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WRC Rally Italy

Neuville: Loss of concentration caused WRC Sardinia crash

Thierry Neuville says his Rally Sardinia crash that marked a first major setback in his World Rally Championship title push was down to losing concentration.

Thierry Neuville, Hyundai World Rally Team

The WRC points leader was sitting third heading into stage eight [Tula], the final test of the morning loop, when he went off the road and into retirement.

Neuville’s i20 N carried too much speed into a tight right-hander, which resulted in his car becoming beached at the side of the road. Neuville, co-driver Martijn Wydaeghe, and his car emerged from the incident unscathed.

When asked to explain the incident, the Belgian admitted he lost concentration for a “fraction of a second” while thinking about a particular corner.

“I lost concentration for a fraction of a second in the stage, and basically when I realised it was a tight corner it was when I saw the corner,” said Neuville.

“It was too late, and I realised immediately it would be difficult to make the hairpin and we got stuck in the ditch.

Insight: How Neuville makes his pacenotes

“It was simply a left, over crest where in the morning I thought I was a bit slow. It stuck in my mind that I had to go faster, and the next corner was just behind, and I was still accelerating.

“I was not concentrating on what was coming.

“We were working hard, and we did a big part of the job yesterday.

“Today we were driving on a good rhythm with a good feeling and everything was working fine and there was no alarm at all.”

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: McKlein / Motorsport Images

In the wake of the incident, Neuville’s team-mate Dani Sordo questioned the risk that the Belgian was taking.

“I see Thierry and I was really disappointed,” remarked the Spaniard. Honestly, I don’t know why he needs to take this amount of risk.”

Neuville is set to rejoin the rally on Sunday, with the aim of trying to score the maximum 12 points on offer under the new-for-2024 points system.

“Tomorrow there is still 12 points to take,” he added.

“The car has been working since the beginning of the year and I feel very comfortable in it, and we are able to go fast, so tomorrow we need to do the job.”

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