Thierry Neuville will not race in Lithuania

First absent from the trip to Mažeikiai then added after Poland, Thierry Neuville and Martijn Wydaeghe will ultimately not compete in the event. Only Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm will be at the start.

Published on 11/07/2024 à 10:41

Loïc ROCCI

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Thierry Neuville will not race in Lithuania

Thierry Neuville will not discover Lithuania to prepare for Latvia, Hyundai has canceled his participation (Photo: Nikos Katikis/DPPI)

There is a unique Hyundai i20 Rally1 in the Lietuva Rally entry list. The 3e round of the Lithuanian championship is to take place this weekend on the border with Latvia and it constitutes an excellent training ground for what awaits the competitors of the WRC next week around Liepaja (July 17-21).

Having not appeared in competition since the Safari in Kenya in March, Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm will return to the passenger compartment of their Hyundai i20 Rally1 hybrid to tackle 13 special stages and 104 km timed. They will be the only ones as was originally supposed to be the case. After the rally from Poland, Thierry Neuville had been added to the move. This seemed to follow the desire expressed by him during the Polish meeting where he had indicated that competing in a preparation event for this type of very fast round would be useful to him. However, his name has just disappeared from the Lietuva entry list. No reason was given. The destruction of an i20 during the Estonian rally in ERC View Ott Tänak Does she explain this turnaround?

In recent weeks, however, crew management at Hyundai may raise questions. In Poland, the team had authorized Tänak not to finish the Saturday stage even though it could offer him additional running... kilometers that he must perhaps regret not having done today after the short distance covered in his country. In addition to spending time in the car, the 2019 world champion could also help his teammate by cleaning the road, but perhaps that is where the crux of the problem was located? While Thierry Neuville is the leader of the championship, it does not seem that everything is being done to allow him to widen the gap. Although it is justified given his nationality, it was Ott Tänak who was sent to Estonia. In Lithuania, why is the only i20 present not entrusted to the Belgian? Esapekka Lappi certainly needs to get back into the rhythm, but wouldn't Neuville benefit more from it? Without giving in to the temptation to adhere to the conspiracy movement which is very fashionable at the moment, the little effort made to support a crew which leads the competition is somewhat challenging.

Loïc ROCCI

Journalist specializing in rallying past, present and future... and with a southern accent

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