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Finland - Pre-event press conference

You stated at the final press conference in Bulgaria that when you took victory here in 2008 you did so with many risks and you weren't prepared to do that this time. Do you still feel the same now that you are here?

SL:
Not really. What I know is that it's more important to go on Saturday with some points. On the other side, I'm sure there will be lots of drivers fighting, so I will have to push. I don't know. For the moment, I will try and push and drive like I feel, then we see how it goes.

Q:
We will see a new manufacturer enter into the 2011 season, as Mini has announced their participation this week. What do you think of the news?

SL:
Sure, it's good news. Today there are only two manufacturers and we need some more. This is one confirmed and that's really good. I hope they will be working well to be at the level, it should be okay. It will be very interesting.

Q:
Mikko, last year you took victory here in what was a great season for you and the team. This year hasn't quite gone to plan though. What has changed and can the team get back on track?

Mikko Hirvonen:
I am sure I have to blame myself a little bit as well. The year started well in Sweden, but I made mistakes myself in New Zealand, Turkey and Jordan; maybe I was trying too hard to win everything. It didn't work out and part of this was my own fault. I struggled in Mexico and in Bulgaria. But we have been working really hard and the team has done a great job to get back.

Q:
Mathematically both the Drivers' and Manufacturers' Championships are still alive – realistically what is your evaluation?

MH:
Well, the drivers' title I don't really feel anything about that any more. If we are really lucky, something can happen. I am more concentrating on my speed rally by rally. In the manufacturers', we are still definitely aiming for that and me and Jari-Matti [Latvala] are both trying to win that back for Ford. Sure, it's going to be a lot of work, but we're still fighting for that.

Q:
Ford has talked about 'strengthening the ranks' to compete with Citroën; how does this make you feel, and what can be done?

MH:
Well, the best thing that could happen is more teams in rallying, with more places to think about it. With Mini coming in at mid-point next year, maybe it's going in that direction and it would be exactly what happens.

Q:
Mikko, what a week for you – you're 30 on Saturday, does that mean more pressure?

MH:
It's my last chance to do it when I'm still young! One year more. They say you are only 30 once in life, hopefully I can record it with victory in Finland.

Q:
Is there more pressure on you for this rally given that it is your home event?

MH:
It's not really pressure; I am just more excited to defend the win from last year. I am confident we should be able to fight for it and I will do all I can to defend it. I'm sure other people will try to take it away, but we will do all we can to keep it in Finland.

Q:
Kimi, your pace on the tarmac of Bulgaria was impressive; accident aside were you pleased with your pace there?

Kimi Raikkonen:



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