Belgium’s Thierry Neuville has admitted to having mixed feelings about his third place finish at the recent Rally Italia Sardegna.
The Hyundai driver closed the gap on championship leader Sébastien Ogier with a fifth podium of the season, but was left wondering what might have been after brake failure cost him a minute during Saturday’s leg.
Neuville was in second place and just 8.9 seconds off the lead when his i20 Coupe lost its brakes on Stage 12 and he plunged to fourth position. He recovered to third when his teammate Hayden Paddon crashed out, but Neuville wasn’t able to progress any further.
Not for the first time this year, Neuville felt he had been robbed of a chance of victory – this time on an event he won in 2016.
“For sure it’s a disappointment because we did great, especially on the first day,” Neuville told wrc.com.
“We fought really, really hard to have a good start position on Saturday and then we were closing on the lead before we got the technical issue, so of course it’s disappointing. At the same time we didn’t give up and we fought hard. Our main goal was to finish ahead of Sébastien, and I said if I finished on the podium I should be happy – so I can go home with a smile,” he added.
Neuville also maintained his unbroken scoring record on this year’s Power Stages, even though he felt he could have improved on fourth quickest in Sardinia.
“I gave everything I could in the Power Stage but the road conditions didn’t really suit us. We weren’t able to raise the ride height enough. The road was very rough and the car was bottoming too much. I lost too much,” he said.