HYUNDAI MO­TOR­SPORT THIERRY NEUVILLE

BASED: ALZENAU, GER­MANY WALES RALLY GB WINS: 0 WALES RALLY GB PODI­UMS: 0

Motor Sport News - - Rally Gb Preview: The Entry - Na­tion­al­ity: New Zealand Age: 29 Co-driver: John Ken­nard Car num­ber: 20 Team: Hyundai Mo­tor­sport N WRC de­but: 2007 Wales Rally GB starts: 6 Best Rally GB re­sult: 5th (2015)

So much of Rally GB is about get­ting the best out of mar­ginal con­di­tions and, strange as it might seem, Neuville’s Bel­gian back­ground stands him in good stead for this. Neuville grew up on as­phalt stages, but he grew up on as­phalt stages with hugely vary­ing grip lev­els and was forced to find a way to make a car work and per­form out of its com­fort zone. His best re­sult in Wales came with third place in 2013 – a graphic demon­stra­tion of man and ma­chine in per­fect har­mony. The move to Hyundai cer­tainly trousered him more cash, but it also up­set the bal­ance Neuville had found and left him tee­ter­ing on the brink of ral­ly­ing obliv­ion. He’s back now and back stronger. And a po­ten­tial win­ner this week. no longer stacks up. The like­able Spa­niard showed great for­ti­tude and out­stand­ing adapt­abil­ity to make the most of some hor­ri­ble weather on the gravel day of Rally Spain. So, he’s shown he can do it, he can get the best out of a car on a wet-dry-wet-wet-soak­ing day on the dirt. He has, how­ever, never truly clicked with this rally, so a steady, de­pend­able fifth place prob­a­bly beck­ons. He’s not go­ing to set the stages alight, but he will de­liver points as Hyundai clings to fad­ing hope that it might be able to deny Volk­swa­gen a fourth-straight makes’ crown.

Pad­don will be at home in the forests

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