This time there was no disaster. No mechanical problem, no uncontrolled slip and even less deposit. Leader since the abandonment of Sébastien Loeb on Saturday morning, Thierry Neuville won his sixteenth world success this Sunday in Greece. His first since Spain almost a year ago. Its first also with this new Hyundai i20 WRC1 hybrid.
With four fastest times, our compatriot managed his advantage perfectly this time to win 15 seconds ahead of his team-mate Ott Tanak. At the end of a carnage race hitting its competitors Ford and Toyota, Hyundai won a historic first 100% Korean podium. A feat in one of the toughest games of the season for WRC1s that we said ” cardboard-based “ because very unreliable.
It is also the third consecutive victory for Hyundai this year after Finland and Belgium, the fourth for five for Toyota and one for Ford this season.
In the constructors’ standings, Hyundai is 63 points behind the Japanese. While Kalle Rovanpera, victim of a new error after struggling to open the road on Friday, saw his lead reduced to 53 units over Ott Tanak regretting that Thierry Neuville did not offer him his success and seven additional units.
Coming back third to 76 units from the Finn and 23 from his Estonian team-mate, our representative remains, mathematically only, still in contention for the world title while there are still three events and ninety units to distribute. If Jean Todt, David Richards, Toto Wolff or Christian Horner had been in charge of Hyundai Motorsport, there would have been team orders and Thierry Neuville would have had to let Ott Tanak pass. But the Korean leaders have already demonstrated in the past that he does not like to falsify a sporting result and that for them the title of the brands is the priority.
“Not giving instructions is the right decision if you want to do good communication, but it’s the wrong one if you want to win championships,” Ott said.
This will certainly not improve the tensions between the two teammates. We’ll be biting our fingers in the unlikely event that Ott loses his second title by less than seven points. In the meantime, Thierry Neuville has finally returned to first place, sulking since the start of the year. He is only the fourth driver to win this season.
“It’s nice after all the difficult times we’ve had this year,” declared on arrival the pilot of Martijn Wydaeghe joining Bjorn Waldegard and… Ott Tanak in the number of world victories. “I think I deserved it after a difficult test in Ypres. I am also very happy for the whole team to achieve their best overall result in the WRC. This rewards a lot of effort from everyone and bodes well for further good results in the future. »