Neuville demoted by Hyundai to "rebuild confidence"

Thierry Neuville has been demoted to Hyundai's second-string WRC team for Wales Rally GB in a move intended to help rebuild the Belgian's confidence for 2016.

Hayden Paddon will instead compete alongside Dani Sordo in the main works Hyundai team in Wales, while Neuville steps down to join Kevin Abbring in the Mobis-branded Hyundai Motorsport N team.

After a breakthrough 2014 campaign in which he took his maiden WRC win in Germany, Neuville has suffered a difficult 2015, having appeared on the podium only twice in 11 rounds and coming under fire from team manager Alain Penasse for his lack of pace.

“This decision has been reached following a productive meeting with the team in which we both discussed openly our thoughts ahead of the final rounds of the season and planning for 2016,” said Neuville.

“This will be important as I strive to regain my confidence ahead of 2016. Next year will be an important season for all of us so this approach will allow me to get my pace back and enter the winter period in the perfect mindset."

Hyundai is currently locked in a close battle with Citroen for the runner-up spot in the manufacturers' standings behind a dominant Volkswagen, sitting just one point behind the French marque with two events of the season left.

"Talking to Thierry, we felt that we needed to find a way for him to regain his confidence and we think removing championship pressure from him will help him get back on track ahead of our 2016 campaign," explained Penasse.

"We have made a similar driver switch in the past to good effect and we hope this will again be beneficial not only to the team, but to Thierry as well."

Paddon has already made two appearances in the main Hyundai squad this season, in Sweden and at Australia - replacing Sordo on both occasions.

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About this article
Series WRC
Event Rally Wales GB
Drivers Thierry Neuville
Teams Hyundai Motorsport
Article type Breaking news