FIA Post Event Press Conference

2.8.2015 00:00

2015 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP

NESTE OIL RALLY FINLAND

Post event Press Conference

Sunday 2 August

 

Present:

1st - Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Motorsport

1st - Miikka Anttila, Volkswagen Motorsport

2nd - Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Motorsport

2nd - Julien Ingrassia, Volkswagen Motorsport

3rd - Mads Østberg, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team

3rd - Jonas Andersson, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team

Jost Capito, Team Principal, Volkswagen Motorsport

 

Q:

Congratulations Jari-Matti, this is a great win. How do you feel?

J-ML:

When you have a bad season, it feels like you are winning half of the season! It’s special. Winning the world title, I don’t know how it is, you have to ask Sebastien. I can only imagine this, but at least my position, this victory feels amazing.

 

Q:

Talk us through it, you came into the event with your confidence very high…

J-ML:

I didn't perform so well in Poland. I crashed on the last stage. After that I decided to do everything I could to win this rally. Mentally, I was ready for the event. I had a good test, all things were done and we prepared carefully. The only thing I needed to concentrate on when I came here was for the driving.

 

Q:

Did you have to raise the game?

J-ML:

I was maybe the most worried on Ouninpohja; Seb [Ogier] did an amazing time in 2013 there and I had not been fast in 2012 and 2013. I knew the stage was pretty important and there was a lot of pressure, but I believe I managed to do a good performance. Kris [Meeke] and Seb were pushing me hard, especially Sebastien. He was even stronger this year, but also I was driving a bit faster than last year.

 

Q:

Are you the king of Ouninpohja now?

J-ML:

Well, that sounds quite nice. Everything came together on this one. It’s a classic stage, but Myhinpaa is amazing as well and Sebastien had a great run in there. There are special characteristics in both of these stages, the most demanding in the rally, but the ones where you can make a difference.

 

Q:

Was there a time when you felt more comfortable with the gap?

J-ML:

After Surkee, the second to last stage, when I managed to get five seconds difference then I could relax a little bit more – it was heading in the right direction and we had almost 10s now. It starts to be more under control.

 

Q:

Does this boost the confidence? More Jari-Matti wins now?

J-ML:

It definitely gives me more confidence, but the next one is Germany and I think we need more preparation for that!

 

Q:

Miikka, congratulations, how special was that?

MA:

It was as special as last year, it was a proper fight all the time. To be honest I am very happy, especially with the fight ending like this. It’s not possible to mask my feelings. I have to say, I am smiling and I feel very, very relieved.

 

Q:

What was your preparation like?

MA:

We had a couple of weeks holiday and some time with family, being up with the baby in the morning was nice, but then you have to go to work again. Finland gives the same points as any other rally, but for Finns, this is something special – to do it two times in a row is very special.

 

Q:

There was some pressure this morning though?

MA:

I was a bit nervoius before the first time through. We had never done the stage in this direction, but when it came to the power stage, it was just one of the stages of the rally… I didn’t feel any particular nerves. We had 13 seconds in the morning and when you look at the whole rally, you know its going to be okay. There was no room for the mistakes, but we prepared like normal and it was no propblem.

 

Q:

Sebastien, you don’t like to be second I know, but how do you feel this time?

SO:

This weekend I must be happy with this one. We tried pretty hard, we gave a lot. I often mentioned that maybe I was missing the commitment – this is something I would like to clarify: I did not give more than 100 per cent, but whatever I had I gave and we had a pretty good rally. It wasn’t the perfect one. I have to accept that Jari-Matti was quicker this weekend, sometimes you have to accept that you can be beaten and this weekend they did that.

 

Q:

When did you think the win had gone?

SO:

I knew on Saturday at midday, when I knew I was going to the second loop and I would struggle again. I knew I had a chance, but it was a very small one – but I would not give up. The first stage I made the perfect stage, but I was only one tenth quicker. Then the rain came and I had an opportunity at this moment, but unfortunately I hit the rock and I lost my chance in this moment. Then Jari-Matti took five more seconds and then it was more or less over and we settle for second place which is good for the championship.

 

Q:

Great run through the power stage, though…

SO:
That was one of the best of the rally. It had similar charcteristics to Ouninpohja, but at 135kph average speed this is one of the fastest. On the first run, it was not so easy, but we were not in the fight so we could validate the notes and then have a good last push. I really enjoyed it and that’s  seven power stages in a row, which sounds not too bad. I’m happy with that.

 

Q:

What are your preparations for Germany now?

