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Spain - Post-event press conference

11 November 2012

Drivers / co-drivers: Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena (Citroen Total WRT), Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila (Ford WRT), and Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen (Citroen Total WRT).


Team principal: Yves Matton (Citroen Total WRT).



Rally de Espana: Press conference


Q:
Seb, how do you feel at the end of your full-time WRC career?

Sebastien Loeb:
I feel okay. It's the last rally of the season, I really wanted to win it – I won it eight times in a row. I didn't want to lose the last one! For sure, the situation is a bit strange to know that I won nine titles in a row and have now decided to retire. It's strange, but on the other side I know I still have some rallies next year and some more plans with Citroen in some other discipline. I don't feel the career is finished and that I'm old and need to retire. But I feel I need this, to help me when I stop the rally career.

Q:
Will you come to Spain next year?

Sebastien Loeb:
It's not in the plan. If I said yes to every rally, then it's the full season again and this is not the plan. We start with Monte Carlo, Sweden…

Q:
Have you pushed at 100 per cent on this event?

Sebastien Loeb:
It was really a difficult one. Since they put the gravel in it's more difficult and this time with the weather, the first day was really tricky. I was happy to be second and still on the road on Friday. There were one hundred corners where you could go off the road. I was satisfied, but when we came to the tarmac, it wasn't easy. And then today we had some difficult tyre choices – it's been a very difficult rally.

Q:
Have you been able to enjoy this rally?

Sebastien Loeb:
Sure. There was no big pressure and finally at the end we are at the front, but only by seven seconds from Jari-Matti, who was pushing really hard all weekend.

Q:
What's your workload like before the end of the year? You're in Monte, so you have a test coming up but are you able to take a bit of a break?

Sebastien Loeb:
No. Citroen wants to make me work until the end of the season. I do some tests on gravel, I'm not sure why... Until Christmas we have a lot to do.

Q:
Congratulations Daniel, what was this rally like for you?

Daniel Elena:
Sure, today there is a lot of emotion. It's the last time for driving and co-driving for the championship. Next year, it's more about enjoying the race, with no more pressure. But for the last race of the season, it's difficult with the road conditions and the choice of tyres.

Q:
Next year, what plans do you have?

Daniel Elena:
I have a big programme... I drive in two weeks in Rallye de Var - and after my company will continue to help Sebastien Chardonnet. But we also have some tests and rallies. And then I look to the FIA to ask if they want help for the future.

Q:
Jari-Matti, your last event for Ford and Ford's last event, how do you feel?

Jari-Matti Latvala:
We had a very emotional moment at the last service. For five years I drive as a factory team and we have had a great time, a fantastic time. In a way I am disappointed in these years that I couldn't deliver the manufacturers' or drivers' championship. The car was very competitive, but we didn't have the consistency. I would push too hard and then go off the road. I should have learned, but it looks like I am a slow learner – I hope this will come! For the future, of course, I wish M-Sport well.

Q:
Can you work on things for the future?

Jari-Matti Latvala:
I know the weakness areas and I will work on them.

Q:
What areas?

Jari-Matti Latvala:
If I lose time, then I push harder and try to catch back the time and then I go off the road instead of accepting the situation. When I don't have the feeling to drive at the speed, I need to realise this. This afternoon I could push, but it's just doing the limit and then understanding when you have to ease off... it's about when to push hard. It's a difficult situation about knowing when you can push.

Q:
We have seen good times from you on the tarmac here, you must be happy with that?

Jari-Matti Latvala:
I am very happy about that. It was my hope to win on tarmac this year, but I couldn't do it. At least I did win Rallye du Var last year and that has given me a great memory. Now winning the tarmac round is something for the future, I would really like to do this.

Q:
You switch to VW soon, can you tell us when?

Jari-Matti Latvala:
In the coming week, we meet the team and then they have a big testing plan for the end of November and December. We have permission from M-Sport to do the test, but we need confirmation from Ford to do this testing. We are still waiting for confirmation from Ford.

Q:
Miikka, there's been a lot of emotion here...

Miikka Anttila:
It has been a really emotional moment. When we go into the last service and see team principal Malcolm Wilson and his wife Elaine in tears, then it's really emotional and for sure it is emotional for them – it's such a big part of their life. They are doing the WRC programme for Ford and now after this rally, it's finished, of course it is natural that it's emotional.

Q:
What was your best moment?

Miikka Anttila:
All the victories, they are all my favourite moments. Also I remember so well when we went after Rally GB in 2007, we went to M-Sport and Malcolm said: 'Welcome on board, you are part of the future of the team'. They are great memories.

Q:
Third for you Mikko. How do you feel about that result?

Mikko Hirvonen:
It's okay, but I was hoping to be more competitive after France. I hoped we could make a step forward, but I wasn't able to do it – I was always a bit behind. The differences were not big, but when you have long stages, we lost a bit of time. But okay, we were consistent and we made the podium, this is nice.

Q:
Why weren't you quick enough?

Mikko Hirvonen:
I don't know how to brake! Sometimes it's really good, but then in some stages I just can't keep it consistent enough.

Q:
You will be number one at Citroen next year. Are you ready for that?

Mikko Hirvonen:
I feel really, really good. On gravel I am sure I'm ready for the fight. It's going to be quite a different season, with Jari-Matti and Sebastien Ogier in a new team with VW – it's going to be exciting to see the pace of the new car and I'm really happy to be part of such a strong team. I'm going to be ready and I'm really looking forward to it.

Q:
Can you get any tips from Sebastien before he goes?

Mikko Hirvonen:
I'm going to steal his shoes!

Q:
Assess your first season with Citroen for us...

Mikko Hirvonen:
It's been what I expected. I'm never happy until I'm winning. There's still room to improve, but I set some goals and we got them. I wanted to help the team win the manufacturers', we got that and I wanted be as close to Seb on as many rallies as possible and I wanted the gravel pace to be good. As well as this, I feel I have settled well in the team and I'm happy.

Q:
Jarmo, what do you think of your first year with Citroen?

Jarmo Lehtinen:
The preparation has been mostly done for next year. We know the team and the car and we set ourselves targets. The first target was to know the car, the second was to deliver the manufacturers' title and the third was to put Mr Matton in a position where he had to give us the team orders to slow down and we did this on a few rallies. I think we're ready for next year.

Q:
Are you happy with the season?

Jarmo Lehtinen:
Yeah, I'm really happy. Maybe on this one, Wales and Sweden I would like to have been a bit quicker, but that's how it is.

Q:
Yves, look back and describe the season for us...

Yves Matton:
I am proud of the team's season. Everybody from the team did an exceptional season. This was the first time we did one-two in the drivers' championship and we won 10 rallies and the manufacturers' title. It would be difficult to do better than this.

Q:
Can you tell us anything about who will be in that second seat next year?

Yves Matton:
That's a good question... it's the first time somebody has asked me that! We are getting closer and closer. I didn't take the final decision - it will be maybe tonight or maybe next week.

Q:
What drivers? Tell us who you are looking at...

Yves Matton:
We are looking... it is between Mads Ostberg and Dani Sordo.

Q:
Do the results they achieved here make any difference?

Yves Matton:
No, we're not looking at just one rally. We have been in a position to wait until the end of the last rally and we will see.

Q:
Who impressed you most on this rally?

Yves Matton:
Both.


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