Thierry Neuville WRC Driver

neuvilleThierry Neuville (born 16 June 1988) is a Belgian rally driver. He is currently competing in the World Rally Championship. His co-driver was Nicolas Klinger from his debut until the end of 2010. Klinger was replaced by Nicolas Gilsoul for the first 2011 IRC rally, Monte Carlo. Since 2014, Neuville and Gilsoul have driven a factory-backed Hyundai i20 WRC for Hyundai Motorsport.

2010–12

Neuville drove a self-entered Citroën C2 at the 2010 Junior World Rally Championship, collecting a win, a 3rd and three retirements to finish 7th in the standings. He also competed in six rounds of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge with a semi-works Peugeot 207 S2000, scoring a 3rd place at Ypres and a 4th place at Sardinia.

In 2011, Neuville competed full-time in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, again driving a semi-works Peugeot 207 S2000. He took his first two victories in the Tour de Corse and Sanremo, resulting 5th in the standings with further 2nd, 3rd and 4th race finishes.

Citroën signed Neuville for the 2012 World Rally Championship, driving all races on a Citroën DS3 WRC for the Citroën Junior Team except two for the Qatar World Rally Team. The Belgian scored points in six races, with 4th at Alsace as his best result, and finished 7th in the championship.

2013

Neuville joined Qatar for the 2013 season, now driving a Ford Fiesta RS WRC. He retired for the third time in Rallye Monte-Carlo, after going off track on the third stage. He managed to get some good points in Rally Sweden, scoring a 5th place, on a surface where he is not very comfortable. Then, in Mexico, he was one of the men of the rally, getting his maiden podium finish (3rd place). Round 4, Portugal, was disappointing, since he finished out of the points, after returning to the rally in Rally 2 after retiring from 5th place. 5th place was again for Neuville, in Argentina. Then came a streak of podiums which turned Neuville into the surprise driver of the season: third place in Greece and second place in Italy, Finland, Germany and Australia.

At Rallye Deutschland, which Neuville considers his home rally, the Belgian was in second place during the second day, trailing Jari-Matti Latvala just for a few seconds. But in a surprise twist, Latvala left the road and Neuville did the same thing right after him. Thierry led the rally for a stage, but eventually, and in the second to last stage of the day, he lost the lead to Dani Sordo. The next stage of the day was canceled, so the drivers entered the final two stages separated by just 0.8 seconds. The second to last stage was won by Sordo, which left the Spaniard three seconds ahead of Neuville in the overall classification. Both gave everything in the PowerStage and Thierry eventually had a small off in the very last section of the stage, therefore losing the chance to win. He ended in second place, 53 seconds behind Sordo.

At Rally Australia, Neuville was in third place, 25.2 seconds behind Mikko Hirvonen, before the PowerStage. With Sébastien Ogier comfortably in the lead, he needed to finish in second place overall and in the PowerStage in order to still have a mathematical chance at the title. Hirvonen punctured in the stage, allowing Thierry to finish in second overall and second in the PowerStage. After this dramatic finish, a frustrated Ogier and Neuville were the only ones still with a chance for the title, although Ogier only needed to score a single point in the remaining three rounds.

2014

On 5 November 2013, Hyundai Motorsport GmbH confirmed it had signed Neuville on a multi-year deal to lead its entry into the WRC from 2014. After halfway point of the 2014 season Neuville has scored 2 podiums for Hyundai and currently runs in 6th in the overall standings.

Thierry Neuville rolled six times during the shakedown of the ADAC Rally of Germany, stopping in the vineyards. The car was repaired and Thierry Neuville and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul finished the rally in first position. That was Thierry Neuville and Hyundai Motorsport GmbH’s maiden win in the WRC. Previous year’s winner Dani Sordo, who was now his team mate, finished second, so it was not just Hyundai’s first win, but also a double victory.

2015

Neuville started the 2015 season strongly, finishing 5th and 2nd in Monte Carlo and Sweden respectively. He finished 8th in the third round in Mexico but had been battling for lead with Ogier during the first day before going off the road.

The remaining events of the season were disappointing for Neuville. After a huge crash on the last stage of Rally Argentina, his confidence took a knock and he could only manage 1 more podium, which came in Italy. His teammates, Sordo and Hayden Paddon, outperformed Neuville during the last events of the season but he still managed to finish above them in the standings. He finished the season in sixth place.

2016

The 2016 season started with a podium in Monte Carlo, as Neuville finished third with a new rendition of the i20. But the podium was followed by a mechanical issue in Sweden and crashing out in Mexico, meaning he would score no points in those events. In Portugal, while lying fifth, he ran out of fuel while on a stage caused by a miscalculation by Hyundai and his car ended up stranded.

But in Sardinia, Neuville was back in form. By winning 9 of the 19 stages, he won the rally and finished roughly 25 seconds ahead of a pushing Jari-Matti Latvala. After the rally, Neuville paid tribute to his former mentors, Philippe Bugalski and Jean-Pierre Mondron. Bugalski, who died in 2012, was born on the same date Neuville won the rally, while Mondron had died two weeks before the rally.

He finished the season with five podiums out of the last five events. He finished the season as runner up in the championship with 160 points.

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