Pre-event press conference - Rally GB

Petter Solberg, Sébastien Loeb, Mikko Hirvonen and Matthew Wilson discuss their pre-Rally GB chances - and what the future holds...
Drivers: Petter Solberg (Citroën Junior Team), Sébastien Loeb (Citroën Total World Rally Team), Mikko Hirvonen (BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team) and Matthew Wilson (Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team)

Petter, before we talk about this event let's look back to Spain because it was the first time you competed with the Citroën C4 and you proclaimed that 'you were back'. I take it from that you were happy with the car's performance?

Petter Solberg:
It's nice to be in a car where everything is new and everything works like it should. So yes, I am here to fight.

You have really left your mark on this event, winning it four times previously. Do you believe that you have the right machinery to win it now?

The car is working good, and I hope I don't need eight stages to be properly into the rhythm like in Spain, but it works good and the feeling in the wet and muddy conditions today was good. I hope to fight with these guys tomorrow. I think they have their own plan to attack so I have to be awake tomorrow morning, that's for sure.

You have tested ahead of this event; how did it go?

The stages are very good out there. It's quite hard and very slippery in places in shakedown. It will be very fast.

And what about Petter Solberg in 2010? We hear many rumours of you heading a two- car team next year? What's the reality?

Well I can tell you exactly like it is: we have almost half of the budget for next year, but if you can't get everything then there is no point to drive. I am looking to fight for the Championship next year and if I can't do that then the guys (sponsors) won't put in the money. It's quite simple. You need support from the manufacturers to have a chance. I was hoping to have it together by now but there is no stress involved and it takes a long time. If there's stress involved then maybe it can happen a little quicker like it did this year. We will see. I have been away from my son for six or seven weeks now and have seen him for just one day – I have been working behind the scenes, I can tell you! I've been trying hard. The plan I have is for my car first of all, and if the second car is a Super 2000 car with another driver it can help everybody's budget and we share the mechanics. It can only help to get two cars, but I think one WRC car is enough!

In 2003 you battled for the Championship title here in Wales and won, it was a final round thriller. This year it's between just Mikko and Sébastien; will we see you battling for the Championship next year?

It's been good this year and I have enjoyed the whole season. But I have to get things together now and push on for next year's Championship. I want something more now for next year and want to battle for the World Championship. Hopefully we can get three or four drivers battling for the Championship instead of just two. If we get everything together we make a big impact next year and will be fighting, definitely.

You have five world titles to your name, winning for the first in 2004. Is the pursuit of the sixth title any different a feeling from the first?

Sébastien Loeb:
For sure it's a different situation from when I won my first Championship title because it was not down to the last rally and it wasn't the same pressure. But OK, it is very exciting to arrive here like this. We have prepared well and the car is OK and the recce has been OK so we will see tomorrow.


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN), Ford Focus RS WRC08, BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team and Sebastien Loeb (FRA), Citroën C4, Citroën Total World Rally Team
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Craig Breen (IRE), Peugeot, FIA ERC [Credit: ERC PR]
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