Thierry Neuville explains Rally Germany retirement
World Rally Championship leader Thierry Neuville will rejoin Rally Germany on a 'win or bust' powerstage mission after a Saturday retirement he put down to a car breakage.
Neuville arrived in Germany leading the WRC standings on countback, but dropped out of third on Saturday morning when the left-rear suspension and transmission broke on his Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC.
Hyundai will have the car fixed for Neuville to rejoin on Sunday, when he has the opportunity to salvage up to five points on the powerstage.
His title rival Sebastien Ogier runs third at present.
"Tomorrow will be a full attack," Neuville said. "I have no choice. I have to hope Andreas [Mikkelsen] can stay ahead of [Ogier] and I will try for five points in the powerstage.
"If we go off, we go off and if we get them, we get them. The championship is still open, I'm optimistic about things."
Neuville was surprised by the damage he sustained in the incident on the short version of the Panzerplatte stage.
"We went into a cut and when we came out of the cut, we broke the suspension," he said.
"It was probably a bad impact on the wheel and from there it was gone.
"When we came out of the cut, I heard a noise and the transmission and driveshaft was gone straight away and then the suspension was gone as well.
"When I saw the wheel at the side of the car, I was surprised. I thought maybe the rim was broken or something like that.
"Sometimes you have a big impact with no damage and sometimes it's the other way around.
"If we had gone to the trees and destroyed the car I could be angry with myself, but now I have to accept this and look forward and keep the motivation for the next rounds, it's still long."
He was adamant he was correct to take the cut.
"It's a second or third-gear corner," Neuville said. "I have known this corner for the last four years. There was an impact on the inside of the wheel."
Ogier's team-mate Ott Tanak leads the rally by half a minute over the battle between Mikkelsen and Ogier for second.
M-Sport team principal Malcolm Wilson said it would be "completely crazy" to consider slowing Tanak with Mikkelsen between his cars but added "maybe, if it became a clear one-two then that could be something to talk about, but right now? No chance".
Tanak is third in the standings, 41 points behind Neuville and Ogier, and Wilson said that would also be taken into consideration.
"A Tanak win would put him right up there and closer to Neuville," said Wilson.