Nasser Al Attiyah (Subaru Impreza N14) and Martin Semerad (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX)
Nasser we see you return to the PWRC for another season, but you have a new co-driver this time around; Giovanni Bernacchini, who sat alongside Gigi Galli, will be with you. How's it going?
Nasser Al Attiyah:
Yes, actually I am so happy to be back to the PWRC this year. I signed for three years with new sponsors in Qatar and I made a good deal with Giovanni. I am so happy with the way it has turned out. We won last week in the Kuwait Rally – this was the first win with him.
You have an incredible amount of experience at the Troodos Rally, winning it six times, the most recent just last year. Parts of stages in that event are covered here – do you feel you have a distinct advantage over the rest of the field?
Yes, actually I have a lot of experience for this race. We know what we need to do to win this race. It is more about the driver and the co-driver. Speed means nothing. You need to keep the car in one piece all the way. The first day will be tarmac, but it is the same for everybody.
Last year was maybe one to forget in PWRC, with only one event completed – can you turn that around this year?
I hope it will be a good year. We improved the car a lot. It is much better. Last year we had a few problems. We have been working a lot with the N15. It is quite good. We tested last week and we won the race in Kuwait. I hope it will be a good race for all the drivers.
The last time we saw you on the top step of the podium was back in Greece in 2006 – can you change that statistic this weekend?
Yes, actually we came here because I want to win this race. It will not be easy. But I think we have a good chance. We have a good car and a good team. It is possible.
Martin, you are the youngest driver in the PWRC this year but you are, of course, also the winner of the Pirelli Star Driver competition which gave you part funding for this year. You have found extra funding to make it a full season – what do you think you can achieve in 2009?
Well it's amazing and all new for us. I hope we are going to gain as much experience as we can. That is the goal for the year. Even though we made troubles in Norway, we are on our game and finished that race. We want to improve and keep going this way.
We saw you in Norway - it was your first PWRC event, what did you think?