Drivers / co-drivers: Mikko Hirvonen
and Jarmo Lehtinen (Ford Abu Dhabi WRT), Mads Ostberg
and Jonas Andersson (M-Sport Stobart
Ford WRT) and Jari-Matti Latvala
and Miikka Anttila (Ford Abu Dhabi WRT).
Malcolm Wilson (Ford Abu Dhabi WRT)
Mikko the first win of the season and win 13 overall for you makes you Ford's most successful driver, eclipsing Marcus Grönholm's 12 wins. Congratulations, how are you feeling?
Relieved! It's been a while since we managed to win a rally and last season was quite difficult. And even more now because we are starting the season with a completely new car. It feels really good to finally win a rally again.
Tell me about the event itself, especially today when Mads was putting a lot of pressure on you.
He was. He drove really well through the whole weekend. Like every day it has been a bit of a struggle with the road position and you never really know if you should be first car, second car, third car or whatever. Okay, we ended up being the first car for today and the only chance I had was just to go flat-out in the morning. Luckily I managed to take some time out of Mads because he wasn't far behind. I knew the afternoon would be very difficult as it was and we just managed to do it. But I have to say I was really nervous before the start of the last stage. I had enough time not to have to go absolutely flat-out, but only a small mistake and it could have all gone away. It was a big relief in the end that everything went okay.
The first competitive weekend for the Fiesta RS WRC looks to have been a great success, did it match your expectations?
It did yes. Not a single problem the whole weekend. It was a bit cold inside the car but otherwise not one problem at all. I didn't change the set-up at all and it just proved we did a really good job in the tests. Okay Sweden is a little bit of a special rally but the feeling we have here means we are going in the right direction so it's really good.
Jarmo, it has been a whole year since your last win. Did you ever think there would be one again after the problems you had last year?
Yes all the time. I knew it was there but it was kind of a snowball what happened last year. Things started to go wrong and you lose your self confidence and you start to do mistakes pushing too much. It's difficult to change the direction through the season but it's a bit easier now to start with a new car. If we had the Focus still it would have been maybe a little bit more difficult, but with the new Fiesta it's like a clean table to start with.
Mikko said he was nervous before the last stage. Did you feel his nerves at all?
I didn't have time to feel his nerves because I was so nervous! When we left the midday service I knew the afternoon would be really tough for us, really, really hard. I don't remember when I've felt so nervous for a long, long time.
Mads, a fantastic result – your first WRC podium! You led all of day one and yesterday until Mikko took over – it was a close finish today! How are you feeling right now?