Thierry Neuville believes crashing out of the lead for the second time in two rounds at Rally Sweden on Saturday is not the lowest point of his career.The Belgian held a comfortable 43.3sec lead ahead of the short super special stage at Karlstad trotting track which ended the second leg. However, he hit some tyres on the inside of a corner, breaking his Hyundai i20 Coupe’s front left steering arm and forcing him to stop.It is the second rally in a row in which an accident has cost Neuville victory. He hit a culvert and broke his suspension in last month’s season-opening Rally Monte-Carlo.
“You have to accept that situation. I have known much worse to be honest, even if we were not losing the win. I have known much more difficult times and I know we will come back very strong and with a bit more luck on our side we can do very well this season,” he told WRC Live.
Neuville’s career suffered a slump in 2015 and early 2016 when his form deserted him. However, he was revitalised by victory in Italy and claimed a string of podiums in the second part of last year.
“After Monte we could not believe it has happened again, but what can we do? I think we were doing a perfect job, Nicolas (co-driver Gilsoul) and me, and I have no regrets on that side, but at the end we missed out on luck.
“We could not do better than this weekend so far. Now a very small mistake cost us again a win, but it is promising for the upcoming events,” he added.
Neuville insisted the accident was not the result of pushing too hard.
“It would have been really bad if I had gone too fast, braked too late and just went off at the corner. Obviously, this wasn’t the case. I entered perfectly my corner but passing the tyres I just corrected a bit and touched 2-3cm too far inside,” he said.