Neuville: I have nothing to lose

Hyundai driver is fully focused on claiming a Rally Finland now the opportunity has presented itself


With Ott Tänak out early and not set to return to claim powerstage points, and then the shock of World Rally Championship and Rally Finland leader Kalle Rovanperä rolling out on stage eight, Thierry Neuville senses his time is now.

With just 6.9 seconds to make up between himself and overnight leader Elfyn Evans, Neuville can smell his very first Finland win.

And his stance is clear.

“I have not much to lose!”


Up until the fateful second pass of Myhinpää which caught Rovanperä out, Neuville hadn’t won a single stage.

Granted, nor had Evans ahead of him. In fact, the Welshman still hasn’t. Friday had been dominated by Rovanperä before it all got away from him.

Neuville was some 13s behind Evans and 18.7s down on the lead as he started SS8. Although too early to give up, surely the target would have been just to secure his first Rally Finland podium in 10 years.

But the world champion’s crash changed everything. All of a sudden Neuville’s championship hopes which he thought were fading immediately looked a lot brighter.

And why settle for the 18 points for second when he can have the full 25 for first, particularly when the driver ahead is Evans who also stands to cash in from Rovanperä’s rare mistake.

“I mean now we have no choice [but to go for it],” Neuville said after storming to a stage win on SS9.

“Obviously Kalle is off, one of our main contenders is out, and Elfyn is also in front of us in the championship and we are fighting for a victory. So now we are going to go for it.”

Neuville saved his best until last with a stunning 2.8s carved out of Evans’ lead on the Harju street stage, leaving him to describe his afternoon’s work to DirtFish as “good”.

Even if he wasn’t completely happy with his Hyundai.

“For tomorrow we’re going to do some small setup changes to try and be on it from the morning,” he said. “Conditions are still going to be tricky, so yeah, it’s where we have to make the difference.

“In general I think we need to find a bit more traction,” he added.


We’re not that bad, but I can feel that generally, yeah, it’s sometimes a bit too on/off, and this is obviously disturbing a bit.

“We kept the rhythm despite having some on/off grip changes, never had any moments but it could be easy like Kalle did just sudden snap and you don’t even go wide but you go into the inside and roll.

“This is what can happen to everybody.”

Asked how hard he was going to push for the win, Neuville smiled: “I have not much to lose!”

Evans meanwhile was mildly satisfied with his day.

“You always feel like you can do better, you can go faster, you can take more risks, but ultimately you can take 5% off and still have a big moment or something unexpected in these conditions,” Evans told DirtFish.

“We tried to focus on really driving quite clean, getting good exits in the slower places, doing what commitment we feel is needed in the high speed. It seems to be working OK.

“For sure you can always add an edge but of course the risk comes with that.”

And his overnight stance is equally as clear as Neuville’s.

“It’s always better to be leading than not leading!”