BRENTWOOD, England - Thierry Neuville celebrated his maiden podium in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) after he piloted his Ford Fiesta RS WRC to a sensational third place on the 2013 edition of Guanajuato Rally Mexico.
Finding the perfect balance between pace and control, Neuville and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul had little difficulty taming the challenging stages, claiming a stage win, and ten top-three stage times.
“All in all this is an absolutely fantastic result for us,” he said. “I want to say a big thank you to the team because they did a really great job all weekend. Everything worked really well for us, and even when we damaged the car a bit, they repaired it perfectly.
“I hope this is not the last time you will see us here! We’re hungry for more podiums and one day I hope that it will be the top-step that we are standing on.”
Similarly impressive, fellow Qatar World Rally Team driver Nasser Al-Attiyah secured his best ever performance from the event with fifth place overall. Navigated by Italian co-driver Giovanni Bernnachini, Al-Attiyah blitzed his previous times by as much as half a minute.
In the Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team camp, it was all about minimising the impact of early misfortune. Having lost time when a rock pierced the underfloor of his Fiesta RS WRC on Friday’s opening test (SS3), Evgeny Novikov climbed from 22nd to tenth and securing a World Championship point in the process.
Elsewhere, Mads Østberg and co-driver Jonas Andersson came back strongly on yesterday’s points-paying Power Stage. Having had to retire his Fiesta RS WRC with an electrical issue the previous day, the Norwegian refocused and set a sensational second fastest time – claiming a further two points for his championship campaign.
M-Sport Managing Director Malcolm Wilson OBE said: “What a fantastic result for Thierry [Neuville] and Nicolas [Gilsoul]! They controlled the rally perfectly and I am extremely proud that Qatar and M-Sport can be the ones to bring them the first of what I am sure will be many podiums in the WRC.
“Obviously Mads’ [Østberg] problem was a real blow for the team, but I was extremely impressed with his performance on the Power Stage. To set a time like that with the road position he had was incredible and I know that he will be back as focused and as determined as ever in Portugal.”
1. S.Ogier – VW Polo
2. M.Hirvonen – Citroen DS3
3. T.Neuville – Fiesta RS WRC
4. D.Sordo – Citroen DS3
5. N.Al-Ittyah – Fiesta RS WRC
6. C.Atkinson – Citroen DS3
7. K. Block – Fiesta SR WRC
8. B.Guerra – Citroen DS3
9. M.Prokop – Fiesta RS WRC
10. E.Novikov – Fiesta RS WRC