stages.
“After the disappointment of last season, we wanted to take things a bit cautiously but I have gained more confidence with each stage and have really enjoyed myself today. It was a really close battle with Dani for the fifth place so I had to push a bit more in today's stages.
"To get both cars to the end of the rally is the most important thing and it is a great team result. Hopefully, it is a good foundation for the rest of the season.”
Sordo was disappointed to miss out on fifth, but still drove well to get good points after losing more than 30 seconds in the very first test when he went off the road.
“The battle with Thierry was incredibly close but he was a little faster in the final two stages, so good for him,” Sordo noted.
“We lost a bit too much time in the Col de Turini stage but sixth place is still a good result. The conditions have been really difficult on all days and we had a lot of ground to make up after losing time in the opening stage.
“I have tried to push where possible but it has been slippery and at times unpredictable, so we have also had to be careful. We have shown some good pace over the weekend and we can start this season in a much more positive way compared to last year.”
“Our target was to reach the end of the rally with both cars, and we have achieved that so it is a good result for the whole team,” added the Spaniard.
Hyundai team boss Michel Nandan echoed those thoughts: “I am very pleased to register a two car finish in this year's Rallye Monte-Carlo and with both cars fighting for the top five. It has been a fantastic effort from Thierry and Dani,” Nandan continued.
“The team has performed at a high level throughout the weekend, and we have approached the rally with the correct mentality.
“The tricky conditions have meant difficult – and often late – strategy calls, particularly with the tyres, and we've coped well with these. Both drivers have gained confidence over the four days and we've set some decent stage times. We wanted a two car finish and we have achieved that with both cars in the top six, which is a great start to our second season in the WRC.”
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