WRC - S. Ogier: "Certainement pas une de mes victoires les plus faciles. C'est devenu une habitude maintenant !" (en anglais) | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

WRC - S. Ogier: "Certainement pas une de mes victoires les plus faciles. C'est devenu une habitude maintenant !" (en anglais)

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11.03.19.

Transcription de la conférence de presse post-événement organisée par la FIA pour le Rallye Mexique 2019. (en anglais)

Rally Mexico - S. Ogier / J. Ingrassia

FIA World Rally Championship

Present:
1st – Sébastien Ogier, Citroën Total WRT
1st – Julien Ingrassia, Citroën Total WRT
2nd – Ott Tänak, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT
2nd – Martin Järveoja, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT
3rd – Elfyn Evans, M-Sport Ford WRT
3rd – Scott Martin, M-Sport Ford WRT
Pierre Budar, Team Principal, Citroën Total WRT
 
Q:
Congratulations Sébastien Ogier on winning your fifth Rally México, the first time you win here with Citroën. How much of a challenge has this victory been?

SO:
It has been a very challenging weekend and definitely not one of my easier wins. This is becoming a trend on the WRC now. Never easy conditions and more challenging than the last years. So many drivers were getting into trouble and so many cars retired. There were issues for us as well. We had two punctures and a small technical issue. It was not easy to fight. Now we have 30 points and a fifth win here.

Q:
There were hardly any mistakes from you except at the super specialstage where you mentioned you were distracted by an issue - what was that?

SO:
The problem was more or less starting in the afternoon yesterday. It got worse through the day. Coming to service last night was at the right time. The car was difficult to drive. This mistake was also partly my fault. I had too much optimism on the brakes. It was only a small problem and a few seconds lost.

Q:
Maximum points on the Power Stage as well as the rally win here puts you second in the championship, just four points behind Ott Tänak. That must be a welcome relief after Sweden!

SO:
There is always a bit of risk. You cannot afford to take risks when you are on the podium, but I felt that I had a good package to be in the top three on the Power Stage and that was the target. Winning was the cherry on the cake. It was a good opportunity to put Sweden behind us. I would not say it’s a relief. I was not starting to worry early in the season, but it is better not to have too much of a gap. The target here was to win and we succeeded in that.

Q:
México kick-started your career back in 2008 in the FIA Junior WRC Championship, you now take your fifth win here. Julien Ingrassia, why do you think this event has been so successful for you both?

JI:
It’s been a story now since 2008. We have very good relations with Mexicans. Maybe we can get Mexican passports…Seb has always been good on events of this nature. In Mexico or Portugal, he is good on the technical stages and precise in the notes. His driving is great in these conditions. We have the experience and know how to handle the ground. Everything has to be played on the Friday, otherwise you have a triple penalty. If you don’t have a good result on Friday, then you have no chance on Saturday. I have to thank the team that gave us a good car and a good test. We have been experiencing ice, tarmac and gravel this season but we are still learning. Winning two of the first events is a good start.

Q:
How would you rate this event now?

JI:
I would say we know the ground very well, whether we are using the road going one way or the other. We know the mountains well. This year we’ve been facing difficult conditions. There were loose stones on the road and the grip wasn’t as high as before. It’s difficult for the co-drivers. There is a lot of traffic and it is not easy with the heat in the car, the atmosphere and the many people catching you all the time. You need to be focused.

Q:
Ott Tänak, you started the weekend from first on the road as the FIA WRC championship leader and have sealed second overall, your first podium in México. Did you believe on Friday a podium was possible?

OT:
Yes, I guess we have been working for a long time to be in that position on the road, so we could not complain. It is never easy. I had a good feeling in the car and everything was working. It was difficult to do good times and we were struggling to compete. Seb was strong on Friday. It was still a tough day. It was a big shame at the end of the day that we lost a small gap to Esapekka Lappi. All in all, we did everything we could.

Q:
Tell us about your attack this morning.

OT:
First of all, I would like to say that Elfyn (Evans)was consistent through all the rally and was always at the top of the time sheets. On Saturday lunch time, we were 20 seconds behind and we had only a chance if we could catch time back. If it had been 20 seconds at the end of Saturday, then we would have had no chance today. But we managed to take time back and today morning, we made a good tyre call. All in all, we were not flat out. It was a good clean run this morning and we increased our gap. We had a left puncture early in the Power Stage. That put me under a bit of pressure because I was not sure how fast he (Elfyn) was going. It was not easy. Unfortunately we got no points for there.

Q:
Martin Järveoja, México delivers a lot of challenges for man and machine. What would you say have been the biggest challenges for you this weekend?

MJ:
We know that we have to go fast on Friday to get a better road position for Saturday. We got fourth on the road for Saturday. It was not so good. It was better for Seb and Julien. We were trying. It was an okay event for us. The Power Stage puncture was not so good. The engineers were quite confident that there were no problems on our car (Latvala – alternator issue). In the end we had no problems.

Q:
Elfyn Evans, your first podium here at Rally México and first podium of the 2019 season. It’s third overall after an epic battle with Ott Tänak. A really strong weekend from you, but what is the feeling now at the end of the event?

EE:
Yes, a little bit disappointed to be honest. Let’s say it was not a perfect Saturday afternoon. We suffered in Otates and Ott had a fast run through. That allowed him to get close and have a sniff of second place. He did a good tyre call this morning and that made his life easy. We struggled on a medium tyre. Saying that, these are great points to take away. I think, what we looked at was the fact that the stage started early in the morning and there were a lot of unused kilometres in the first stage. We also thought that El Chocolate is quite slippery. That was not the case. It was more rocky and more abrasive and harder on the tyres. We knew the Power Stage would be difficult.

