WRC » 9 July 2010
Rally Bulgaria - Pre-event press conference
Drivers: Per-Gunnar Andersson (Stobart M-Sport Ford RT), Petter Solberg (PSWRT) and Kimi Raikkonen (Citroen Junior)
Team principal: Olivier Quesnel (Citroen Total WRT).
P-G, we see you compete with the Stobart team this weekend in a Ford Focus RS WRC 08, how are you feeling about the prospect?
First of all I am happy to be back in the WRC in a WRC car and also in a competitive car. In the past year I was in the Suzuki team and it was a new car and I had to try all things from scratch, but now we have a good base to start from. I'm pretty happy about the handling of the car and the performance. I think it's more up to me to do the right thing and to get the feeling of it and get back into the rhythm of tarmac.
How do you balance things; you want to go fast, you want to impress the team. The team wants you to score points. How do you get that balance right?
I don't try to push and make any top times because I don't have the experience and the speed to set top times on tarmac, but I think it's best to start off at a decent pace and to build up the speed gradually. I don't care so much about the positions, I'm keen to make average-good stage times and not be too far off.
I hear you had a little run-in with a truck on the recce; what happened?
It was fine. It's just yesterday; I met a truck on the wrong side of the road. I didn't manage to escape everything, it was a small dent.
Petter just after Portugal it was announced that your co-driver of 11 years, Phil Mills, would be retiring – was it a shock for you and how did you react?
It is very sad what happened after Portugal, but first of all we have to respect Phil for his decision. If somebody feels he has lost a bit of passion and motivation to do things at 110 per cent then I think the most professional thing to do is stop. I've been with the same guy in the car for 11 years though, and we do have a lot of history. Afterwards I got approximately 45 e-mails and calls from co-drivers from all around the world and I've picked someone from that. It was not easy. We then had a small test with some co-drivers and I ended up with Chris, who I was very impressed with. He did all the right things from the first minute he came.
What kind of things, Petter? What kind of qualities were you looking for?
Well, I was looking for a person with a calm personality, good at writing and delivering pace notes, changing pace notes at high speed. He is very focused and motivated and as long as people have that motivation, I'm working with them. We have done with the testing now and did a lot of runs on the shakedown today and we are getting better and better all the time. I'm quite impressed actually.
You were the fastest at shakedown, so something is working well.
Yes, we are working well together; we've tried a lot of things today. We also tried some different tyres and, yes, I'm very happy – things have been working well.
It's the first tarmac event of the season – how are you feeling ahead of this event?
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