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Rally of Great Britain: Rally Reactions

25 October 2009

Sebastien Loeb [Citroen Total WRT]:

"There were so much pressure right up to the end of the rally. We had a good start to the year, but then encountered a few problems. However, we got back on top of things just before this rally. Finally, we've managed to win the title again, on the penultimate stage. Mikko didn't give up and I had to push right to the finish. It's never easy to compare one title with another, but I think this is the best one in terms of the sporting battle we had. When you win a title with three rallies to go, the pressure isn't the same because you've always got another opportunity to do it. This was the final rally and we couldn't afford to get it wrong. Everybody expected us to win, but I can tell you that nothing was certain until we reached the finish. That's why it means so much to us."

"There was no room for error. I'm absolutely delighted to win this world title, which is one of the most rewarding of my career as we had to fight so hard for it. Despite the very tough conditions, the car and the tyres performed perfectly, allowing me to take the fight all the way to the finish."


Mikko Hirvonen [BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT]:

"I'm frustrated to lose by so little, but happy I was able to fight for the title with a six-time world champion until one stage from the end of the season. The year turned round for us in the second half and nobody will forget such an exciting end. After the first two stages this morning I thought I could do it, but the time I lost yesterday morning cost me in the end. I scored 11 podiums in 12 rounds, but I needed more wins. My challenge is to beat Loeb before he retires. I've learned a lot this year and I will come back stronger and better next year."


Daniel Sordo [Citroen Total WRT]:

"When we got to within nine tenths of Mikko in the penultimate stage, we told ourselves we had to give it a go and we pushed to the limit. We believed we could do it, but he managed to hold out. I'm satisfied with a third-place finish in the championship, and that I made a real contribution to Citroen's success. We've had another very good season."


Petter Solberg [Citroen Junior Team]:

"I am very pleased with the result here. The car worked good, and considering I didn't test in wet conditions, the weekend has been fantastic. I've been improving the whole weekend, and we had some really fast splits at the end. I want to thank Citroën for giving me this opportunity, and my fantastic team for their effort. It was too bad we were so unlucky yesterday, and I tried really hard today to beat Sordo, but it just wasn't enough."


Henning Solberg [Stobart VK M-Sport Ford WRT]:

"Once again the weather conditions have made this a very tough rally. The first day was the hardest for me as it was really difficult to concentrate with the engine misfire. But we put that behind us and had a good run on the rest of the rally and I was happy with most of the times we were setting. Apart from Day 1, the car has worked well and felt very nice to drive. I tried my best throughout the weekend and it's special to finish the season with a top-five finish. Now I hope I can be in the championship next year too."


Matthew Wilson [Stobart VK M-Sport Ford WRT]:

"Friday was a very frustrating day because we lost a lot of time with the traction problem. The guys did a fantastic job with the car on Friday night, though, and it was great to drive for the rest of the rally. It would have been nice to get a top-five finish because that's what I was aiming for before the rally started, but I am happy with sixth. Conditions were very difficult, especially with the rain that made it really challenging. I've secured seventh in the championship and that's very positive."

[On 2010] "We still don't know fully about next year but hopefully we will be back and will keep the momentum from this year to improve even more. Potentially we could have had a few better results this year but overall it's been a good year. Just a shame I couldn't have driven better on this, my home event."


Jari-Matti Latvala [BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT]:

"It was a character-building weekend. I had some technical issues and made a mistake today. At a little jump right at the finish I ended up off the road. Thankfully the British fans are as good as the Finns and they got us back on the road quickly. My driving wasn't as good as I hoped here. I came here hoping to fight for victory but it wasn't to be. It was a hard season and now I want to forget rallying for a while, concentrate on other things and then get my mind ready for 2010."


Conrad Rautenbach [Citroen Junior Team]:

"It's good to end the year with an extra point. We got to the end of a really difficult event by driving consistently and not making any mistakes. It's a good result and I'm hoping for more of the same next season."


Eyvind Brynildsen [Skoda Fabia S2000]: [P-WRC winner]

"What a weekend! Finally! It has been the best weekend of all my life. Everything is just perfect and I am so so happy. I have no idea what 2010 brings but I hope this rally and my success in Spain proves my potential - but it all depends on the money."


Martin Prokop [Mitsubishi Lancer Evo]: [P-WRC runner-up]

"This year [the PWRC] has not been very good for us. I lost some motivation after Argentina but for sure I would like to stay in WRC in 2010. Oh, and the eggs haven't smashed in the back of the car!"


Steve Perez [Stobart VK M-Sport Ford WRT]:

"It has been a really exciting rally. We have been trying so hard the whole way around and on the penultimate stage we passed Aaron Burkart who had gone off, so then we really had to push on the last stage to hold him off. It's a good result, but a shame that we missed the top ten by 20 seconds. I am really happy with how it went. It's just a case of pushing yourself on a WRC event because you are competing against the best and they really make you raise your game."


