“I am very pleased. It has been a good weekend for us,” Neuville remarked. “We learned a lot. I want to thank M-Sport, they did a good job. This morning we tried to push and okay it went wrong. But we did a good job overall and we have shown everyone we have made another step. We are ready to go forward.”
Behind, Dani Sordo was next up and fourth for Citroen, although it wasn't a great showing from the Spaniard. He struggled on Friday and on Saturday morning, but did start to find his confidence a bit more on the repeat loop on day two: “It was okay,” he noted. “I am happy with the performance today and I am happy with the points for the team.”
Nasser Al-Attiyah rounded out the top-five on his first run with the Qatar World Rally Team and was buoyed by his performance: “I didn't expect this,” he admitted. "It is a hard rally. But we did a good job and I am really happy. The team did a good job. I am sure we can do better in the next event.”
Chris Atkinson battled back to take sixth on his 'guest' outing with the Abu Dhabi Citroen
Total WRT. The Aussie's event got off to a bad start and he hit a rock in SS3 and had to stop and make repairs before SS4. He was 21 minutes late to the time control as a result and picked up a 3.5 minute time penalty, dropping him to 15th overall. Yet he fought back and hauled himself back into the points, demoting Ken Block to P7 on the final day.
“I am very happy with yesterday and today. We were just making sure we got through. The team has been amazing. We were lucky to get it back and the team did an amazing job to fix it [after the problems on Friday in SS3],” Atkinson stated.
Block was also pleased and understandably so, as seventh is his best WRC result to date: “Funnily, I started this rally really conservatively and thought I will just enjoy myself and here I am in seventh overall!” he continued. “I would have like to have kept Chris behind me today, but I didn't want to push and risk going off. It was really good competing with these guys. I really enjoyed it.”
After Block, Benito Guerra, Martin Prokop and Evgeny Novikov
rounded out the points' scorers in positions eight through to ten. Novikov was another who lost time on Friday morning after a stone come up through the floor of his Qatar WRT-run Ford Fiesta RS WRC car and damaged some of the connections in the ECU. Still he did pick up the final point, which was some consolation.
“It was not the best rally for us after the problems on the first day with the ECU but I am hoping I will be luckier next time,” said the Russian.
In WRC2, Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari led throughout in his Ford Fiesta RRC and he eventually beat Nicolas Fuchs by over 9 minutes. Ricardo Trivino took third.
“I thought it would be difficult but we started well. Thank you to Seashore for their sponsorship and, of course, to M-Sport. Everyone did a great job. We have had a good time and made no mistakes in 400 km. I am very happy!” Al-Kuwari commented.