Thierry Neuville wins World Cup rally against Spain but is disappointed after problems: “I don’t know what to say”
Maarten DelvauxSource: BELGIAN
A commotion just before the start of the powerstage. A problem with the starter motor prevented Neuville from getting the car started right away. Images on social media showed how Martijn Wydaeghe pushed the car and then a flash of flame came out of the exhaust. Various sources on social media have already mentioned a statement, but that turned out not to be the case. Neuville and Wydaeghe were second fastest in the powerstage and won their second race together.
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Upon arrival, Neuville fell into his father’s arms and then gave away a strange interview. “I am relieved to be at the finish. It was a difficult weekend, but we fought hard. Everything went perfectly until the finish of the penultimate stage. Then there was a lot of stress leading up to the last ride. Once again. I’m really disappointed, because up to that point everything had gone perfectly. Now that is no longer the case. To be honest, I don’t know what to say.”
Elfyn Evans finished second at 24.1 seconds from the Belgian. Dani Sordo (Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC) jumped to third place over Sébastien Ogier (Toyota Yaris WRC) on Sunday. The Frenchman has to be satisfied with fourth place. The decision on the drivers’ and constructors’ world title will fall in the final race in Monza.
Elfyn Evans started the rally on Friday morning with three fastest times in a row but was never able to match the level of the opening lap. Thierry Neuville took over the lead on Friday afternoon to expand it further on Saturday. The Belgian won eight stages in a row on Friday and Saturday, ten in total in this race, and ended Saturday with a bonus of 16.4 seconds.
On Sunday, the Belgian controlled the race and eventually won with a lead of 24.1 seconds over first pursuer Elfyn Evans. Things got tense for a moment when the Belgian was unable to start his car after stopping to check the tire pressure. But in the end Neuville succeeds, reached the powerstage in time and won the rally.
Second World Cup win this season, 15th in career
For Thierry Neuville and Martijn Wydaeghe it is their second victory this season after the Ypres Rally. Together they have been on the podium seven times this season. Neuville, who received a visit from daughter Camille on Sunday, is now at 15 World Cup victories. In Spain he was also on the podium for the 50th time. After 2019, when the rally was still a mix of gravel and asphalt runs, it is the second victory for the Belgian in Spain.
Elfyn Evans finished second to Dani Sordo. The Spaniard won all four classification stages on the final day. It was Sordo’s ninth time on the podium in Spain. He never managed to win his home game. Like teammate Neuville, Sordo took the podium in Spain for the 50th time in his career.
The final race of the World Rally Championship will be held in Monza in mid-November.