Pre-event press conference – Australia

Drivers: Mikko Hirvonen (BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team), Sebastien Loeb (Citroen Total World Rally Team), Sebastien Ogier (Citroen Junior Team) and Henning Solberg (Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team).

Press conference.

The last time we were in Australia you took the win, the first win of your career, but the stages here are very different from those in Western Australia. Are there any other events you can compare them too?

Mikko Hirvonen:
Yeah it is very different. And me winning here last time, I don't think it's going to help me at all really. Okay, good memories, but it's a new rally. So we'll see; it's completely different as well. We'll see how it goes on Friday.

There are 35 stages here, the highest number of stages on an event this year. Instead of groups of three stages we have groups of up to seven; what extra challenge does that add?

I think it's going to be okay, I'm not worried that there are so many different stages. There are not so many kilometres, but lots of short stages so I think the difference is between drivers and it can be quite small so I think even a small mistake can cost quite a lot. So there's no room for any small mistakes.

And there's no room for any mistakes for either you or Sébastien in the Championship at the moment.

No it's only three points difference and three rallies to go, so if it's zero points for me or Sébastien, it's virtually championship over. For sure there's no room for that. We still need to go flat out and we still need to fight, so it's going to be another exciting weekend.

The title fight is the closest since you battled with Marcus Grönholm in 2007, is it enjoyable?

Sebastien Loeb:
Yeah for sure it's much more exciting when you have to fight for the Championship and we are only three from the end. We don't know who will win. In 2006 I won without doing the last four rallies, it was a very different situation.

Sébastien, a brand new event for everyone, what is your opinion of the stages here?

There are also some very different stages. We have to find the right set-up for that.

It's been your first season in a WRC car. The first half of the season there were a few ups and downs, but you have been delivering consistent performances during the second half - a podium in Greece and just missing out in Poland. Are you pleased with your performance to date?

Sebastien Ogier:
Yeah for sure it is getting better and better. The start of the year was hard, but now it starts to be good and I hope to continue in this way.

Will we now see you on the remaining rallies this year?

For me I will do all the season, it is perfect for me.

For you as a driver, who do you compare your times against in the WRC to know that you are improving?


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN), Ford Focus RS WRC08, BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Henning Solberg (NOR), Ford Focus RS WRC 08, Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team
Sebastien Ogier (F) Citroen C4 WRC, Citroen Junior Team
Sebastien Loeb (FRA), Citroën C4, Citroën Total World Rally Team
Sebastien Ogier, Volkswagen Motorsport, [Credit: Volkswagen Motorsport]
Thierry Neuville (BEL), Hyundai Motorsport [Credit: Hyundai Motorsport]
Skoda Fabia R 5 (CZE), Skoda motorsport [Credit: Skoda motorsport]
Meeke, Breen, Circuit of Ireland Rally [Credit: Circuit of Ireland Rally]
Kris Meeke [Credit: Crash.net]
Kris Meeke [Credit: Crash.net]
Tanner Foust [Credit: FIA World Rallycross]
RX: Foust [Credit: FIA World Rallycross]
Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm test the new Fabia R5 [Pic credit: Skoda]
Jan Kopecky / Pavel Dresler test the new Fabia R5 in Italy [Pic credit: Skoda]
Kevin Abbring / Seb Marshall. Hyundai Motorsport N. i20 WRC. Rally Sweden [Pic credit: Hyundai]
Kevin Abbring / Seb Marshall. Hyundai Motorsport N. i20 WRC. Rally Sweden [Pic credit: Hyundai]
Kevin Abbring / Seb Marshall. Hyundai Motorsport N. i20 WRC. Rally Sweden [Pic credit: Hyundai]

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