If there’s one thing you can’t doubt about Thierry Neuville, it’s his fighting spirit.
Over the last few World Rally Championship events he’s had it in spades, constantly fighting to overcome issues in order to remain competitive right at the front of the field.
In Croatia it worked, still ending the rally with a podium result despite running into a variety of issues from punctures to almost rolling his Hyundai i20 N Rally1 on the powerstage. And in Portugal, he still managed to cross the line in fifth despite further technical issues.
But in Italy it hit him hard after he suffered with a transmission failure. It was yet another reliability issue for the Belgian, and on Saturday the constant poundings of issue after issue began to take its toll.
“It was a difficult day yesterday and a difficult day Friday as well,” Neuville explained to DirtFish.
“So at the end, we took at least some points away from the weekend.
“To be honest yesterday, was really tough, or Friday, actually. The disappointment with the failure we had in the car again, it hit us quite hard.
“And despite showing a lot of motivation and fighting spirit over the last five events, I was a bit more down yesterday and I struggled to keep my concentration.
“I made a mistake, but yeah, at least today, we were able to take the powerstage points and push quite hard and took away what we could and look ahead.”
But what does looking ahead look like?
Reliability has plagued the Hyundai driver all year, and to be fair, it was also a regular gripe last season as well.
However, Neuville isn’t pointing any fingers. He knows his team is working flat out for him, and he believes at the end of the day, it comes down to luck.
“There’s no other thing we can do at the end,” he said. “I mean, we were actually very unlucky with the technical issue on Friday, because it was not something very clear. It was the boot of the driveshaft actually that broke.
“The oil came out and we overheated the joint, and it just went.
“So it’s nothing, what the team could have done better and we were really unlucky this time.
“But for sure, we know from events before that there’s still a margin for improvement. But somehow I’m happy we get two cars on the podium this weekend, and our first win, because the people are working hard, they are working hard and they didn’t get any return yet.”