10.02.13

2013 Rally Sweden - Post Event Press Conference

Post Event Press Conference organised by the FIA for the 2013 Rally Sweden
2013 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
RALLY SWEDEN
Post event Press Conference
Sunday 10 February 
 
Present:
1st - Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Motorsport
1st - Julien Ingrassia, Volkswagen Motorsport 
2nd - Sébastien Loeb, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
2nd - Daniel Elena, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
3rd - Mads Østberg, Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team
3rd - Jonas Andersson, Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team
Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
 
Q:
Sébastien, congratulations on your first win for the Volkswagen Motorsport team and in dominant fashion here in Sweden. How are you feeling?
SO:
Really good. Let’s say it’s amazing. The feeling is better than I expected to be in the top position, after just two races with the car. The feeling was fantastic. I want to congratulate all of the team. Last year was difficult for them like it was me. We test and they spend a lot of hours in the workshop. I am very proud of them and me and Julien. We did the perfect race. I am very happy.
 
Q:
After a second place in Monte-Carlo just a few weeks ago did you imagine that a win could come so soon?
SO:
Not really. Monte was the best surprise of the beginning of the season. I had a good feeling on the test and to see on the Monte that we had a good rhythm and we were matching Seb [Loeb] was quite good. But here it was another start with more gravel settings for the snow. And the car is really good, even better than in Monte – I never had such a good car as here. I will never say it was easy, but I could do what I want with the car. Perfect rally.
 
Q:
You seemed to have a perfect drive all weekend; were there any moments at all?
SO:
Today it wasn’t really a moment, but I pushed a snow bank, which is not good because you can stay stuck. This morning was not easy. This guy on the right [Loeb] was really pushing and going hard. We had to push to stay in contact, we could lose some seconds and we had a lot of fun in the car. I am happy to be at the finish and tonight I’m sure there will be a big celebration.
 
Q:
Did you feel the pressure?
SO:
Of course, you are always feeling a bit the pressure, but this usually is a boost for me. Every time I needed to push a bit more and make a time, I was able to do it. Sometimes it was even more difficult to back-off and then I lose more time, so I say I will continue to drive fast. In the end it was the perfect weekend.
 
Q:
Julien, we are used to hearing a song. Do you have a song for us?
JI:
I’m afraid to say there is not a song. But there might be some singing tonight!
 
Q:
Julien, a great and your first with a new team! After all the testing and development what does it mean to you and the team to secure a win so early in the season?
JI:
It has been three different days with different conditions each time. We did this step-by-step and we knew from the start – and Mr Capito will say – we were not allowed a big mistake. We wanted to bring back some big points. We were here to run and to develop the car and the team. Maybe we are learning how to win. It has been a great job, I cannot say anything better. The perfect job. 
 
Q:
What was the atmosphere like when you drove the car to the service park?
JI:
It was unbelievable. All of the guys and the women work so much for that, it was unbelievable to be the second crew to win the Nordic event by Latin people. You think about this and this is a great step. We are proud and happy. 
 
Q:
Seb, you came here wanting a win but it just was not possible this weekend, how are you feeling about second position?
SL:
I feel okay. For sure, everybody knows I prefer to win and when I can win, I do. It didn’t start so well in qualifying, we had a bad time. Maybe I was sleeping a bit, I don’t know the reason. Maybe I am too old! Finally, okay, we lost a lot of time. After this qualifying, I started to change the set-up. I thought maybe this was the problem, then I went wrong and we struggled in the first day and I lost 30 seconds. When you do this in Sweden and the other guy is [driving] as fast then you cannot catch back the time. It was exciting. I was pushing very hard trying to keep the pressure. I knew I could not take the 30 seconds, but to keep the pressure. But he [Ogier] has done a great race. He didn’t lose too much time: a little here and there. We did a good rally, but not enough.
 
Q:
What happened in qualifying?
SL:
Maybe I didn’t push enough. Just that. 
SO:
The start?
SL:
Ah yes, the start. For sure I had the bad start. I saw the marshals put the snow in the ruts and I thought: “I am not going to sweep the snow out of the line for the rest of the drivers.” So I started next to the ruts, but I was on the ice and I could not start. Maybe in the stage I was too safe and not aggressive enough.
 
Q:
You kept the pressure on Ogier almost to the end, how many risks were you taking on the stages to try and catch him?
SL:
I was on my limit. I pushed really hard and tried my best all the time. I have done some great stages. Some little mistakes. I tried, but it was not possible.
 
Q:
What’s your view, Daniel
DE:
I am very happy. Now it’s two years I was pushing the car, and pushing last year, but this year I was not out of the car for pushing and this was very nice! It’s a fantastic race for us, especially in the first one this morning. The two Sebs were flying in maximum risks. I have in my brain… six gear and trees. No comment – just fantastic and I’m very happy not to push the car. 
 
Q:
Was it stressful in the car?
DE:
When you pass each corner it’s a new victory and I’m very happy. The pressure is in each corner. The first one you pass: yes; second one: yes and you expect when you have the mistake. No mistakes this time, thank you Seb.
 
