One week before the first meeting of the season, the Monte-Carlo rally, Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) has decided to part ways with his co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul. The Belgian will officiate alongside Martijn Wydaeghe in the future.
Change, and size for Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) at the dawn of the new season of the WRC World Championship. Friday, as the reconnaissance of the Monte-Carlo rally, the inaugural event of this 2021 exercise which will be officially launched on January 21 in the Principality, is fast approaching, the Belgian driver has announced that he will no longer be supported in the future by his historic co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul (38) but by a new co-driver, also Belgian: Martijn Wydaeghe (28). The five-time vice-world champion (2013, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019) surprised everyone, according to the Belgian press, knowing that he was accompanied this week again during the last official tests of Gilsoul, with whom he also signed the best hours of his career. However, the two men will no longer officiate side by side this season, starting next weekend on the Rock. Neuville announced the separation on Friday on his Facebook account: “Some changes to come as I will start the season with Martijn Wydaeghe in the co-pilot seat. I would like to thank Nicolas Gilsoul for the ten years we have spent together and for the good memories. “
Gilsoul, first surprised
Some changes ahead as I will start the season with @MWydaeghe in the co-driver’s seat.
I want to thank @nicolasgilsoul for the ten years we spent together and for the great memories. # WRC #HMSGOfficial # TN11 pic.twitter.com/B5U8d4VD3C
– Thierry Neuville (@thierryneuville) January 15, 2021
Gilsoul, for his part, obviously did not have a say, just as he did did not necessarily expect this decision from the pilot, which he cannot digest, according to his reaction, again on social networks. “It’s his choice. We have had wonderful adventures together. We will have more, unfortunately, each on our side. »Wydaeghe, meanwhile, will live a dream of finding himself parachuting in the premier class alongside one of the best pilots in the world in the discipline.
The young Flemish and Neuville will experience their baptism by fire on the occasion of this Monte-Carlo rally which will not offer a shakedown, all without the slightest kilometer shared together beforehand. A hell of a bet for Neuville, even if his new co-driver, who has no WRC experience, will not land completely in the unknown. The replacement for Gilsoul had indeed spent at Hyundai between 2016 and 2018, the time when he was the co-pilot of Korean Lim Chewon.