Thierry Neuville says his collaboration with Ott Tänak could be enough to keep the two Hyundai drivers at the very top of the World Rally Championship for years to come.
Neuville and Tänak finished one-two on Monday’s Rally di Alba in Italy, with a strong working relationship between the two title rivals on show during the event.
The Belgian accepts that the strain of battling each other at the sharp end of the WRC will be a pressure-filled environment, but he also understands the benefits of the collaboration with the reigning world champion.
“I think Ott and I, we are both setting the same target and we know to achieve this we have to improve the performance on the car in some areas,” Neuville told DirtFish. “But was very clear before when I said I have very few comparisons, if any – except the times at the end of the stage and my team-mates.
“It looks like there’s some work to do on the car and that’s what I understand from Tänak, but we have some very positive feedback on what to do and the difference from the cars he drove before.
“We know there is some margin and he knows – and I know – to work hand in hand on the development of the team, we are going to be both able to win the championship not only once but several times.
“This is the clever way to act. But, once we are able to fight for first positions [on WRC rounds] it’s going to be more tough. I’ve been very open: if I can’t go fast enough to beat the others, I need to work on myself. So far I have always been able to beat my team-mate and I’m sure I can find a solution [this time]. We are sure also that Ott will be the most difficult to beat.
“It’s sure we are stronger together and, to be honest, I knew what was my part to do when Ott joined the team. He is also very much aware of how the collaboration needs to be and it seems to work.”
Tänak and Neuville are expected to join forces once more at the South Estonia Rally later this month as they prepare for the resumption of the 2020 WRC season in September on the debuting Rally Estonia.