12 October 2008
Rallye de France: Rally reactions - Day 3.
Sebastien Loeb [Citroen Total WRT]:
"It's been a great rally and our Citroen C4 WRC was perfect. Winning here in Corsica is always a great moment and it's a magnificent event. For us, it's 10 more championship points."
"It would obviously have been more enjoyable if we had had a fight on our hands, but there's nothing I can do about that. It's not me you need to ask what our opponents will have to do to beat us on this event! Winning your home event is always something special. Our tactic this weekend was to pull gradually clear to begin with, then hopefully control from in front. We were helped by our C4 which was both competitive and reliable, while the set-up we chose for this rally enabled us to benefit from the full potential of our Pirelli tyres. We are unbeaten this year on asphalt and we have pulled further clear at the top of the championship standings. The weekend could have been worse!"
[Speaking in the mid-morning break] "The first two stages went well. The main thing was to stay concentrated, so I preferred to push quite hard, but without taking any risks. We were first on the road, so the conditions were clean, and that meant we had less chance of coming across a rock in the middle of the stage. Contesting these two classics in the opposite direction wasn't a problem. However, I must admit that when I heard that our closest rival for the 2008 Drivers' title was in trouble on SS13, the thought that we could perhaps wrap up the championship here in Corsica did pass my mind... but in the end he was able to continue."
Mikko Hirvonen [BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT]:
"I really appreciate what Jari-Matti and François did to help my title challenge. There was a lot of broken asphalt in these stages and I saw a pothole in the distance about 4km after the start. I decided to drive over it – sometimes you do and sometimes you don't – but unfortunately the impact broke the wheel rim and allowed the air to escape from the front right tyre. I could have avoided it by driving around the hole so it was my mistake. I had to stop and change the tyre. There's still a chance to win the title and I will do all I can on the final two rounds in Japan and Britain. I'm really pleased with my speed on asphalt and my confidence has improved greatly on this surface both in Spain last week and here."
Francois Duval [BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT]:
"I made no mistakes and a podium is a great result. "My role was to help the team and so it made perfect sense for me to help Mikko here. This was a tough rally and I've had to work hard for third, but that's how I like it. The roads were narrow and difficult but those are the type of stages I enjoy."
Jari-Matti Latvala [Stobart VK M-Sport Ford WRT]:
"I have never enjoyed driving on tarmac so much in my life than this morning, it was absolutely brilliant and it just felt so easy. I really have learnt so much in the last two weeks and now I know that I need to be really precise and not force the car. This is a fantastic result for me here and definitely my best ever on tarmac; I could have been on the podium, but the important thing is to keep Ford in with a chance of becoming champions again. I have had two great results in two weeks and no-one can take that away from me."
Petter Solberg [Subaru WRT]:
"We had a puncture on the final stage of the morning ten kilometres from the end of the stage, and then again in the final stage, so it's disappointing but that's what can happen. I think the first was a slow puncture as both times I didn't hit anything. After that I drove smart, just taking it easy to get to the finish. I knew we didn't have time to stop and change the wheel, and that it would be quicker to just drive to the finish of both stages. We've tried so many things with the car on this rally with different setups, and we have improved areas. That's the problem of not having done any testing though – we make these changes on a rally. Some changes made the car better, some worse, but that's how it goes. I'm happy with my performance on this rally though. We had a couple of punctures, but nobody could say I didn't try! Now we look to Japan and going back to gravel on all new routes. I've never seen the stages before but I look forward to them."
Chris Atkinson [Subaru WRT]:
"We had a good start and we were fighting with Jari-Matti and Petter but then we had a puncture which lost us time. Once we had the puncture and I was down I just took it quite safe and easy. In the end I could have pushed for the last day and a half and I might have beaten Petter after his two punctures, but you can never know that and we might have got a puncture anyway so that's life. It's been a good weekend though as we were on Petter's pace before the puncture yesterday. I've driven a good rally and it's good to get some points. I think Petter and I are pretty close on tarmac at the moment. He's got an extra point or two out of these last two rallies but we've had a little bit of bad luck. I think we're both pushing quite hard and that's good for my driving still."
Urmo Aava [PH Sport-Citroen C4 WRC]:
"It's been a good weekend apart from a few technical troubles that we had on Friday. We didn't push at all today, the goal was to keep seventh place."
Matthew Wilson [Stobart VK M-Sport Ford WRT]:
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