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Spain - Pre-event press conference

8 November 2012


Drivers: Mads Ostberg (Adapta World Rally Team), Sebastien Loeb (Citroen Total WRT) and Dani Sordo (Prodrive WRC Team).

Team principal: Malcolm Wilson (Ford World Rally Team)



Press conference


Q:
Malcolm, Ford not continuing its sponsorship within the WRC has been big news over the past few weeks. You have said that you [M-Sport] will continue competing - what is the plan for 2013?

Malcolm Wilson:
The plan is to try and stay at the highest possible level. I can't tell you anything at the moment, there are a lot of negotiations going on, but we are realistic and hopeful of going on – but I can't divulge anything.

Q:
There's a lot of speculation that you are talking to Qatar?

Malcolm Wilson:
There's no question we are speaking with Qatar along with a lot of people, but we're not in a position to confirm anything.

Q:
In terms of driver line-up, what is your plan?

Malcolm Wilson:
There's no question, when you're in this job you want the best drivers for the best job; now with no disrespect to the drivers, this is not my priority at the moment. I need to get the team in a place to be competitive and then we'll look to get the best possible drivers in place.

Q:
How confident are you of getting sponsorship?

Malcolm Wilson:
Good question and I can't answer.

Q:
There's a challenge ahead?

Malcolm Wilson:
This is always a big challenge, but this is bigger than before.

Q:
You and Ford have been intrinsically linked over the years, what are your best memories?

Malcolm Wilson:
There are so many; we talked about them last night [at Ford's media function]. The fact that, when we got the contract, we had 18 staff and 76 days before Monte Carlo, but we then ended up taking 100-odd people to Monte 76 days later. Like any business, we have made mistakes along the way, but when we got the victory in Greece [1997] with Carlos [Sainz] and Juha [Kankkunen] and I had to implement team orders - that was a new challenge. There were some great highlights: when Colin [McRae] won on the Safari [1999] on only the third event in the Focus, and then when we took the Championship in New Zealand for the first time [2006], that was the icing on the cake. As well as that, I have worked with a lot of young drivers and got them to victory - seeing them progress has been fantastic. There have been so many memories down the 16 years.

Q:
Mads, as we go into the final event of the season, you are in third position in the Championship. It will be a close battle to try and defend it this weekend…

Mads Ostberg:
Well, obviously I will try as hard as possible. I'm not here to secure fourth or fifth, I'm here to fight with Jari-Matti [Latvala] for the third position and we will give everything we can.

Q:
How do you feel about the Tarmac stages?

Mads Ostberg:
The last day in France was quite good, we went well. Before the event I went to Le Mans to do a drive day in single-seater race car. Hopefully this has helped a little bit – I hope to fight on the gravel as well. But to fight with Jari-Matti is hard; if he's in the right mood, and he stays on the road, he is fast.

Q:
Will you risk everything?

Mads Ostberg:
I see no point in not doing it [risking everything]. Either we make it or we are not third anyway. It's worth taking a bit more risk.

Q:
What is the future for next year? It is no secret that you have been linked with M-Sport and Citroën - where will you be?

Mads Ostberg:
We are definitely trying to get the good position for next year and I want to be in a top-level car with a good team and I think it's possible. Nothing is clear yet, this rally is important to show what we can do. We don't know what is happening. We will do our best on this rally and then we hope to do something good next year.

Q:
So, you're focused on the here and now?

Mads Ostberg:
For sure. There's been a lot of talking lately – we need to leave that now and focus on the rally. Next year is some months away, we have plenty of time.

Q:
Sebastien, your final event of a full WRC season and where you have sealed your ninth Championship title. Any regrets?

Sebastien Loeb:
No I didn't change my mind. I am still on the same plan and yes I realise this is the last full season. For sure there will be some rallies next year – so this is not completely the last rally. But this is what I wanted. The decision was not easy, but I am happy at the moment with this decision and I look forward for the future to do some different things. I didn't change my mind.

Q:
So, how many events will we see you on next year? In France you said 'a few', but we now hear that figure may have risen to seven?

Sebastien Loeb:
Maybe it's going to be 12!

Q:
What?

Sebastien Loeb:
I nearly made a decision: it's between three and five – I didn't hear seven, but everything is possible!

Q:
Now you're focusing on this year's rally…

Sebastien Loeb:
This is a rally I won a lot of times but since last year it's more complicated with the gravel day. Before it was full Tarmac and then we have the gravel which makes it not so easy, but we could win. I will try, there is no pressure, we are here for fun – we will push for sure.

Q:
Are you giving any input on who you think the second driver should be? If it were your choice who would it be?

Sebastien Loeb:
I think you will not have any answer from me… I cannot say anything. There is nothing to say.

Q:
If you were picking the driver?

Sebastien Loeb:
I don't pick the drivers!

Q:
Dani, final event of the year for you. Last year you were fourth in the MINI, do you feel you are able to challenge for a win this year?

Dani Sordo:
After my start in France and Germany it could be difficult to fight for the victory, but we are here for the fight. We will see tomorrow. We will go at the maximum and be as high as we can.

Q:
Are you confident?

Dani Sordo:
I feel well. Qualifying went well and I was happy with my driving at shakedown.

Q:
How would you assess a season which has seen you drive for two teams!

Dani Sordo:
This is my second season [with Prodrive WRC Team]. Normally the first season with MINI was like this, but then normally this year we should have two cars and two drivers, but after the people couldn't find the sponsors, it was difficult for everybody. But after this we do as much as we can with the development on the car. It's difficult to compete with the people who are doing this every day, but this is the car and team we have at the moment, so we have to fight with the others.

Q:
Your name has been linked with Prodrive, Citroën and M-Sport for next season - is there anything you can tell us about next season?

Dani Sordo:
It's difficult, but I try to fix the future as soon as possible. But for now I want to focus on the rally.

Q:
Do you want a full season next year?

Dani Sordo:
I want the testing, the car and I want to fight for the victory.


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