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France - Pre-event press conference

4 October 2012


Q:
Sébastien, last week the team announced that you would only take part in a partial season next year, was it a difficult decision to make?

Sebastien Loeb:
Not really, you have to think of everything you've done and what you want to do. I think I have prepared a bit better the end of my rally career this year. We have been negotiating my future with Citroën for quite a long time and I believe it was time to make a decision.

Q:
We know you will start in Monte Carlo, but how many other events will you compete on next year? What is the ideal figure?

Sebastien Loeb:
I don't know how many events I will do next year. I will start in Monte Carlo and finish maybe here in France, I don't have a precise number. The ideal would be … two! Or between four and five… or three!

Q:
Both Manufacturers' and Drivers' Championships could be won here in France, it could be a big weekend for Citroën?

Sebastien Loeb:
Yes it's the same situation that we had two years ago. It's the best memory I have. The target is important and the issue of the rally could be great. There are fans everywhere and it will be a good weekend, hopefully better than last year.

Q:
We have some new stages here in France this year; what are your thoughts?

Sebastien Loeb:
Those new stages are really fast, I like this kind of wide, fast roads with no bumps, I really enjoy that.

Q:
Jari-Matti, tell us about your preparations for this event - I believe you spent some time in a single seater at Le Mans?

Jari-Matti Latvala:
We tried a single seater from the Auto Sport Academy driving a Formula Renault, as did Sébastien Ogier and Mikko Hirvonen. The idea was to see if we could bring things from the circuit to the rally. The challenging difference is that the surface is often changing, as well as the work we do on braking. Single seater is different. I need more practice.

Q:
You have not finished on the podium here before but you secured your best-ever tarmac result in Germany a few weeks ago. Does that give you confidence for this event?

Jari-Matti Latvala:
We had more pressure in Germany because I had not done so well there in the past. Here we have new stages and I like that. I have a good feeling. A podium is always the target, but we are in the home of Citroën and Sébastien Loeb. I think it will be a difficult rally.

Q:
There is a lot of talk about your options for next year; your name has been linked with many manufacturers - what is the plan?

Jari-Matti Latvala:
It's not a secret. My contract with Ford is ending at the end of the year and Ford is committed in rallying until the end of 2013, while Volkswagen has longer commitments. It's not easy to make a decision. I have worked with Ford for many years and would love to see Ford winning the Championship and I have had very happy years with this team. I don't have an answer for the moment. Leaving would be hard but I must consider the opportunities. I don't have any deadline for the moment. Both teams are flexible. I believe I won't make any decision before Sardinia, maybe after Spain? For sure before Monte Carlo!

Q:
Romain, welcome to the WRC! You make your WRC debut here in France. We have seen you compete previously in the French Rally Championship, how long have you had a passion for rallying?

Romain Dumas:
For me to be here is a very big step! I have always driven a Porsche so far and I have done only four rallies in the championship.

Q:
You will compete in a MINI John Cooper Works WRC here in France; did you have time to test it before the event? What do you think of the car?

Romain Dumas:
I have only driven 30 kilometres and that testing was very different from what I know with the Porsche. The MINI has a very good chassis.

Q:
How difficult a process is creating the pace notes for you with your co-driver?

Romain Dumas:
It's the hardest work for me compared to what I do, I have to change all my system of notes. It's my first time here, the notes are difficult to adjust and the new roads have a lot of tricks, it's very challenging.

Q:
What is the hope here in France? What will be your strategy?

Romain Dumas:
My goal is to stay on the road but we all are competitors, I hope to stay on the road and get better and better. On the shakedown I gained so much time lap after lap. We have to be quick straight away with a new car. I really hope to see the finish line. I could do more rallies, we'll see.

Q:
Yvan, you are back at Rallye de France for the third time, this time in a MINI John Cooper Works WRC. How have you prepared for this event?

Yvan Muller:
I am very happy with the MINI, it's easy to drive but sometimes it's hard to go faster. With a four-wheel-drive the technique is very different and to get confidence is not easy. Step by step I will push.

Q:
After three attempts here what are the lessons learned previously that you bring to France this time?

Yvan Muller:
I need to work more on the notes, but for that you need to race more. It's important to go through all the stages. I would love to do more rallies but it takes some time. The French Rally has no clashes with my calendar, so that's okay.

Q:
Dave Wilcock from Prodrive has said that you should be aiming for a top 10 finish, what do you think?

Yvan Muller:
I think it gives me a lot of pressure! The top 10? I would have to be lucky as those guys in front have a lot of experience. I have done eight rallies in 10 years, which is less than what they do in a year. I would be happy to finish in the top 20.

Q:
Sébastien Loeb has mentioned a possible switch to WTCC in the future; do you have any advice for our World Champion?

Yvan Muller:
Yes, let's sign a contract! More seriously, I am very happy to welcome Sébastien in the WTCC it's very good news. We first need to have confirmation of the program; there is still some time yet.


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