Aaron Burkart [Citroen Junior Team]:

"It was good fun but on the second to last stage we were behind Ogier for 2km and we could not overtake. I was quite angry and I lost concentration. We got stuck off the road and lost four minutes trying to get the car out of the mud. I really enjoyed myself throughout this rally though and I'd like to thank Citroën for giving me the chance to drive the C4 WRC alongside the best drivers in the world. I've learnt a lot from all of the team during this great experience."


Toshi Arai [Subaru Impreza]: [P-WRC third placed finisher]

"We had difficult conditions but for us it was not easy to carry the speed. We find many problems with the car and I need to improve my driving style."


Khalid Al Qassimi [BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT]:

"I am very pleased with our form over the past two days in Wales. We were unlucky with the problem with our driveshaft on Friday but we battled hard over the past few days in what are the hardest conditions I have driven in. It has been a long season – we have performed well and improved a lot. It has been our best year yet and I'm really happy with our overall performance."





Notable retirements:

Sebastien Ogier [Citroen Junior Team]: [retired on day 3 in SS15 – suspension, had been running in a comfortable fifth]

"We went off about two kilometres into [the penultimate] stage. I think one of the cars in front may have hit a bank and bought some rocks onto the track. I couldn't go around them and that's it, rally over."





Team principals:

Frédéric Banzet [director of Automobiles Citroën]:

"Three weeks after winning the Manufacturers' title, we've rounded off this extraordinary season with the Drivers' title, too. We'd got it back to five titles each, but now Seb's slipped back ahead with his sixth! We're pleased to have the best team, and best driver and co-driver, in the WRC. Rallying is fits perfectly with Citroën' strategy; it's an integral part of the brand's DNA. Motor sport is important, and particularly when you win - and that's what we've achieved again this year."


Malcolm Wilson [BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT - team director]:

"Mikko deserves enormous credit for fighting his way back into the championship battle with four consecutive wins when the title looked all but over in the summer. He missed out by just one point against possibly the best driver the sport has ever seen and he will leave here stronger for that. His consistency has been remarkable and he was the only top driver not to make a mistake this season. The way he has matured and stepped up his pace this season makes me look forward to 2010."


Gerard Quinn [Ford motorsport chief]:

"I would like to congratulate Sébastien on his world title. He and Mikko provided the championship with a thrilling battle and it's a shame there could only be one winner. We're disappointed for Mikko and Jarmo, but equally we're delighted at the progress they have made this season and the way they have taken the challenge to Loeb. Mikko will learn from this weekend and we're already looking forward to renewing rivalries again on the opening round of the 2010 season in Sweden in February."


Benoit Nogier [Citroen Junior Team – manager]:

"We've got three cars to the finish today. Only Sébastien Ogier is missing, but we cannot hold that against him after everything he has achieved this season. What happened was neither a driving error nor a mistake with the notes: just a trap that is easy to fall into in these tricky conditions. Sébastien and Julien have once more shown us what they are capable of and we would like to congratulate them on their successful season. We're very proud of Conrad Rautenbach's rally. He's made a lot of progress over the last couple of years and he's scored a point on one of the most difficult events of the season. Aaron Burkart has successfully got to the finish of his first event in a WRC car. By accumulating as much experience as possible, he has achieved his objective. The icing on the cake for the Citroën Junior Team was the presence of Petter Solberg in Britain. He showed his talent by fighting for a podium all the way to the finish. We would like to continue this adventure following the solid foundations that we have built this year. We'd like to continue working with Sébastien and other drivers, so it's now down to us to put everything into place so that we can carry on."


Malcolm Wilson [Stobart VK M-Sport Ford WRT - team boss]:

"We've witnessed a very strong finish to the year for the Stobart team on their home event. This was a tough rally and after the problems on the first day, both crews have really got to grips with the conditions. I'm pleased to see Matthew and Scott improving on their home rally and it just demonstrates that his plan and approach is working; this is his best ever championship finish. Henning has done a solid job too and it caps off a great season for the squad."


Andrew Tinkler [Stobart Group - CEO]:

"It's been a great finish to the year for the Stobart team and we've seen some fantastic performances during the season. Matthew's progress has really impressed me during the year and the experience he's gaining is definitely paying dividends now; he's improving year on year and getting closer to the guys at the front. It's been a tough rally but they have done a good job and two top six finishes is a great way to round off the season."


Mario Isola [Pirelli - rally manager]:

"We have witnessed a very exciting battle for the title and we are delighted that our tyres helped give the two protagonists the opportunity to fight for it until the very end of the season. We would like to congratulate Sebastien Loeb, his co-driver Daniel Elena, and Citroen for claiming their second successive world championships using Pirelli tyres. This has been a very closely-fought season, during which our tyres have impressed all the competitors with both their strength and consistent performance - on asphalt and gravel."


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