Neuville: It’s been emotional
Belgian thanks M-Sport for hugely successful 2013 season
Thierry Neuville has paid tribute to M-Sport, the squad that powered him to second in the 2013 WRC drivers’ championship, and has admitted it will be an emotional moment when he leaves at the end of the year.
Neuville finished third at Wales Rally GB, rounding off a remarkable season at the M-Sport-run Qatar World Rally Team, during which he finished on the podium seven times.
The Belgian’s results at the wheel of a Ford Fiesta RS made him the hottest property in the driver market, and earlier this month he was confirmed as lead driver of Hyundai’s World Rally Championship programme from 2014.
Soon after the podium ceremony in Wales, Neuville praised M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson for having faith in him and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul.
“The team took us like two small children, we had had a lot of ups and downs last year, but Malcolm knew it would be a difficult year with young drivers. But he had confidence – he gave us everything we needed. We had 13 rallies without any problems and that is amazing," he said.
“I really, really want to thank the team for their support. We gave our best and I hope they are pleased with our performance. We are definitely pleased. Now it’s to the future.”
Asked how he felt to be leaving M-Sport for Hyundai next year, Neuville said:
“There’s no comment for me [about Hyundai] at the moment, I’m not allowed. I want to say the decision I took wasn’t easy – I had such a great season with M-Sport. It’s quite an emotional moment to leave the team and join a new team.
“Of course I’m a bit sad, but at the same time I must go forward and we will do something new for next year and we will have a great future I hope. A new team means there’s a lot of work to do, and next year will be difficult, but I think we can manage with the experience we’ve got.”
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