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Rally New Zealand - Post-event press conference

I was very fast for sure – maybe the fastest of the rally, but Jari-Matti is now an example of consistency. So I made a mistake in the morning; that was the big mistake of the day. A bit too fast – a bit surprised with a lot of grip changing, gravel, no-gravel, gravel and I just lost the car in a narrow right-hander, hit a tree and was stuck there for 30 seconds. Then in the two last stages I went flat-out – taking a lot of risks, just trying. Then I had a spin. Finally I am happy to finish third. I didn't lose so many points in the Championship – it's no so bad. After a rally like this one – it's not so bad!

Q:
Daniel, what was it like in the car with Sebastien yesterday, when those stage times were so amazing –everybody was astonished by the times that were being set.

Daniel Elena:
For me it's more impressive when Sebastien was driving first on the road (Friday). Yesterday was more easy for us because the road cleaning with Ogier. Okay he was pushing very hard – but for me it's more impressive on the first day. But it's impossible to take more time off Sebastien than just lose two seconds, one second and that is more impressive, because of big slides and pushing very hard. Yesterday it was normal driving – okay flat-out. Yesterday it was a perfect day for us, but today – no.

Q:
Malcolm, it's a win for Jari-Matti, but Ford also becomes the most successful manufacturer in rallying history with this win, going ahead of Lancia.

Malcolm Wilson:
It's been a fantastic weekend, especially for Jari-Matti – as he says, no fastest times, which was out of character, as we know with Jari-Matti. But he's had a great start this season, so to get this victory... the timing is crucial. It's really important to us. As you could imagine, that, coupled with breaking the record number of World Championship victories - now 75, it's a really special moment. Of course with first, second and third in the Super 2000 WRC as well, with the Fiesta.

Q:
Mikko Hirvonen has taken fourth position away and good points, but we haven't seen the usual pace from Mikko – he hasn't been fighting up the top end. He had fastest stage times today – what has been wrong with Mikko this weekend?

MW:
I don't know, he's never been 100 per cent happy with his set-up for this event. When he was in a good position to challenge yesterday he got caught out, obviously got wide and spun so lost quite a bit of time, so probably lost a bit of confidence there with that. But knowing Mikko like I do there is no question he will come back, for sure.

Q:
Just talking about Jari-Matti a bit more; last year we saw inconsistency and crashes. This year it has been about consistency and now a win on the board. What on earth did you say to him at the start of the year?

MW:
It was before the end of last year! And then we followed it up with a chat at the start of this year as well...

Q:
His performance here has been something special?

MW:
I think the good thing is he is now appreciating the benefits of putting the consistency in it. There has been no better case for him to look – he can see you can actually win a world rally without setting a fastest time. So I know there is going to be many more victories in the future, that is for sure.

Q:
Jari-Matti, finally, you have a win under your belt in 2010. You still have to be consistent for the team, but obviously you are going to want to get more wins under that belt. Are we going to see the Jari-Matti of old creep back in?

JML:



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Podium Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Ford Focus RS WRC 09
Podium Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Ford Focus RS WRC 09
Podium Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Miikka Antilla (FIN) Ford Focus RS WRC 09
Podium, 1st Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Miikka Antilla (FIN) Ford Focus RS WRC 09, 2nd Sebastien Ogier (F) Julien Ingrassia (F) Citroen C4 WRC, 3rd Sebastian Loeb (F) Daniel Elena (MC) Citroen C4 WRC
Podium Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Ford Focus RS WRC 09

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