Thierry Neuville says his front suspension break is the “sort of back luck in the World Rally Championship” as he sees his world title dreams take a near-fatal hit with two rounds remaining.

The Hyundai Motorsport driver had entered Rally de Espana with a 17-point deficit to WRC leader Sebastien Ogier and despite struggling down in fifth place at the start of the final day of running the Belgium driver saw his event end prematurely with broken front suspension sustained on SS16.

Coupled with Ogier’s second place in Spain and his three bonus points on the Power Stage Neuville now trails the defending champion by 38 points with a maximum of 60 points left to score from Wales Rally GB and Rally Australia, while he has also slipped behind Ott Tanak by a single point.

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Despite his disappointment, Neuville has accept the result and is keen to quickly move on at Wales Rally GB after failing to score points for the second consecutive round after missing out at Rally Germany.

“We are obviously hugely disappointed, but at the same time this sort of bad luck is part of the game in the World Rally Championship,” Neuville said. “After our problems on Saturday, we were pushing hard this morning to make up time.

“Unfortunately, I turned a bit too tightly in a slow corner in SS16 and hit something that damaged the wheel, and caused the front suspension to break. That was it, game over.

“Of course, this result makes things much more difficult in the Drivers’ Championship, but we have to keep both feet on the ground.

“We have had a fantastic season on the whole. The team has put in a great effort to give me a fast car. This just hasn’t been our weekend. Now we want to finish the season with some good results in GB and Australia.”