Neuville: Rally Sardinia effectively “over” after transmission issue

Thierry Neuville believes his Rally Sardinia weekend is effectively “game over” as Hyundai’s reliability woes struck the World Rally Championship title contender again.

Listen to this article

Neuville started Friday with an overnight lead before dropping down the order when the Belgian lost 14.6s due to poor visibility on the day's opening stage.

However, the Hyundai driver’s hopes of scoring significant points were dashed when a transmission issue hit on Stage 5.

Neuville was forced to limp through the stage with his i20 N reduced to two-wheel drive, dropping him to 10th position and two minutes adrift of leader and teammate Ott Tanak.

This is the latest of a string of reliability issues Neuville has suffered this year while fighting for the lead of rallies. It follows a front driveshaft failure in Portugal and a power issue in Croatia.

Neuville had hoped to reduce the 46-point gap to championship leader Kalle Rovanpera, with the Finn facing the disadvantage of opening the gravel roads.

“To be honest I don’t know [what happened]. We just lost the rear drive and we had to do the whole stage with front-wheel drive,” said Neuville. “It seems like the driveshaft was broken.

“I mean we are two minutes behind the leader now so I don’t know how we can bounce back.

“The first six or seven cars are within a few seconds, so it is game over for us this weekend, there is not much more to say.

“It wasn’t that rough and there was no rock in the road, and we had a clean drive, I was getting more and more into the good feeling with the car.

“I’m sure we have been fast on that stage in the past, so I knew we could have done a very good stage, which could have brought us closer to the lead, but unfortunately on tarmac section it [the transmission] just went.”

Thierry Neuville, Martijn Wydaeghe, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Thierry Neuville, Martijn Wydaeghe, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Neuville says the constant reliability issues are making it harder to find the motivation to bounce back.

“We keep fighting, fighting, fighting and we don’t get anything in return and we get hit by problems in all the rallies, so that is the situation now,” said Neuville in the media zone.

“For sure, it has to change and everybody is working.

“The chance to fight back any position this weekend is very small, so it will be harder to find the motivation.”

shares
comments

Related video

WRC Sardinia: Tanak surges to the lead, drama for Neuville
Previous article

WRC Sardinia: Tanak surges to the lead, drama for Neuville

Next article

WRC Sardinia: Lappi leads Tanak as organisers cancel stages

WRC Sardinia: Lappi leads Tanak as organisers cancel stages
The key steps on Rovanpera's romp to a history-making WRC title Prime

The key steps on Rovanpera's romp to a history-making WRC title

With only cameo roles played by legendary Sebastiens Ogier and Loeb, Kalle Rovanpera ushered in the new hybrid era for the World Rally Championship by becoming its youngest champion. Here's how Toyota's Flying Finn crushed the competition, led by Hyundai's departing star Ott Tanak.

WRC
Dec 1, 2022
How trailblazer Kalle Rovanpera has ripped up the WRC record book Prime

How trailblazer Kalle Rovanpera has ripped up the WRC record book

At the tender age of 22, Kalle Rovanpera is redefining what’s possible to achieve in rallying and inspiring a new legion of fans as a result. The newly-crowned World Rally Championship title-winner and his peers reflect on his ability and the start of his success in the top tier.

WRC
Nov 26, 2022
How Hyundai and Neuville gatecrashed Toyota's homecoming party Prime

How Hyundai and Neuville gatecrashed Toyota's homecoming party

Thierry Neuville signed off the 2022 World Rally Championship season with his second win of the season in Japan after Toyota rival Elfyn Evans suffered a late puncture. With Sebastien Ogier and Kalle Rovanpera also delayed by punctures and incidents, it opened the door for Neuville and Ott Tanak to record Hyundai's second 1-2 of the season in Toyota's own backyard

WRC
Nov 14, 2022
The message a WRC stalwart sent which its new king couldn’t answer Prime

The message a WRC stalwart sent which its new king couldn’t answer

Sebastien Ogier might be the outgoing World Rally champion, but it didn’t stop him reminding everyone of the skills that made him an eight-time world champion. As victory at Rally Spain led Toyota’s charge to a titles clean sweep, it did pose a question to newly-crowned champion Kalle Rovanpera which he could not answer

WRC
Oct 24, 2022
Motorsport.com gets to grips as a WRC co-driver Prime

Motorsport.com gets to grips as a WRC co-driver

The majority of headlines may focus on the exploits of drivers in the World Rally Championship, but the challenges facing their co-drivers is no less demanding. We got in the passenger seat with Toyota Gazoo Racing to find out just what it takes to succeed

WRC
Oct 6, 2022
How Rally New Zealand encapsulated record-breaking Rovanpera’s WRC title charge Prime

How Rally New Zealand encapsulated record-breaking Rovanpera’s WRC title charge

Kalle Rovanpera’s coronation as the new World Rally Championship king had been a long time coming, only to be postponed by hiccups in Belgium and Greece. But at Rally New Zealand the “Full Send” Finn demonstrated exactly how he's been able to rewrite the rallying record book as he stormed to victory to become the youngest ever world champion

WRC
Oct 3, 2022
How team orders could make Hyundai's historic Acropolis Rally a Greek tragedy Prime

How team orders could make Hyundai's historic Acropolis Rally a Greek tragedy

Thierry Neuville led a maiden Hyundai 1-2-3 in the World Rally Championship, as the previously soft i20 N became a battle-hardened Greek warrior at the Acropolis Rally. But with team orders in play between the winner and Hyundai’s title protagonist Ott Tanak, could the result come back to haunt the team?

WRC
Sep 12, 2022
How Tanak triumphed amid a series of Belgium WRC blunders Prime

How Tanak triumphed amid a series of Belgium WRC blunders

After runaway World Rally Championship leader Kalle Rovanpera made his first major mistake of the season, the chance to take advantage was wide open for the chasing pack. Several of his rivals faltered to grasp the opportunity, but Ott Tanak made no such mistake and demonstrated his class with a third win of the campaign

WRC
Aug 22, 2022