Thierry Neuville has very quickly established himself as one of the WRC’s rising stars. Having cut his teeth on events in his homeland of Belgium as a teenager, he kicked off his first international rallying campaign in 2010 when he contested the FIA Junior World Rally Championship. He scored one win and a podium and also notched up some useful results in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge in S2000 machinery.
In 2011, Neuville claimed IRC victories in Corsica and Sanremo and this prompted Citroën’s WRC squad to offer him a full season in its Junior World Rally Team in 2012. After finishing seventh in the 2012 championship, he was quickly snapped up by the Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team for a full assault on the 2013 series. Driving a Ford Fiesta RS WRC, Thierry Neuville claimed four consecutive runner-up finishes and three third places to clinch second in the drivers’ championship.
This kind of form ensured Neuville emerged as the hottest property on the transfer market and he signed a multi-year agreement to be the lead driver at Hyundai’s new WRC team in 2014. Neuville wrung the most out of the ever-improving i20 WRC in its debut season and finished on the podium three times. His first podium came in Mexico, thanks in part to a bottle of Corona lager that he used to re-fill a broken radiator. His finest hour however came in Germany, where he took his maiden WRC rally win, three days after almost destroying his car at the pre-event shakedown.