10 February 2011
Rally Sweden – Pre-event press conference
Present: Sebastien Loeb (Citroen Total World Rally Team), Jari-Matti Latvala (Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team), Petter Solberg (Petter Solberg World Rally Team), Mads Ostberg (Stobart M-Sport Ford World Rally Team)
Sebastien, a new season, new regulations and most importantly a brand new car. You have tested and been at shakedown this morning – how are you finding the new Citroen DS3 WRC?
At the moment it's okay, for sure. Everybody wants to see a bit how will be the level of the different cars. This morning was okay, the conditions were tricky with a lot of snow. We can't compare this with the shakedown in the previous car. For sure it's more nervous, it's very small and we have to fight more in the car. We try a lot of things in the morning and finally the car is not so bad.
How does this car compare with the C4 WRC?
It is a four-wheel drive car, so it drives the same way. There is a little bit less horsepower and no central diff but you drive the same way. We have to adapt the set-up of the car and our driving style. It's enjoyable, but maybe Sweden with the conditions we have is not the best rally for this little car. I enjoy to drive it – you have to fight a bit more and stay concentrated. But it's not problem.
Snow has been falling all morning around tomorrow's stages, will this fresh fall make being first on the road difficult for you?
It's not a challenge. To have snow like this, you can do what you want and you will lose time being first on the road. I hope it's not too bad, but I expect a difficult first day. It would be nice if it stopped snowing, but it doesn't look like it at the moment.
Are you excited about the start of the new season?
For sure, I am excited. It's a lot of changes in the regulations – all to get some new manufacturers coming. We have MINI and I hope some new ones [manufacturers coming]. The regulation is quite good, it's a reduction of performance and price, it's nice to drive – if we can get some more manufacturers then it can be nice.
And a record eighth title?
Yes, but I have already the record number of titles, so it's no pressure for this. Maybe it's a little early to start talking titles… but my goal is to fight for this. You never know what is coming in the new year.
Jari-Matti, 2010 saw you seal second position in the Championship. The team has announced that you and Mikko [Hirvonen] will be on equal standing this year – does that make a difference to your approach this year?
No, I have not changed my approach from last year so much, if you want to do well, you need consistency, you need to finish the rallies. It is like that. I was improving that way. Our main target is the manufacturers' award this season.
Tell us about the testing that has been done with the Ford Fiesta RS WRC? What do you think of the car?
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