Thierry Neuville complains about familiar issue – only one goal in Portugal

World Rally Championship leader Thierry Neuville will be the road sweeper for the Rally de Portugal.
Thierry Neuville
Thierry Neuville. Photo by: Hyundai Motorsport GmbH
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Neuville had already lamented his road position before the rally began, and the same issue troubled him after Thursday’s shakedown.

“Obviously, we always hope for a good result given our road position tomorrow. It’s yet another challenge we’ll face this weekend. Now, we cross our fingers for a trouble-free event and hopefully earn some extra points on Sunday. That would be a great result for us,” Neuville predicted.

He didn’t expect a win before the rally started, setting his goals elsewhere.

“It will be tough to win, but our main target is to be faster than Elfyn (Evans) and earn more points than him. We also need to keep an eye on (Ott) Tänak, so let’s see. Strategy can be crucial at some point, but first, we have to get through the initial stages and see where we stand,” Neuville explained.

Neuville made it clear that he isn’t a fan of the current starting order, particularly since the series has many part-time drivers. In Portugal, part-time competitors Kalle Rovanperä and Sebastien Ogier will benefit from the best starting positions.

“There are a lot of part-time drivers. They’ve always been around, but now there are even more, which makes it more challenging. I’ve always wanted qualifying back, and I think any driver would agree. It’s the most equal arrangement,” Neuville said.

“Even if the championship leaders have to sweep during qualifying and start early, it’s still a chance for them to do well in qualifying and have better chances in the rally. We really enjoyed it in the past, and it was also a great story for the media. So yes, we’ve always asked to have qualifying back,” Neuville stated plainly.

Neuville currently leads the championship by six points ahead of Toyota’s Elfyn Evans. The surprise driver, M-Sport Ford’s Adrien Fourmaux, is in third, trailing Neuville by 27 points.

The Rally de Portugal kicks off Thursday evening at 20:05 with the short super special stage at Figueira da Foz.

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