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Sweden - Post-event press conference

10 February 2013

Drivers / co-drivers: Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Motorsport), Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena (Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT) and Mads Ostberg and Jonas Andersson (Qatar M-Sport WRT).

Team principal: Jost Capito (Volkswagen Motorsport).


Press conference.


Q:
Sebastien, congratulations on your first win for the Volkswagen Motorsport team and in dominant fashion here in Sweden. How are you feeling?

Sebastien Ogier:
Really good. Let's say it's amazing. The feeling is better than I expected to be in the top position, after just two races with the car. The feeling was fantastic. I want to congratulate all of the team. Last year was difficult for them like it was me. We test and they spend a lot of hours in the workshop. I am very proud of them and me and Julien. We did the perfect race. I am very happy.

Q:
After a second place in Monte-Carlo just a few weeks ago did you imagine that a win could come so soon?

Sebastien Ogier:
Not really. Monte was the best surprise of the beginning of the season. I had a good feeling on the test and to see on the Monte that we had a good rhythm and we were matching Seb [Loeb] was quite good. But here it was another start with more gravel settings for the snow. And the car is really good, even better than in Monte – I never had such a good car as here. I will never say it was easy, but I could do what I want with the car. Perfect rally.

Q:
You seemed to have a perfect drive all weekend; were there any moments at all?

Sebastien Ogier:
Today it wasn't really a moment, but I pushed a snow bank, which is not good because you can stay stuck. This morning was not easy. This guy on the right [Loeb] was really pushing and going hard. We had to push to stay in contact, we could lose some seconds and we had a lot of fun in the car. I am happy to be at the finish and tonight I'm sure there will be a big celebration.

Q:
Did you feel the pressure?

Sebastien Ogier:
Of course, you are always feeling a bit the pressure, but this usually is a boost for me. Every time I needed to push a bit more and make a time, I was able to do it. Sometimes it was even more difficult to back-off and then I lose more time, so I say I will continue to drive fast. In the end it was the perfect weekend.

Q:
Julien, we are used to hearing a song. Do you have a song for us?

Julien Ingrassia:
I'm afraid to say there is not a song. But there might be some singing tonight!

Q:
Julien, a great and your first with a new team! After all the testing and development what does it mean to you and the team to secure a win so early in the season?

Julien Ingrassia:
It has been three different days with different conditions each time. We did this step-by-step and we knew from the start – and Mr Capito will say – we were not allowed a big mistake. We wanted to bring back some big points. We were here to run and to develop the car and the team. Maybe we are learning how to win. It has been a great job, I cannot say anything better. The perfect job.

Q:
What was the atmosphere like when you drove the car to the service park?

Julien Ingrassia:
It was unbelievable. All of the guys and the women work so much for that, it was unbelievable to be the second crew to win the Nordic event by Latin people. You think about this and this is a great step. We are proud and happy.

Q:
Seb, you came here wanting a win but it just was not possible this weekend, how are you feeling about second position?

Sebastien Loeb:
I feel okay. For sure, everybody knows I prefer to win and when I can win, I do. It didn't start so well in qualifying, we had a bad time. Maybe I was sleeping a bit, I don't know the reason. Maybe I am too old! Finally, okay, we lost a lot of time. After this qualifying, I started to change the set-up. I thought maybe this was the problem, then I went wrong and we struggled in the first day and I lost 30 seconds. When you do this in Sweden and the other guy is [driving] as fast then you cannot catch back the time. It was exciting. I was pushing very hard trying to keep the pressure. I knew I could not take the 30 seconds, but to keep the pressure. But he [Ogier] has done a great race. He didn't lose too much time: a little here and there. We did a good rally, but not enough.

Q:
What happened in qualifying?

Sebastien Loeb:
Maybe I didn't push enough. Just that.

Sebastien Ogier:
The start?

Sebastien Loeb:
Ah yes, the start. For sure I had the bad start. I saw the marshals put the snow in the ruts and I thought: “I am not going to sweep the snow out of the line for the rest of the drivers.” So I started next to the ruts, but I was on the ice and I could not start. Maybe in the stage I was too safe and not aggressive enough.

Q:
You kept the pressure on Ogier almost to the end, how many risks were you taking on the stages to try and catch him?

Sebastien Loeb:
I was on my limit. I pushed really hard and tried my best all the time. I have done some great stages. Some little mistakes. I tried, but it was not possible.

Q:
What's your view, Daniel...

Daniel Elena:
I am very happy. Now it's two years I was pushing the car, and pushing last year, but this year I was not out of the car for pushing and this was very nice! It's a fantastic race for us, especially in the first one this morning. The two Sebs were flying in maximum risks. I have in my brain… six gear and trees. No comment – just fantastic and I'm very happy not to push the car.

Q:
Was it stressful in the car?

Daniel Elena:
When you pass each corner it's a new victory and I'm very happy. The pressure is in each corner. The first one you pass: yes; second one: yes and you expect when you have the mistake. No mistakes this time, thank you Seb.

Q:
Mads, it's third position here in Sweden and a great fight-back after technical problems on Friday morning. You wanted more from this event though - what are your thoughts on the event?

Mads Ostberg:
First of all I'm really glad to be third after Friday morning. We had a pretty bad overheat and we lost all the cooling. We emptied all the water out and we thought that was the end of the rally. After the stage we stopped and found the problem, but didn't know what do. We tried to fix it with some tie-wraps and some tape, then we took our Camelbaks and filled the engine and it seemed to work. We took [lost] some time in SS2 and some penalty after that. And then I struggled to get back to the pace and the rhythm. But, after all that, we fight back well and had a big fight with Jari-Matti [Latvala]. He was good, but we knew we could take him after I found a better set-up and then we were third.

Q:
When you had an issue on Friday morning did you think it was all over?

Mads Ostberg:
I was the guy struggling after the first stage on Friday. I worked really hard to get back to the fighting spirit. The 20-second penalty made it difficult, really after that it was difficult.

Q:
What about the rest of the season?

Mads Ostberg:
I have been too safe, I need to push more. I could see that here, you know we had one small moment. I need to take more risks and I definitely need to increase the risks to keep up with Ogier.

Q:
Do you agree, Jonas?

Jonas Andersson:
To an extent, yes. I would say I'm not too happy learning to drive on snow from two French guys! But it's great to have third place. Like that start, I thought the rally was over, so I am very happy to be here.

Q:
How frustrated were you?

Jonas Andersson:
Very. We struggled to fix it, even when we did we were not sure if this was fixed. We fought back very well.

Q:
Jonas, you are a Swedish co-driver… things have got to change!

Jonas Andersson:
Yes, definitely.

Q:
Jost, the first win for Volkswagen and the Polo R WRC on only the second round of the Championship. Did you think it would come so soon?

Jost Capito:
I had this great dream, which was to sit here with the guys next year! Nobody could expect this. We expect it even less than people outside. We came here to learn, it's the second rally. This is the fantastic result. Normally rallies are up and down, but we had no downs. It was unbelievable.

Q:
Could you imagine such dominance?

Jost Capito:
We all know Sebastien [Ogier] is capable of the pace, but I didn't know he could do it already with the Polo.

Q:
And what about Jari-Matti? Has he impressed you?

Jost Capito:
Yes. He is lacking a lot of mileage. He has to learn to drive and get the settings for himself. We were constantly changing the settings. This was the best way for him to learn that. He had a great day today and got some great confidence.

Q:
What's been reaction to this in Volkswagen HQ?

Jost Capito:
They don't have words for this


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