Thierry Neuville finished second on Wales Rally GB, and whilst the Belgian is still mathematically able to win his first FIA World Rally Championship title, he is third in the standings, 41 points behind leader Ott Tänak with just two rounds remaining.

Following the event, Neuville revealed that a tyre selection mistake cost him crucial time – while he and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul were asked not to throw caution to the wind in the closing stages, as Hyundai wanted to bag as many points as possible. After all, Hyundai remains in the lead of the WRC Manufacturers’ series, just eight points ahead of Toyota.

Here is what Neuville had to say at the Wales Rally GB post-event press conference.

Thierry: second position and great pace here. How do you feel?
“I wanted the win. I needed it as well to keep the hopes and my title chances high. As you could see, we’ve had a little bit of difficulties in the opening day. We lost six seconds in the morning loop, which was not a drama but in the afternoon, we probably didn’t choose the right tyres – we did not get the tyres we asked for and this cost us some extra time and another eight seconds. We were able to continue fighting with Ott until the end, even if catching 10 seconds back would have been difficult. He did a perfect job, no mistakes – this was what we were hoping for. In the end, P2 for us and not many Power Stage points - we got the request from the team to keep our position and be safe."

What do you mean, you didn’t get the tyres you asked for?
“We ended up more soft than we asked for, obviously there was an internal mistake, which can happen. It shouldn’t but it can. We took three soft and two medium and we wanted to take four soft and one medium. We lost 11 more points to Ott. But we can see that now that Toyota has changed the rear wing, we are much closer again – they are not flying again like they were before and we are happy with that."

The points gap has grown, that’s not good….
“Of course, we are disappointed but that’s the situation now. We have to deal with that on the next rally. The speed has been there on the last couple of events. We are well prepared for Spain, that’s definitely a challenging event starting third on the first day. It should be OK if it stays dry. Hopefully we take more than 12 points from Ott to keep our hopes alive.”

Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul wear Stilo WRC DES Zero 8860 helmets.

Thierry Neuville, Nicolas Gilsoul, Stilo, Hyundai, Wales Rally GB, FIA World Rally Championship