Sebastien Loeb made it four wins out of six starts in this year's FIA World Rally Championship powered by Nokia with a God-like performance on the Acropolis Rally. Here's how he struck gold in Greece.
Sun 27.05.12, 3:03PM
Congratulations on your third Acropolis Rally win, it had been a big fight with the Fords throughout the weekend but you gave us all a scare earlier when you stopped on the second running of Agii Theodori. How are you feeling after a tough weekend? “It was just to put a little pressure to the team. They were confident so this was just to wake them up! There was nothing special. In a right-hander, there was a stone in the middle of the road, the first pass it was not too high, but the second time we slid over the stone with less gravel around it. It broke my tyre, after one kilometre I decided to stop and change. Daniel told me to continue, but I said no. I remember in 2006, I had a puncture here and I finished the stage on the brake disc, everything was destroyed. At the end of the stage, I couldn’t put a wheel on the car, we lost everything. I thought I had a 1m50s lead and this was enough to change the wheel.”
How quick did you change the tyre? “Yeah, it was 1m40s. It was good and everything went well, we are prepared to change a wheel.”
It was a tough fight, though? “It was a really tough battle. We are used to this being more endurance and not breaking the tyres. But here it was flat-out for two days and one stage. We had big fight with Jari-Matti - at first we were four [drivers fighting], then it was more intense. Then he [Latvala] made his mistake and Petter made some pressure in the mud. Petter is like this, when condition is tough, he can go like crazy and then today he made a mistake. Then we were a bit more quiet and then we had the puncture.”
Were you on the limit yesterday? “Yes. Daniel just said it was 80 per cent, but it wasn’t - it was flat-out, just not in the bad places where it was too hard for the car and the tyres. There were not a lot of places, the car is really strong and the tyres. Every stage was 98 per cent!”
You said after Petter went out this morning that you didn’t know how to drive, what did you mean? “When you are 100 per cent concentrated on driving and suddenly you know you just have to stay on the road, okay you slow down a bit, but then it feels strange. It is not driving like normal. It took some time to find the confidence, but then in the next one I tried harder again.”
Was this the toughest rally? “No. Every rally is a challenge, but this one is different. It is so demanding on the car and tyres. I am sure we will have some fights like this in the future. It’s a rally: when you win it, you feel really happy and satisfied, but anything can happen when you start. For me, 28 points is great and Mikko second for the team, I am really happy.”