3 September 2009
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).
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?
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?
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?
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?
Repco Rally Australia
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