Q:
Mads, it’s third position here in Sweden and a great fight-back after technical problems on Friday morning. You wanted more from this event though - what are your thoughts on the event?
MO:
First of all I’m really glad to be third after Friday morning. We had a pretty bad overheat and we lost all the cooling. We emptied all the water out and we thought that was the end of the rally. After the stage we stopped and found the problem, but didn’t know what do. We tried to fix it with some tie-wraps and some tape, then we took our Camelbaks and filled the engine and it seemed to work. We took [lost] some time in SS2 and some penalty after that. And then I struggled to get back to the pace and the rhythm. But, after all that, we fight back well and had a big fight with Jari-Matti [Latvala]. He was good, but we knew we could take him after I found a better set-up and then we were third. 
 
Q:
When you had an issue on Friday morning did you think it was all over?
MO:
I was the guy struggling after the first stage on Friday. I worked really hard to get back to the fighting spirit. The 20-second penalty made it difficult, really after that it was difficult. 
 
Q:
What about the rest of the season?
MO:
I have been too safe, I need to push more. I could see that here, you know we had one small moment. I need to take more risks and I definitely need to increase the risks to keep up with Ogier.
 
Q:
Do you agree, Jonas?
JA:
To an extent, yes. I would say I’m not too happy learning to drive on snow from two French guys! But it’s great to have third place. Like that start, I thought the rally was over, so I am very happy to be here.
 
Q:
How frustrated were you?
JA:
Very. We struggled to fix it, even when we did we were not sure if this was fixed. We fought back very well. 
 
Q:
Jonas, you are a Swedish co-driver… things have got to change!
JA:
Yes, definitely
 
Q:
Jost, the first win for Volkswagen and the Polo R WRC on only the second round of the Championship. Did you think it would come so soon?
JC:
I had this great dream, which was to sit here with the guys next year! Nobody could expect this. We expect it even less than people outside. We came here to learn, it’s the second rally. This is the fantastic result. Normally rallies are up and down, but we had no downs. It was unbelievable. 
 
Q:
Could you imagine such dominance?
JC:
We all know Sébastien [Ogier] is capable of the pace, but I didn’t know he could do it already with the Polo.
 
Q:
And what about Jari-Matti? Has he impressed you?
JC:
Yes. He is lacking a lot of mileage. He has to learn to drive and get the settings for himself. We were constantly changing the settings. This was the best way for him to learn that. He had a great day today and got some great confidence.
 
Q:
What’s been reaction to this in Volkswagen HQ?
JC:
They don’t have words for this.
 
 
FIA WRC 2 CHAMPIONSHIP 
 
Present:
1st - Yazeed Al Rajhi
1st - Michael Orr
 
Q:
Yazeed, your first win in WRC 2! A great result for you and for the Championship ahead, how does it feel? Did you imagine this was possible?
YAR:
No. I came fifth last year. This year I thought third, or maybe second if I am lucky. I am here with the win and very happy!
 
Q:
How tough has the weekend been for you?
YAR:
First I am happy I do a very great job with Michael and my team. I am very happy to win this difficult rally. This is a good start for the season. I hope to continue like that.
 
Q:
How tough was the event?
YAR:
It was more difficult than last year – it was too much slippery. When I test the car for 50 kilometres and test on the same road as last year, I don’t feel good. It was too slippery, I thought the road was wrong, but the stages were 30 per cent more slippery. I was confused, but tried to push, and the time was gone.
 
Q:
Did you have many moments out there?
YAR:
I had some, but you must if you drive like that, you expect some moments. I miss some corners. I tried not to make mistakes.
 
Q:
Are more wins possible?
YAR:
Yeah, for me for my life, I’m not interested to win the next race or to win this year. I want to win stages and take my big plan. I want not to make the mistake or big crash. You know there was the Norwegian guy Anders [Grondal] on this rally and if he is beating me, then I don’t go crazy… the future is coming.
 
Q:
What does this mean for you?
YAR:
For me, I am very proud. I know I can drive very well. I did well in the difficult conditions. In gravel it’s more easy. I need to improve my notes and then I think I can win in every event.
 
Q:
Have you been on the limit?
YAR
Today, I tell Michael that I make all my experience for all my life and for the cross-country. We passed some corners, but I thought: “We will not push, we have to improve the notes.”
 
Q:
Michael, you made it look easy…
MO:
No, I’m not sure how we made it look easy. I’m not sure how you came up with that plan. Like Yazeed said, we had no plan to win. We looked yesterday morning and thought there was a chance to take all the points. We were 34 seconds behind Anders yesterday morning and that gap was down to four this morning and then it was going to be trophy or trees.
 
Q:
What was the toughest thing about the conditions?
MO:
The most difficult conditions came on Friday morning. Everybody starts the rally ready to attack, but the first few kilometres of SS2 was a shock. We made a few mistakes. Then it was tough to find the limit, the conditions were the difficult part of the rally.
 
Q:
How much has Yazeed developed since you’ve been alongside him?
MO:
It’s clear when you look at the times we’re doing. We started last season and came here and had a good feeling. There were some good sectors in the splits, but we needed to be more consistent. We needed to put together the sectors into stage times, the stage times into loops, the loops into days and the days into rallies. For sure, he has the speed. It’s about keeping it under control, we have to keep working and keep pushing ourselves, but we’re certainly going in a good direction.
 
Q:
What about the rest of the year?
MO:
We’re going to approach every rally like we can win it. I’m sure there will be a lot of guys trying to do that, but we drive at our level and if we’re comfortable we will compete to win and if not then we’ll take what we can get.