SO:

The preparations will be no different for me. The two last years were a disaster for me in Germany. For two and a half years we make a good performance, but not in Germany – I can say in Germany we have been really bad. I hope we can change that. For me, it’s important, and for the team it would be nice to make them happy with the perfect one. We have some job in front of us.

 

Q:

Julien, how do you feel?

JI:

I think I left some of my brain in some of those jumps, it might take me a bit longer for the answer…! When Jari-Matti and Miikka come and ask you if you were flat-out on the jump – it matters…

 

Q:

As an event, what do you think of Finland?

JI:

We were quite surprised to see how many spectators there were in this region, they really support the rally and that’s a good point. They love the rally here. The stages are very demanding and we know this is one of the most dangerous; it’s the fastest and craziest and there are also two others: Monte Carlo and Sardinia. They are also very difficult, but in another way. You must come 100 per cent in mind and be really straight in your legs here.

 

Q:

Mads, congratulations on third – you went well from the start here?

MO:

Yes, it was definitely a good weekend. I struggled a lot three weeks ago [in Poland] but turned it around. I was a bit slow on Friday morning, but since then I caught quite a good rhythm. Okay, I was not able to fight completely at the top, but we managed to keep the pressure for the podium and in the end we are here. It’s a nice result and a good comeback.

 

Q:

You had a pre-event test, that was important?

MO:

Yeah for sure, it was the key. I’m very pleased we were able to give that back to the team. When we are pushing together it pays off. Everybody is very happy.

 

Q:

Did you have more pace to give or didn’t you want to take the risk?

MO:

I didn’t make the perfect stage all weekend. I tried many, many times and was close, but the final little touch was so difficult some times. I tried too hard in some stages, but I was a bit over the edge. I didn’t want to destroy anything, I wanted the points and I tried to be a bit clever. I wanted to be fast and to manage this very well and when the rain came I decided to be clever. I knew I had to bring some confidence from this rally onto the tarmac, which is a big challenge for me.

 

Q:

You seemed to enjoy yourself…

MO:

It’s been one of those rallies where you really enjoy every bit. I said so many times, I don’t know any other way to say we have fun. Even on the stages when I try to slow down to secure the position, blah, blah, blah, I just couldn't really do it – I was having so much fun!

 

Q:

Does this result help for next year?

MO:

Obviously it helps. I don’t want to stop and I don't think I should when I’m third in the championship, but it’s important to continue to perform.

 

Q:

Jonas, did you enjoy it?

JA:

It was a fantastic weekend. The conditions have been very, very good. I enjoyed every metre of it. On the second Jukojarvi, in the rain, it was not so good. Apart from that, it was great. This was a really good weekend and everybody in the team has done an amazing job, the car and the performance has been great.

 

Q:

What’s your preparation for Germany like?

JA:

We have some testing, then me and Mads do our preparation and hopefully we can be as well prepared as this event. It’s not an easy event for us, but we will push on to make a good performance in three weeks.

 

Q:

Jost, how do you feel about the team performance?

JC:

This team result, one-two in Finland, is something we can all dream about and go for. Everybody has seen the drive, the performance of our four boys. We are very proud of them but also the sporting behaviour and how they respect each other, which is even better than their driving skills. Their behaviour is a role model and it makes Volkswagen around the world very proud.

 

Q:

What do you think of this rally?

JC:

We have said 1000 times this rally is the rally. Everything is perfect. It starts with the organisation and the location of the service park – the whole town is close to the service park. The stages are quite close and look at the number of fans and the behaviour of the fans and security of the event. I think this is the role model for the WRC and a big thanks to the organisers for year after year perfection.

 

Q:

Volkswagen has been dominant in the championship, but your home event has been tough to crack. Will you do anything different going home for the next round?

JC:

Yes, very different. The guys promised my boss we will [win] this year, once it’s done I can go back to the holiday! We had some bad luck last year and it can happen again, we are happy to face it again and we will do our best and be well prepared.

 

FIA WRC 2 CHAMPIONSHIP

 

Present:

1st - Esapekka Lappi, Skoda Motorsport

1st - Janne Ferm, Skoda Motorsport

 

Q: 

Esapekka congratulations, you’ve had a great event, how do you feel?

EL:

This is the happpiest man in the room for sure. Everything went like we planned as it did in Poland. The only target was to push on Friday, see how it goes. The others couldn’t match the speed, so we cruise to the finish. Okay, not cruise, but enjoyed…

 

Q:

Were you flat-out?

EL:

Not in my opninion. It’s difficult to judge, I don’t know. I feel I can push more on many corners, it’s quite difficult to do the perfect stage.

