Hyundai team boss calls for Bel­gian to learn lessons

Motor Sport News - - Rally News - By­david Evans Pho­tos: mck­lein-im­age­ , FIA ERC

Hyundai team prin­ci­pal Michel Nandan has told Thierry Neuville to learn from a sec­ond ma­jor er­ror in the first two rounds of this year’s World Rally Cham­pi­onship.

For the sec­ond rally in suc­ces­sion, the Bel­gian looked on track for a rally win, only for a mis­take to force him into re­tire­ment.

Nandan said Neuville’s Monte mis­take was un­der­stand­able, but his er­ror at Satur­day’s Karl­stad su­per­spe­cial was not. He vented his frus­tra­tion af­ter hear­ing Neuville had crashed out of a 43-sec­ond lead at the 1.2-mile test with only Sun­day’s three stages re­man­ing.

Nandan told MN: “It’s re­ally frus­trat­ing to see that we have done a not too bad job with the car, the car is com­pet­i­tive. But we have this mis­take. The mis­take on the Monte was OK be­cause this can hap­pen on this rally, but not in this kind of [su­per­spe­cial] stage. It’s a small touch, but a big mis­take.

“This is not some­thing that should be hap­pen­ing in a two-kilo­me­tre stage. He needs to learn from this mis­take and he has to be fo­cused in Mex­ico. Yes, it’s only the start of the sea­son, but we are not go­ing to be able to catch these points back. But OK, now we have to look for­ward and look to the next round.”

In an ac­ci­dent rem­i­nis­cent of the one Jari-matti Lat­vala suf­fered at the 2009 Rally Poland su­per­spe­cial, Neuville went too close to a tyre mark­ing the in­side of the cor­ner, clipped it and that pulled the wheel open and broke a steer­ing arm.

Neuville said: “It was a slow cor­ner and I turned at the wrong mo­ment. The tyre hit some­thing, a truck tyre (part of the in­side bar­rier) and I lost the steer­ing. At that point, the rally was fin­ished.

“It would be frus­trat­ing if I did a mis­take and de­stroyed the car, but I was do­ing the per­fect job and Ni­co­las [Gil­soul, co-driver] as well. We can’t blame our­selves, we were miss­ing some luck, even if this is an­other mis­take, you can see from the images that we were not push­ing too hard.

“We had spent all Satur­day with a de­lib­er­ate strat­egy to take things steady and to stay in con­trol of the rally. We didn’t want a re­peat of Monte, but that’s ex­actly what we got. I feel dis­ap­pointed for the whole team that we lost the lead of the rally for a small driv­ing mis­take. It was an­other is­sue with big con­se­quences for the cham­pi­onship. I am sure our ap­proach to this rally was cor­rect, un­til our mis­for­tune, how­ever our po­ten­tial is clear and we have to fo­cus on mov­ing for­ward pos­i­tively.”

In­stead of lead­ing the driv­ers’ cham­pi­onship, Neuville is 40 points adrift of se­ries leader Jari-matti Lat­vala. Hyundai is 33 points down on man­u­fac­turer table-top­per M-sport.

Neuville crashed on Satur­day again

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