Neuville suspects human error led to turbo failure

Neuville had to limp through all of Sunday's stages with a loss of power


Hyundai driver Thierry Neuville suspects human error was the root cause of the turbo failure which prevented him from claiming a Rally of Portugal podium.

Neuville headed into Sunday 11.1 seconds adrift of his team-mate Dani Sordo and was widely expected to finish ahead given Hyundai’s clear policy to help Neuville’s drivers’ championship bid wherever it can.

But from the very first meter of Sunday’s competitive action, Neuville was in trouble as his i20 N Rally1 was slowed by what was confirmed to be a failed turbocharger.

As a result, Neuville slid from third to fifth – losing over seven minutes across four stages – and was unable to push for any powerstage points either.

The issue is believed to have originated from Saturday evening, where Neuville’s Hyundai was spotted with smoke billowing out from it before the final service of the event.

Normally the problem would have been fixed, but Neuville headed onto Sunday’s stages with the same part still broken.

A full investigation is yet to be conducted by the team, but Neuville thinks a mistake was unfortunately made.

He told DirtFish: “It’s hard to give any clear details now but it looks like there has been a small mistake, a human error, during last night’s service.

“Basically, like you said, the car was smoking, they had to change a lot of parts on the car which was the plan and they followed the plan, but unfortunately yeah we think – but we can’t confirm yet – it’s human error which led to the failure this morning and it was done.”

Team-mate Esapekka Lappi’s turbo also failed towards the end of the powerstage.

“The turbo finished, just exploded, on the Tarmac of the powerstage where there’s Colin’s flag and Craig’s flag and this,” Lappi told DirtFish.

“I needed to give some clutch kicks to make the uphill actually! But yeah, we did some fixing on the highway and all OK we can manage.”


Hyundai team principal Cyril Abiteboul confirmed an investigation would be made into Neuville’s problem, but admitted Lappi’s caught him out.

“We still have limited information and understanding and we are yet to strip down the car and have a good look at exactly what happened,” Abiteboul told DirtFish.

“But our assumption at this point in time is in service yesterday there was some issue with one of the connections to the turbo, so we don’t think it’s a big problem but obviously it’s a problem with big consequences to Thierry.

“I guess maybe the one I need to understand a bit better is the one at the end of the powerstage for Esapekka. It was not really something we were anticipating, so I would be more comfortable once we have had a look at that one.”