Story by: Autosport
Hyundai has criticised Thierry Neuville for an “unnecessary” accident on Rally Mexico, but it believes he can recover by winning the next World Rally Championship round in Argentina.
One of the pre-event favourites in Mexico, Neuville lost his chance of victory when he sustained a broken suspension arm on the first gravel stage of the event.
He rejoined under Rally2 for Saturday but crashed again and had to be hospitalised for precautionary checks.
Hyundai team manager Alain Penasse was perturbed by the second shunt.
“The accident on the first day can happen when you are fighting for a win,” Penasse told Autosport.
“He made a mistake, that is clear. The second accident was not necessary.
“We made it clear in the morning we wanted him to bring the car back to score a few manufacturer points, so we didn’t understand why he drove at a speed which was too much.”
Neuville was demoted from team leader status at Hyundai as he lost confidence during a troubled 2015 season.
He rebounded with a podium on the 2016 opener in Monte Carlo, before his Rally Sweden was wrecked by a differential problem and his Mexico hopes lost to crashes.
But Penasse believes Neuville can emulate Kris Meeke’s 2015 achievement on next month’s Rally Argentina round and take a surprise win – helped by starting eighth on the road.
“He has to start again in Argentina,” Penasse said. “He needs to analyse what he’s doing by watching his onboards against the other guys.
“The plan is quite simple in Argentina: he will have the same fantastic road position that Meeke had there last year and if he can do what Kris did last year then we will be happy.
“When you have this good road position, there’s no point hanging around.”
Story by David Evans published in Autosport