 

Q:

How much did you pull back the pace?

EL:

You can ask the co-driver. Yesterday we wanted to control it. In the Surkee stage on both runs we were fastest, but I know this stage quite well from the past. On the others we lost one or we won one second to Pontus [Tidemand], just keeping the same speed as our team-mate. I think this is bad for his mentallity...

 

Q:

This is a good confidence boost though?

EL:

This one can be quite good for the standings. This one we know we are strong, but in Germany, this is not the strongest race for me. That will be the debut in WRC 2 on tarmac with our new car. We show our pace, we don’t know what to expect to be honest.

 

Q:

How will you prepare for Germany?

EL:

I’m not going to tell you. Last week we tested with one day in the vineyards and one day in Baumholder. I’m ready for the challenge now, we take two weeks holiday, stay at home.

 

Q:

Esapekka, you told me you have a secret to your preparation, will you share that with us now?

EL:

I never told you I would tell you! I will continue to do it if it’s working. So I will continue, but I will not tell you.

 

Q:

Janne what is it?

JF:

No idea…

 

Q:

That’s all you will be asked for the rest of your career…

JF:

Excellent.

 

Q:

How do you feel?

JF:

Thank you, first of all. There are no words to describe what this means… bloody good!

 

Q:

What was it like as an experience?

JF:

Good question! I knew we could do well, especially on Friday – those stages we knew quite well and we were able to make the gap. After that, we follow the drivers lead, we avoid the rocks on Saturday and stay on the safe side. Friday, bloody hell it was brilliant to be sitting at his side.

 

Q (from Lappi):

How hard did we push?

JF:

99.2% approximately…

 

Q:

There were emotional scenes at the finish from you, Janne?

JF:

It was the first time I screamed in a car!

 

Q:

Esapekka, can you confirm that?

EL:

Yes, yes, but I was not sure it he was scared or what?

 

 

FIA WRC 3 CHAMPIONSHIP / FIA JUNIOR WRC CHAMPIONSHIP

 

1st - Quentin Gilbert

1st - Renaud Jamoul

 

Q:

Quentin, you had quite a dramatic end to the event. Going into the final stage you only had a 2.4 second difference, but you came through and won by 0.5s. How do you feel?

QG:

Now, quite good. It’s a diffcult weekend, we had quite good pressure from [Henri] Haapamaki. He had a puncture at the beginning and lost two and a half minutes, but at the finish we have 0.5 seconds – it’s enough. It was the perfect weekend for us – the car was very, very perfect and also just at the last check he [Jamoul] did a little mistake, but that happens at the rally. I did the mistake also, but that happens. No, I am very, very happy.

 

Q:

You had 12 seconds going into the last stage, but then the penalty came and you only had 2.4 seconds – you must have driven your socks off?

QG:

Yes, before the stage there was a bit of tension, but we decided to push. We prefered to finish second and take 18 points than take zero. The stage was very good driving, there were no mistakes no big moments at the finish, that’s good.

 

Q:

How do you rate this win?

QG:

It’s my best win ever because it’s a win in Finland, which is a very specific and unique rally, it’s a mythical rally. It’s fantastic and I am very happy for that.

 

Q:

What was it like waiting at the end of the stage to see if you had won?

QG:

I was very nervous. It’s normal, it was very tight. I remember it was a long time after we finish!
 

Q:

This means more points for the championship…

QG:

For sure, for the championship it’s good. I don’t know the gap, but for sure it was a good operation and it’s good for us.

 

Q:

Renaud, there was a lot of drama on the final stage. What happened?

RJ:

A big mistake, it never happen to me in my life. I was sure I checked the time and check in was at 26. At 24 I take the card and saw: “Oh shit, it’s 24!” I told him: “Go, go, go!” We were two seconds too late. It was a big mistake, but thanks to Quentin, he deleted my mistake. I have to thank him – I am the happiest man alive. The rally is never finsihed before the end, in the last stage we only have 2.4 seconds, but we secured second for the championship. I asked him: “What do you want to do?” We decided let’s try to drive, but with not so much risk and we did it.

 

Q:

What was it like waiting at the end?

RJ:

At the stop point, I knew if the girls wrote 09, it’s okay, 08 and it’s closer, 09 it’s okay!

 

Q:

And the rest of rally?

RJ:

Good. It proves he can manage the race. We led by 30 seconds, then we calculated we have to stay ahead of him [Haapamaki] and not lose more than 0.5 per kilometre. We lost a lot in the rain, it was really difficult. But it was all on plan, but I made it a bit more exciting. I don’t want to do that any more!