WRC - Ogier: "I was pretty much flat out all weekend"

12.03.18

Transcript of the post event Press Conference organised by the FIA for the 2018 Rally Mexico

Present:
1st - Sébastien Ogier, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team
1st - Julien Ingrassia, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team
2nd - Dani Sordo, Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT
2nd - Carlos del Barrio, Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT
3rd - Kris Meeke, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT
3rd - Paul Nagle, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT
Malcolm Wilson, Team Principal, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team  

Q:
Sébastien, you are the outright winner on a brilliant 10th anniversary since you came here for the first time and won the JWRC category back in 2008. Ten years later, you come and win the main WRC event in serious style. How are you feeling? 
SO:   
Super happy. Like you say, it was a fantastic win with Julien in 2008 in the Junior category. It was like a dream to be here. There have been 10 years for us and this is one of my best performances. It is always hard to judge; I have pushed a lot and Julien was perfect and so was the team. We have scored valuable points and we delivered a better performance than last year. 

Q:
You appeared to be on the limit the whole event?  
SO:
Yes, I was pretty much flat out, that is true all the weekend. On day one you start as one of the earlier runners and you try your best and you are on your limit. Some frustration is coming out and you try to minimise the time loss and we did that on Friday. Saturday, we were in a better position and we started to attack in the afternoon. We took the lead. I was proud that we gave everything up to the last stage and we were strong on the Power Stage.  

Q: 
When did you think you could fight for the win?
SO:
On Saturday midday, we began to put the pressure on. The difference was 15 seconds and Seb (Loeb) got a puncture. Without the puncture, I think we had a higher rhythm than him. It would have been a close battle. Now we know that Seb is back with us. Not so many people can do that in the world. Well done Seb Loeb.   

Q:
Julien  what are your feelings after such a fantastic 10th anniversary win?
JI:
This is a beautiful event, but it is not as easy as it looks. The stages are close to the Service Park but they are demanding stages.

Q: 
We saw you at an incredible pace. All those notes that you have to read under pressure, it’s a very challenging rally. 
JI:
This is our job. The co-driver has a lot of tasks, like navigation, refuelling and things. All co-drivers are doing a great job. We had fun in the car. It was a good battle. We have a very good car and we are more comfortable in the car than we have been in a long time. 

Q: 
Was it good to have Daniel Elena back?
JI:
He has not changed a lot but we are happy he was here. He had issues on the Dakar. He was brave and we were happy to share some good photos of all the crews with him here.

Q:
Dani, you returned to the WRC after missing Sweden. What are your thoughts on second place after leading for some of the event?
DS:
I am happy. The road position I had on the first day was better for me and Loeb. Then, on Saturday, we take a puncture and Ogier was coming really fast. At the end, it is not so bad second place. I like this rally. We had not so bad grip. I enjoy a lot and the car was working well. No problems, so it was good. 

Q:
The next event is Corsica. How do you feel about that?
DS:
I like it a lot for the corners and it is really good with the pace notes. It is a really demanding rally. 

Q:
Carlos, we have not seen you on a WRC podium since Alsace in 2013. You must be delighted to be here?
CdB:
This is a special feeling. I was working on Monte-Carlo and I spent four years in the Spanish Championship as a commentator speaking about these events and now I am sat down with all these guys around me. It has paid off and that is a great feeling. Now I focus on Corsica. As Julien said, this rally is the most demanding for a co-driver. In Finland, that is even a fast event with crests, but you can see the trees and the line. Here the corners are tight, they are different and there may be some stones and hazards around and the roads are very narrow. There is too much in every corner.

Q:
Kris, third position but it could have been second. I guess it’s good points for the championship and a podium finish. But I get the feeling you are disappointed?
KM:
To be honest it was not a clean weekend for me, simple little spins, nothing serious, no real dramas, but I had everything. The car was good enough to win, the road position was good, and I had the pace. Only on Saturday afternoon did I lose one tenth of a second each kilometre to Seb. I was not good enough this weekend. Still I’ve had worse when I’ve been on a plane on Saturday evenings. I guess it’s points in the bag and the car is strong. In Corsica, we will have a strong team, so that is not so bad.

Q:
What was it like having Sébastien Loeb back as part of the team?
KM:
I guess it’s like when Seb (Ogier) arrived in M-Sport. You have a multiple champion with wins under his belt. Everyone raises their game. Seb (Loeb) is rallying’s royalty. He brings a presence with him. It’s great to have him around. There is an energy in the whole team and we were lifted this weekend. He did what I expected him to do. He has won from running first on the road before and he took time to build his rhythm. But he did a good job. He made a mistake and I made a mistake. We could have easily been two cars on the podium.

Q:
And things are going well in the team now.
KM:
We have had some team personnel changes within the team. There have been big changes within PSA Motorsport and an amalgamation under one roof of the RallyCross, rally, Dakar and Formula E. It took some time to settle down. It has started now and Pierre Budar is doing a fantastic job and the motivation is there. There are improvements in the car and a different attitude of everyone. We have some improvement for future rallies as well and we are looking forward to the rest of the season.

Q:
Paul, a podium finish. You were being hunting down by Dani this morning. How are you feeling?
PN:
This is a disappointing podium. But we have 32 points and we had less in Spain on round 11 last year. The whole team is showing promise. 

Q:
What happened this morning?
PN:
This morning it was a slow first gear corner. Normally you bounce off a bank but we fell into a gully and spectators got us back on the road. But the damage was done. It could have been worse and we had a couple of spins yesterday. 

Q:
Malcolm, it was a tough day on Friday, but you must be delighted with this result?
MW:
The great work was done on Friday. Then, to achieve what he did on Saturday afternoon was the best drive Sébastien has done since joining the team. To go from equal third to first in two stages was quite remarkable. We were not as competitive here last year.  


FIA WRC 2 CHAMPIONSHIP

Present:
1st - Pontus Tidemand, Škoda Motorsport 
1st - Jonas Andersson, Škoda Motorsport 

Q:
Pontus, congratulations on your victory. It was one heck of a win. You had a big lead, no battles, just a faultless drive?
PT:
Yes, first of all, thanks to all the team. It’s been a really nice rally and we enjoyed it. I like the stages, some parts were very slippery, but we had a very good car and good balance makes it easy to drive. 

Q:
You made a big lead early on. How do you manage to keep your focus after that? Do you test things?
PT:
A little bit with tyres, yes. Credit to Jonas for pushing me a bit to keep the adrenaline going. It helps with the concentration.

Q:
What is the toughest challenge on an event like this?
PT:
It’s the grip change I think. You are on the limit then you have to check how the grip looks or you will go off the road. We are working hard to defend the WRC 2 title. That’s what is in our mind now. I hope it will happen again.  

Q:
Jonas, you were keeping Pontus on the straight and narrow. How do you do that?
JA:
It’s difficult if you go flat out and make a mistake. You need to find a fine balance. We try to push each other a little bit. We had more than a decent pace and we gain more experience and so we try to keep the pace up a bit and have a clean run. We also have to consider the small matter of any big rocks that may have moved on the stage. 

Q: 
What has been the toughest challenge this weekend?
JA:
Actually this weekend has been really nice. The whole rally is always a big challenge but nothing sticks out in my mind. It is tough with the weather and there are long days in the car when you are sweating and drinking a lot. It is a really nice rally. The organisers worked well.  

Q:
There’s always a good atmosphere here, isn’t there?
JA:
Some places I see the fans, like on Thursday, we have seen them there (Guanajuato) before. I remember the good old days. This was the best ceremonial start ever. There were a crazy amount of people. It was an amazing atmosphere.