Photo: Hyundai Motorsport / Fabien Dufour
Thierry Neuville, together with co-driver Martijn Wydaeghe, took third place in the Arctic Rally. Thanks to that second consecutive podium place, the Hyundai duo climbs to second place in the World Cup standings, four points behind new leader Kalle Rovanperä (Toyota). The victory in Finland went to former world champion Ott Tänak.
Until Saturday afternoon there was a lot of banter in the Hyundai with the number 11. Due to persistent problems with the intercom, Thierry Neuville appeared not to always understand the bills of new co-driver Martijn Wydaeghe in time. “Not good for concentration,” Neuville tried to remain polite.
Less than 24 hours later, the frustration in the East Kantonner’s gaze had given way to smiling twinkling eyes. On Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, things went a lot better for Neuville on the snowy roads around Rovaniemi, with some cannon times as a result. For a moment second place also seemed within reach, but Neuville was just a few seconds short for that. Still, only after his second race at the highest level, corijder Wydaeghe received the heartfelt congratulations from Neuville.
“We had some problems this weekend, but actually I can only be satisfied,” said Neuville, who also scored three bonus points in the closing Power Stage. “Don’t forget that we had a less favorable starting position on the opening day. Achieving this result in those circumstances is not bad. ”
Up front, there was little to start against Ott Tänak’s Hyundai. De Est took full advantage of his favorable starting position on the opening day and then defended his first place with verve. In the end, Tänak was left 17.5 seconds ahead of second Kalle Rovanperä. Neuville followed on 19.8 counts.