Thierry Neuville has heaped praise on the new Hyundai i20 WRC challenger and feels it has plenty more to produce after grabbing a third place podium on its maiden outing in the World Rally Championship.
The Belgium driver opted for a cautious approach to Rallye Monte Carlo which ended up paying dividends after a number of his rivals hit problems over the four days.
After Abu Dhabi WRT's Kris Meeke suffered a heart-breaking retirement due to a gearbox failure on the penultimate Saturday stage while running second, Neuville was promoted into third place and was within touching distance of Andreas Mikkelsen in the Volkswagen Polo R WRC machine.
Despite a spirited fight, Neuville was forced to settle for the final step on the podium after experiencing transmission problems on the final stage of the event but was able to limp back to Monaco and clinch his best career result at the Monte.
“I am very excited and pleased with our podium winning during the weekend,” Neuville said. “The new generation i20 WRC has shown its high performance potential and it is good to be back on the podium, particularly after the difficulties we had at the end of last season. To register the first stage wins and now first podium with the new car is a great feeling and this result is for the whole team.”
Due to the WRC manufacturer championship rules, Hyundai leaves the 2016 season opener level on points with Volkswagen Motorsport at the top of the standings, as Neuville's third combined with team-mate Dani Sordo's sixth equalled winner's Sebastien Ogier points haul.