Neuville: Argentina finish “most nerve-wracking of my career”

Thierry Neuville says the conclusion to Rally Argentina, which saw him beat Elfyn Evans to victory by just seven tenths, was the most tense finish to a rally of his WRC career. The majority of the rally was led by Elfyn Evans, the Welshman having built an advantage of a minute by the end of Friday.

However, the rest of the event was about the charging Neuville, who was only sixth on Friday morning, but was just 11 seconds adrift of Evans before Sunday and six tenths behind before the Power Stage.

“I have never had such a nerve-wracking final few minutes of a rally in my career,” said Neuville. “Congratulations to Elfyn, who put up an incredible fight.

 “It was a really intense weekend for us. Everybody had problems, some mistakes, a puncture, but the key was to never give up, to always come back and push.

“That was actually the reason why we were able today to fight for the win. We knew it was difficult but we made it.”

Being the last two World Rally cars to run in the Power Stage, Neuville completed the test with the fastest time, but Evans was even quicker after the first two splits.

While Evans fell 1.3s short, Neuville revealed he thought he had lost after seeing the early splits.

“Being at the end of the last stage I got the first split times back and [I thought] we had lost because Elfyn was two seconds faster,” he said. “Watching that was the worst time in my life.

“I gave it everything I had, but I didn’t have the best tyres because I had been pushing hard for two stages already.

“Without any mistake, he will get his well deserved win, but we saw the next split on the TV, 1.3 seconds he was down on us so then I already knew it was going to be difficult for him to get the time back because I knew I was fast.

“To know and to see on the TV that we were actually beating him by only 0.7 seconds, it was pretty amazing.”

Neuville took his second consecutive WRC win in Argentina, and sits third in the standings, 18 points behind Sebastien Ogier.