Q:
You held second position coming into to today but Tänak was on a serious attack. It looked like huge commitment from you on the stages today!

EE:
Last year was not the best year for us, but we had good speed at times. It was not ideal in Monte and, since then, it was working well and Sweden was positive, although it was not the result we wanted. The speed was good and again it was here. We have a good car on tarmac and a better road position for Corsica. I have a good feeling, like we did in Spain on tarmac at the end of last year

Q:
Scott, we haven’t seen you compete at Rally México since 2011 and you came back with your first podium here. A great result after a tough battle.

SM:
Yes, really happy. A lot of times, people ask me what my favourite rally is. This one is sewn into the book. Unfortunately I am flying tonight, no party! But this is a special rally. It has been working well with the team and Elfyn. I enjoyed the weekend. One or two stages cost us a bit of time but, apart from that, it was a solid weekend. It is one of the toughest rallies for co-drivers. That’s why it is on my favourites’ list. It has the altitude, temperatures, León traffic, spectators who are quite demanding and a fantastic live buzz about the rally. That’s what we are here for. It is our first podium together. I have had some career highlights here in the past and to be away for eight years makes me feel old.

Q:
Pierre, Citroën secure their eighth win at Rally México and Sébastien seals his fifth victory here. Citroën have an affinity with this event! You now move into second position in the championship. A great result on this rally…

PB:
Sure, we are always happy when we are in love. It seems to be a party with Citroën and Rally México, especially when we have very good drivers. Usually we do well here. Seb and Julien also do well here, so we could expect this kind of result. Not easy, but it’s done and very well done. Yes, we are second in the Manufacturers’ championship with maximum points this weekend. It’s been a long time since we have seen this. It shows we can do it with two cars when we have two drivers….

Q:
Tell us your thoughts on Esapekka Lappi? Big expectations for the next rally?

PB:
Esapekka showed good pace this weekend. He made one small mistake that cost a lot. He was quite comfortable in the car. That’s what he told us. Even today, running first on the road, his split times were good and the Power Stage result is quite good. I think it is very promising. He has the pace and the talent.


FIA WRC 2 PRO CHAMPIONSHIP

Present:
1st - Lukasz Pieniazek (POL)
1st – Kamil Heller (POL)

Q:
Lukasz, your first Rally México and an eventful weekend for you but you merge on Sunday to take maximum points in the FIA WRC 2 Pro championship. Tough weekend?

LP:
Of course, it’s not a win to be proud of. We were the only crew in the FIA WRC 2 Pro category. I made a mistake on Friday and it was a bit painful for me. The stages are difficult and we were struggling to understand the grip, all the time it was changing. The knowledge and information we got here are crucial for the next appearances here.

Q:
How much did the accident on Friday dent your confidence?

LP:
It was a pace-note mistake. It was hard to get the confidence back. If you loose it, you are always wondering if it is correct or not on the next stages. These stages are narrow and rocky. It is very easy to destroy the car. I was trying to get the confidence back. Some stages were better and some were worse. I am satisfied, but it was not so easy on the set-up side of things. We had reduced power and the car was quite overweight. I think, when we come back next year, we will be much stronger.

Q:
Did you have a problem before the first stage this morning?

LP:
Nothing special this morning. One communication on the dash I did not know. I decided to take the mechanics to the car. I preferred to get their help.

Q:
How much of a challenge did you find this event? 

LP:
We had quite a hard impact on Friday. Not sure how many Gs, but I feel pain in my neck and stiffness and Kamil cut his tongue. It was difficult for him to read the pace-notes. Congratulations for him for doing his job so well that we could carry on during the whole event.


FIA WRC 2 CHAMPIONSHIP

Present:
1st - Benito Guerra (MEX)
1st – Jaime Zapata (MEX)

Q:
Benito, congratulations on your first FIA WRC 2 win - to achieve that here at your home event must be very special!

BG:
Yes, it is a fantastic feeling to be first. It feels the same as 2012 when we won the world title in the production class and I won México and Argentina. I hope it’s going to be a good year. I am really happy. The crowd has been fantastic. The Mexican fans make the drivers feel different. Mexican fans are the best ones.

Q:
An incredible battle with Marco Bulacia throughout Friday and Saturday morning. How hard were you pushing out there?

BG:
I enjoyed the battle a lot. Markito (Marco) is a very fast driver. I was not watching the times of Lukasz. He was in a different class. I wanted to focus on my class and the battle with Marco. Congratulations to him and his co-driver. We swapped the lead four times in so many stages and there were tenths of a second between us. He was leading, then he got a puncture and we started to slow down and take the car to victory. It is a very good result for me. Being sixth overall is my best ever result here. I think we can celebrate tonight.

Q:
Were there any issues this weekend? Was it hard to focus with such a big lead?

BG:
It was not easy. We were pushing and winning by fractions of a second and then, as Marco dropped time, it was different. It is easier to drive to the limit than taking care of the car. You don’t know when you are losing time. I prefer to be in the fight to win.

Q:
Jaime, a great result at home. What does it mean for you to win the FIA WRC 2 category?

JZ:
It’s special to win here in México. I am from here in Guanajuato and my parents are here. It is a special event for me. It was my first rally ten years ago and winning this rally with Benito is special for me. I think all the co-drivers have a lot of pressure. It is easy for co-drivers to tell a wrong note or have a bad moment, therefore we have to concentrate a lot. With Benito, we met 10 years ago, we are friends and we can talk a lot. It is a great chance to be sit in the right seat next to Benito. And the next rally will be easier.