Thierry Neuville calls for permanent official 'like in Formula 1'

Hyundai star Thierry Neuville has called on the FIA to appoint a permanent official similar to the race director in Formula 1.

His move follows the decision to give him a notional time on the second stage of Rally Chile. In that event, Neuville's run on Stage 2, El Puma, was red-flagged not long after he started, as rally organisers feared he could catch the official zero cars on the test. Neuville drove the majority of the stage non-competitively and was handed a time 6.6s slower than Ott Tänak. 

"How did they decide that time?” said the Belgian. “In stage one, I was 0.7s slower than Tänak and in stage three, I was 0.7s faster than him. But in stage two, they decided I would lose 6.6 seconds. What we need is a change in the regulation and make it that there is just one person on every round - like they do in Formula 1. This person can apply the same rule each time and they will have a clear view on what we are doing. It's always frustrating."

Neuville's hopes of his time bring altered were undermined when he dropped 17.6 seconds to Tänak on the second run at El Puma.

"My run was compromised because I was cleaning the road, I did my best, but I could only be frustrated by this," he added.

FIA rally director Yves Matton sympathised with Neuville and admitted the use of notional times could be imprecise. He added that former double world champion co-driver Timo Rautiainen was already working in the role Neuville had highlighted. 

"Timo is the new sporting delegate and I changed the job description to take him closer to the clerk of the course, so this is one of the things he will follow,” Matton said. “It's quite clear for me that the notional time will never be perfect and I can tell you Thierry was not happy, but also two others were also not happy because they considered the time was too good. I am in the job a long time and I know you are nearly never happy with notional times and sometimes you are happy when you think you will not be happy."