Nine times world champion Sebastien Loeb's decision to contest a programme of WRC events was unexpected, especially as the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC is still not a fully proven car. It is not clear whether this was another knee-jerk decision from the Korean team after another season with no title success. The team's best performed driver, Thierry Neuville, spoke at the 2019 WRC season about his thoughts.
"As we saw by the end of 2018, Hyundai have made some improvements. On tarmac they're going to be competitive, on gravel they will be more or less as we are at the moment," Neuville said.
"(It's) difficult to know now, but anyhow we know that we will again be fighting the guys fighting in the front like Sebastier (Ogier), Ott (Tanak). I should be in there as well and maybe Andreas (Mikkelsen) could join as well. We will be a few drivers again fighting for the title." Neuville was asked if the arrival of Sebastien Loeb in the team affected his approach to the 2019 season?
"To be honest no, because last year was a very consistent season. I only made small mistakes and was always at the end of the rally, but we had some decent points.
"We gave it everything, and even in the events where we were lacking performance we finished on the podium, like in Corsica, like in Germany. Those events we were really short of performance (but) we still were able to score points by being consistent for the whole weekend and not making mistakes. "This will be the same approach this year. Rallies like Finland where we know we are missing performance, we just want the best position possible, consistently throughout the whole weekend and take maximum points and benefit from mistakes from guys in front of us."

Neuville will battle Sebastien Loeb on six rounds of the 2019 World Rally Championship.

But does he feel his Drivers' championship chances are impaired with Sebastien Loeb in the team? "I don't know. It could be a help, but it could not be a help. "I think with the road position he will have on some events he should be able to do some good results, and then it's a question if I am just behind him or if there are more other cars in between.
"I'm not concerned about all this. Sebastien knows exactly what is his job for the team and goal number 1 will be Manufacturers' title, like always and last year also."
The other big question concerns the new Team Director. Is there going to be a change of philosophy, a change of policy now we've got Mr Andrea Adamo? "Me and my co-driver Nicolas (Gilsoul), and it is no secret also, the other teammates have pushed for some changes. "The main reason was that we wanted to be more competitive throughout the whole season. And that's what happened now. With Andrea joining now and replacing Michel (Nandan), but other things are going on. "So all this is very important also I think for the motivation of our team. "After five years now we are really excited about this, and I'm really convinced and I have all my trust also in Andrea that we will work out things which we can improve, and we will quickly make the necessary changes to be competitive."

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