Hyundai boss Michel Nandan has given little sympathy to Thierry Neuville after throwing away a winning position at Rally Sweden by crashing on SS15 with a 43-second lead.
The Belgian driver looked destined to make amends for running off the road while leading at the 2017 season opener Rallye Monte Carlo last month in Sweden but despite his comfortable lead on the final stage of the penultimate day of action he crashed into a concrete barrier on the super special stage (SS15 Karlstad 2) which put him out of the event.
Having lost winning positions in both opening rounds through his own faults, Neuville's team boss Nandan has vented his frustration and is demanding a reverse in fortunes next time out in Mexico.
“It's easy to say that this is rallying, however when you have a 43-second lead these things shouldn't happen in a super special stage," Nandan said. "It's disappointing for everyone in the team, and of course for Thierry and [his co-driver] Nicolas after what had been another commanding performance. Until that final stage, they had done everything right.
“I am sure we will look back on these two opening rounds of the season as character-building for our team. We have crews who have all shown their ability to fight for stage wins, we have a car that has demonstrated its potential to win WRC events, and we have the fighting spirit we need to succeed.
“The pieces of the puzzle are there, we just need a turnaround in fortunes – hopefully that will start in Mexico."
Having claimed a handful of bonus points from the Power Stage results in the opening two rounds, Neuville finds himself with a 40-point deficit to early leader Jari-Matti Latvala in the WRC drivers' championship after the Finn prospered from his rival's off to win in Sweden.