Neuville can’t afford to drive saving the car in Estonia WRC

Thierry Neuville says he cannot afford to drive protecting his Hyundai at this weekend’s Rally Estonia, admitting he is “not really concerned” over the recent suspension reliability issues.

The Belgian suffered the heartbreak of a suspension failure on the final day of the Safari Rally last month, robbing him the chance of a likely victory, which would have been his first triumph since Monte Carlo last year.

It was the third rally in a row that Hyundai had suffered a rear suspension failure while one of its drivers was leading comfortably, resulting in boss Andrea Adamo vowing to find a solution to why identical components used last year are now failing.

This weekend the WRC field tackles Estonia’s much smoother and faster gravel roads compared to the previous rough gravel rounds in Portugal, Sardinia and Kenya. However, this weekend’s rapid stages will test the car’s suspension through a series of artificially-created jumps and crests.

Asked if any changes had been made to the set-up of his i20 with protecting rear suspension in mind, Neuville said he wasn’t overly concerned, citing that the team enjoyed a 1-2 at the event last year.

“The conditions are different for sure but the jumps are really big so the landing is going to be hard, but we had no issues last year and we had two cars on the podium here last year, so we are not really concerned about it,” said Neuville, who sits 56 points adrift of championship leader Sebastien Ogier (Toyota).

“Obviously as a team we have been missing some luck more than anything else, as there was no reason why we have broken more suspension units this year compared to last year, because basically the car is the same.

“I was protecting my car a lot in Kenya by running very high and even then we had some failure.

“We have to go forward and fight for victory, anyhow if we come here to try and save the car and finish behind the Toyotas the championship will be even tougher.”

Last year’s event winner, Hyundai's Ott Tanak added: “There is concern always if you hit some gravel, but this is something we can’t change - so it is something we should not think about.”

Hyundai will however be boosted by an engine upgrade that will debut this weekend. The update follows Toyota debuting an upgraded engine at Portugal in May.

Both Neuville and Tanak were coy when asked about the advantages the engine change could deliver this weekend.

“Of course I have had the chance to drive it several times already. The engine guys seems to be happy with the improvement,” said Neuville.

Tanak added: “We will find out, Every upgrade or change you get is not so big as everything is really on the limit, but let’s see.

“The feeling is ok but the difference is very small, so it is difficult to make a big step.”

Toyota boss Jari-Matti Latvala is not concerned by the update title rivals Hyundai will debut, stating that it is hard to make big steps with the cars anymore.

“I think it is difficult now to make big steps with the engines,” said Latvala.

“For sure the small steps will always help a bit but it is difficult to make massive steps anymore, so I’m not too concerned about it. But we know Tanak is very strong here, it is his home rally, so he is the toughest guy to beat here.”

shares
comments

Related video

Ford steps up WRC support through Puma development
Previous article

Ford steps up WRC support through Puma development

Next article

Evans closing in on new Toyota WRC deal after "positive negotiations"

Evans closing in on new Toyota WRC deal after "positive negotiations"
Load comments
The WRC heirs scrapping to assume Ogier's throne in 2022 Prime

The WRC heirs scrapping to assume Ogier's throne in 2022

Eight-time World Rally Championship king Sebastien Ogier has abdicated (well, gone part-time) in 2022, meaning for just the second time in the past decade we will have a different champion this year. We pick out the drivers gunning to take his place and take over the mantle as the WRC's new ruler

WRC
Jan 20, 2022
The WRC star that's earned the right to lead M-Sport's revival Prime

The WRC star that's earned the right to lead M-Sport's revival

Part-time opportunities with Citroen and Hyundai have offered brief glimpses of what Craig Breen can do in a World Rally Championship car. Now signed up by M-Sport to lead it into the WRC's new hybrid era, Breen has been given the chance he's pursued for so long and is determined to make the most of it

WRC
Jan 18, 2022
Why the WRC's 'modern Group B' era was rallying at its bonkers best Prime

Why the WRC's 'modern Group B' era was rallying at its bonkers best

The World Rally Championship has brought down the curtain on the aggressive, aero-laden generation of cars first introduced in 2017 that have been likened to the 1980s Group B icons. As the championship prepares to begin a new era of Rally1 hybrid cars, its stars explain just why the outgoing machines were so special

WRC
Dec 24, 2021
Ranking the top 10 WRC drivers of 2021 Prime

Ranking the top 10 WRC drivers of 2021

On the eve of a new hybrid era for the World Rally Championship, the 2021 season was a blockbuster fought out between Toyota's two top dogs, with a familiar figure eventually emerging on top after a final showdown at Monza. We pick out the 10 best performers from the top class and its supporting cast

WRC
Dec 21, 2021
Why Ogier's WRC swansong was a season to savour Prime

Why Ogier's WRC swansong was a season to savour

He’s shuffling into semi-rally-retirement, but Toyota star Sebastien Ogier was at the peak of his powers in the final season for the high downforce era-World Rally Championship cars. Despite Toyota's domination, there was still much to enjoy as the old master emerged atop a fierce title fight against teammate Elfyn Evans.

WRC
Dec 19, 2021
How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers Prime

How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers

After winning his eighth WRC title, Sebastien Ogier has drawn the curtain on his full-time rallying career. To understand Ogier's legacy, many of his former rivals, team-mates and colleagues have shared their thoughts on a vastly successful career

WRC
Nov 26, 2021
Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies Prime

Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies

Richard Burns was a determined driver who took on the best rally drivers in the world during a boom period in the early 2000s, and beat them. On the 20th anniversary of his crowning glory in winning the 2001 WRC title, and 16 years on from his death on the same date, we pick out his 10 greatest drives

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion Prime

The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion

At the turn of the millennium, WRC was full to the brim with rallying's great and good - and 20 years ago on this day, Richard Burns became England's first world rally champion. Although Burns' natural talent drove him to the top, his steely determination and mental strength was the key attribute behind his title-winning form

WRC
Nov 25, 2021