Sebastien Loeb got his bid to win the 2012 FIA WRC off to the perfect start with victory on Rallye Monte-Carlo. Here's what the Citroen star had to say following his success.
Fri 27.01.12, 12:12AM
Win number 68 of your career and your sixth win on Rallye Monte-Carlo. How has it felt to be back competing here? “For sure it is a pleasure for me to be back in Monte-Carlo, but for different reasons. First, this is the most specific rally of the year; it’s a rally which is in France and it’s the home rally of my co-driver. We won this rally a lot of times and one more time today. I’m really happy to be back here.”
Taking maximum points on the Power Stage also means your season has got off to the best possible start. “It couldn’t be better. Great start to take 28 points. There were nearly no mistakes, a little mistake with the tyre choice at the start, but there was some very good help from the team in the choices we made. [It was a] good drive and great atmosphere. Yes, it’s great to start the season like that.”
What did you think of the five-day format? “I was not a fan, it’s not for me. I think it’s a bit long. I think it’s a bit long for everybody: for the journalists, the drivers and I’m not sure it brings more media for the two extra days. For the private drivers, it’s also more complicated, I’m not a fan of that.”
There are three manufacturers on the podium here; do you expect a big fight from not only Ford, but MINI as well? “You should ask Dani [Sordo] if he will be fast everywhere, he will try for sure. But yes, it looks good to have three manufacturers on the podium, hopefully it continues like this.”
At the start of another WRC season are you feeling as passionate as you ever were about defending your title? “Yes. It’s for that that I’m here. For sure my goal is to try and get another title, but it was another possibility to stop with eight. I still have the record and I don’t take the risk to lose in my last season. But I enjoy what I do: driving and fighting. I’m really happy to start again and the motivation is the same.”
Finally, what can you say about the performance of your Citroen DS3 WRC? “The Citroen DS3 WRC worked like a dream. I felt comfortable from the start of the rally and I managed to get into a good rhythm. It’s a big gap to second, but I wouldn’t say that this was an easy win. We had to deal with all sorts of conditions and my lead was largely built on better tyre choices, which were mainly down to the work of Citroen Racing’s technical team and our tyre partner Michelin. For the first time in a long time in WRC, we were able to choose between five types of tyres and we always managed to pick the right tyres for the circumstances.”