2 November 2008
Rally Japan: Rally reactions - Day 3.
Mikko Hirvonen [BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT]:
"I'm delighted with the win but at the same time disappointed that my hopes of the drivers' title are over. We did all we could but it wasn't enough to prevent Sébastien Loeb winning the title, which he richly deserves, and I congratulate him. Conditions were so changeable that it was a difficult and nervewracking weekend and I never had the luxury of being able to ease off. I didn't want to take risks in the wet weather today. I was aquaplaning many times and had several lucky escapes. Although the drivers' championship is out of reach we will go to the final round with the manufacturers' title still possible and my thoughts will now focus on that."
Jari-Matti Latvala [BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT]:
"It feels fantastic to take a top three finish on gravel again. After a bad August this is my third strong rally and I really wanted this result. The conditions were probably the worst I've seen and I can't explain how much water there was in the forests. We seemed to be aquaplaning all the time. The difficult rallies really suit the Focus RS WRC, which is incredibly strong. We've had no problems during the weekend and when you have to attack in the rough and tough conditions then it's encouraging to know that the car excels on that type of road."
Sebastien Loeb [Citroen Total WRT]:
"It's a fantastic feeling. Along with Daniel and everyone in the team, the objective we set ourselves for this year was to win another world crown, and it's tremendously satisfying to have met that target today. I really wanted to wrap up the title here in Japan to enable us to go into Wales Rally GB with a totally free mind. That made the weekend very long and very frustrating, and I have to say that it wasn't much fun. Our C4 and our Pirelli tyres functioned very well together on this event, though, and we did what we could to keep any thoughts about the championship out of our minds, but it wasn't easy. The title just seemed to loom larger after every stage, and it was well worth the wait in the end!"
"I cannot say whether this year's title is any finer than the others. I will always have special memories of our first crown and I don't want to give the impression that winning is something you get accustomed to; it's just that each title feels different. One thing that has been the same each time is the thrill of being able to share our joy with everyone in the team. They have always given us a car with the potential to challenge for victory, and this is their title, too. That includes Dani Sordo and Marc Martí whose own results contributed to our success. Our thoughts now turn to Cardiff where we will try to make it a championship double for Citroën."
Daniel Elena [Sebastien Loeb's co-driver] [Citroen Total WRT]:
"It's been a long year, but winning the title is such a great feeling. This is our fifth world crown together, and each one has given me tremendous pleasure. I'm not interested in the statistics, though; what counts the most is enjoying the stages, profiting from the terrific atmosphere within the team and working with Seb."
Chris Atkinson [Subaru WRT]:
"The conditions were very tricky today and we just focused on maintaining our place. “There was no need to push for position; we had two minutes behind us and a minute and a half in front after the morning so there was no need to do anything silly, but it was still so easy to make a mistake as it's so slippery with full rain and mud. The top three had no problems, so that's the best we could do. It's been a tricky weekend for everyone as the conditions were really difficult with a lot of rain and a lot of water standing in the road, and even at the pace we were going it was difficult to keep the car on the road. We were aquaplaning everywhere so it's good to get through and to finish the rally."
Per-Gunnar Andersson [Suzuki WRT]:
"I've really enjoyed this event and I hope that we've given all the Suzuki fans here something to remember! The car has been completely reliable and without the time we lost to stop and change a puncture yesterday, I think we could have been even closer to the leaders. This rally shows that all the hard work and development we have put in over the course of the year really works and it is a very encouraging sign for the future. After struggling a bit on the asphalt rallies, my confidence is back to full strength and I am looking forward to a solid season finish now."
Toni Gardemeister [Suzuki WRT]:
"This has been a very tough but a very good rally for us, which has confirmed what I always thought: when we have a nice clean run with no problems, we are able to fight for a good position. I was also really proud to set Suzuki's first fastest stage time on Saturday. Given that we have not even finished our first full year yet and that we have done no testing, it really shows our potential for the future. We head now to the final round of the season in Great Britain with quite a lot of confidence."
Matthew Wilson [Stobart VK M-Sport Ford WRT]:
"The first day went really well for us and I really enjoyed it apart from the incident with François. I think everyone in the whole WRC community did an amazing job to help and support the situation and I hope Patrick gets well soon and will be back on the rallying scene in no time. Days two and three were a lot more difficult for me and I really struggled in the conditions which were some of the toughest and most demanding I have ever experienced. When I knew I was slipping out of the fight with PG and Toni this afternoon I backed off a lot to preserve the car and just cruised to the end to make sure I secured the points and move up to 10th in the championship."
Petter Solberg [Subaru WRT]:
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