ERC - 2017 Cyprus Rally - Post-Event Press Conference

18.06.17
ERC, Cyprus Rally

Find here all the pictures from the 2017 ERC Cyprus Rally 

FIA European Rally Championship 2017: Round 4 of 8
Cyprus Rally, 16-18 June

Present:
Nasser Al-Attiyah/Matthieu Baumel, first position
Simos Galatariotis/Antonis Ioannou, second position
Panikos Polykarpou/Gerald Winter, third position

Q: 
On a rally where everything happened you just kept your head down and came to the finish fastest. What was your secret?

NAA:
First I would like to say thanks to every driver. There is no secret for this rally. Okay, we try to do our best and we had good luck. I feel really sorry for the other drivers because we had really big fight altogether. But like what I say maybe the experience what we get from here or from everywhere where we compete it’s helped us. I am quite happy to win fifth time Cyprus Rally and eight times Troodos Rally, which is how many times?

Q:
Let’s just say it’s quite a lot, almost as many times as you have won the Middle East championship…

NAA:
In Middle East I have won 12 times the championship.

Q:
So 13 wins in Cyprus?

NAA:
Yes, I am quite happy and thank you for all the support from my country, from our government in Qatar who support us all this weekend and for making everything happen for us. It was fantastic, thank you to everybody.

Q:
And from your perspective Matthieu, what was the event like for you?

MB:
It was from the beginning we said we only came for the victory and we also need the points for the Middle East championship. It was a very hard challenge on the first day because all the competitors were fighting very, very hard to take the lead. But after the first loop on the morning we get a small advantage and we said we would continue at this pace and see what happens in the afternoon. In the afternoon it was completely disaster or all our competitors. We finished the first day with a huge gap to the second and third place so this morning was a little strange because you spend your time avoiding the difficulties and the stones, you only think puncture or something happens. But, okay, everything was going well and we arrived at the Golden Stage. The plan was not to push, to secure the win but at the start Nasser ask me ‘what do you think, do we go?’ I said just go and enjoy and we will see. If we have a good time in the first one we will try to win and it’s what we did.

Q:
When you had the puncture yesterday was there any point when you thought it would cost you lots of time?

MB:
In that point we were already leading by more than three minutes and we drove with the puncture for 10 kilometres and we knew the maximum loss of minutes would still be good for the lead so we were not really worried.

Q:
What was the reaction inside the car when you realised three of you main rivals had gone out?

MB:
We were pushing and it’s the game, it’s like that. It’s rally, when someth9ing happens you need to manage. In that game Nasser and I are really good.

Q:
When did you realise this was happening and that second place would be possible?

SG:
I think it was from the first stage this morning actually. Our pace was what it needed to be and then we had to push all day long to stay there actually.

Q:
Did you at any stage face any trouble that could be bad for the car because nearly everyone had problems?

SG:
Not really today, a couple of weird moments but nothing serious. The problems we had were yesterday but not with the car, we had a flat tyre and one car blocked the road but other than that today ran smoothly.

Q:
What does this mean to be the first Cypriot crew and second overall on such a tough rally, one of the toughest we've had in the last decade?

SG:
Always just to finish such a rally is a difficult thing to do, all the drivers who competed can confirm that. Of course it means a lot to us. We’ve been working hard and our team to get the car ready over many hours and I would like to thank them and my family who put up with the long hours. But I couldn’t be happier.

Q:
When did you realise that the podium was on?

PP:
Never to be honest! Okay we planned as a new team this year to finish the rally. But we had some very good times on the first day with zero troubles. We worked very clever in the stages with the tough places so we save the car and slowly we went up in the standings so I couldn’t be happier.

Q:
So what does it mean to be on the podium after this amazing rally against so many big names?

PP:
For a new team I couldn’t be happier for us. From the beginning we said we’d finish the rally and at the end we proved we were also fast to be on the podium. It’s amazing for us.