Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville says his team should still feel positive about its i20’s World Rally Championship debut, even though he crashed after just four miles in Monte Carlo.
Both Hyundai i20s retired from the 2014 season opener early as Neuville’s accident was followed by his teammate Dani Sordo stopping ahead of SS5. Prior to his crash Neuville had been matching champion Sebastien Ogier’s pace on the splits, while Sordo was third before his retirement.
“It’s a shame for the team, but we cannot get this back,” said Neuville. “But there are many things we can talk about in the team and many things which are quite good. We take many positives from this rally.”
Neuville’s car sustained rear suspension damage when he dropped it at a fast right-hander, but, ironically, it was a damaged jack that might have ended his run.
“I thought it might be OK,” he said. “I saw some damage to the chassis, but nothing too bad. The exhaust was bent, but I managed to get the end of this off, but the rollbar had broken in the hit and damaged the rim. We had to take off the wheel and change it, but the jack was bent in the hit and it was difficult to lift the car without it.”
Asked if he thought he would still be in the rally if the jack had not been damaged, Neuville replied: “Maybe, but the jack wouldn’t have been damaged if we didn’t go off the road…”