Thierry Neuville believes he is in the best possible position going into round three of the 2020 World Rally Championship in Mexico next month.
The Hyundai driver only finished sixth in Sweden, after winning the Monte Carlo season-opener, but he told DirtFish that leaving Sweden’s round two as joint leader of the championship was a nice surprise for him and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul.
Neuville’s powerstage score ensured he is equal on points with the Swedish rally winner and new championship leader Elfyn Evans of Toyota. Yet Evans is officially ahead on countback and therefore in the less-than-optimal first on the road position for Mexico’s opening day.
“After the final day in Sweden, I don’t think we expected to be still equal on points in the lead of the championship,” Neuville said.
“We tried to optimize every day in Sweden, but to leave that rally joint with the leader and running second on the road [for Mexico] – that’s the best possible position.
“We know it’s not so easy to open the road on this event and every car can make a difference for the surface and the grip.”
After opening his 2020 account with the Monte Carlo Rally win, Neuville refused to be downhearted about his performance in the changeable conditions in Sweden.
“We pushed and we did what we could,” he added. “The others were faster, but we know the reason for that. Now we look to Mexico and what can we do there.”
Neuville has never won in León and hasn’t finished on the podium there since 2017.
Asked his opinion about running first on the road in Mexico, Evans was relaxed, saying: “You never know, it might rain.”