Rally Finland: Q&A with Sebastien Loeb

World Rally Championship title race leader Sébastien Loeb discusses his 73rd WRC win and his third on Finnish soil.

Sébastien Loeb stretched his lead of the FIA World Rally Championship to 43 points with a hugely impressive third victory on Neste Oil Rally Finland, which finished in the city of Jyvaskyla on Saturday night. This is what he had to say.

Congratulations on world championship win number 73 and your third victory in Finland. How are you feeling?

“I feel really happy for sure. To win Finland is always something special. It’s a special rally and the roads are incredible. The jumps are big and the speed very high. For sure it’s a great moment to win and to be here having two Finnish drivers on each side is great. Since the start of the rally, the feeling was perfect with the car. From shakedown, qualifying first stage: everything went very well and I felt very confident in the car. That’s the base, if you want to push hard. You are high speed between the trees and you have to be sure from what you are doing. Everything was perfect.”

When did you decide you would go for the win?

“Qualifying was run in the evening and the first stage was also in the evening and I am not a fan of the morning! Immediately, I had a good rhythm. Mikko [Hirvonen] was faster in the morning, we had seven seconds in the morning and we won by six at the end. But this little gap I could make, I was able to keep it until the end.”

How pleased are you to win in Finland for a third time, it’s some achievement?

“It’s what I said: it’s nice. The third time now, for me this victory, I really had the feeling that it was under control, not that we could win, but the feeling with the car was really perfect. The first year I won I had to take risks, there were some big moments sometimes. Last year, still I had to make some more time than I am able to. This year was a good feeling, it was perfect.”

Out of your three wins in Finland, was this your best?

“They were all good but for sure it’s the one I remember now. It was a really great fight and when you win like that at the end with only six seconds it’s always a great satisfaction for sure.”

How much pressure did you feel today?

“For sure when I started the day I was sure of nothing. I knew the day was going well and the feeling was good and I had to try again. The rhythm was here and pushing, I felt well in the car. I was able to do the times with no mistakes or moments. It’s what I said: it was the perfect weekend.”

What plans do you have for celebrating this win?

“I’m going on holiday on a boat for 10 days. It will be nice, maybe Corsica or somewhere like that.”