WRC » 13 February 2011
Rally Sweden - Post-event press conference
Well I'm just so happy to be here. It's been a very strange weekend for me. We came here to hope for a good result but it turned out to be the best weekend ever just fighting on the top the whole way through the rally. It's difficult to explain but the feeling is just really amazing.
You led the rally all day Friday. What did it feel like to be Mads Ostberg, the rally leader?
Well I didn't really understand it to be honest. I was just here to do my best. We had a very good starting position and we took advantage of that so obviously I was very happy. I knew it would be difficult on Saturday going out first on the road on the longest day of the rally. Okay it was not snowing but the second pass was really difficult so it was a good feeling on Friday and it was quite bad on Saturday.
You seemed quite frustrated yesterday, how did you manage to balance that without pushing too hard?
I don't know to be honest. We discussed it quite a lot inside the car but we just decided to follow what we came here for, and that was just to drive steady and try to follow the lines as much as possible and not push too much. Saturday was probably the best day we did. It was really, really difficult and I was getting a bit angry sometimes in the stages. I tried to push but I had the split times from the cars behind me and I was losing so much time. I was frustrated but I couldn't do anything. We kept it going and I didn't do any mistakes. I was happy to be on the road.
What was the atmosphere like in the car, especially yesterday when you were losing time?
It was kind of clam in a way. I've seen him [Mads] a bit more upset than that. We talked about it after the special stages but he did a really good job. We tried to follow the line. We knew we would lose time but we tried to make it as little as possible.
You've won many times in the Junior World Rally Championship. How does this result compare?
This will beat that all the time!
How does it feel to be the only Swede on the podium on your home event?
Of course, I'm really happy to be here. We had a really good weekend like you said. Like Mikko, we haven't changed anything with the set-up on the car. It's been brilliant all weekend and we've just enjoyed driving.
Jari-Matti, you take away third position overall – you have had some moments along the way but you made it to the podium!
Honestly I have to say I need to be happy because I am here. I have never had so many big moments during the rally. We twice had a massive spin and I've been three-four times on the snow banks and I don't know how I managed to get it back on the road. But when you push the full throttle and you turn the wheels and point it to the road it [the car] comes back when you don't lose your faith basically. It's been too much up and down on this rally. Mornings were very difficult. The afternoons were great but I'm pleased with my position.
You lost time on the opening stage this morning, what happened?
I don't have an answer why it was like that. Okay maybe it was something that when the road was fresh and you don't have complete lines yet, maybe I was trying to go different lines than the others, and I wanted to push even harder and I thought I had like a feeling in many places that in this corner in the Focus I could go flat-out and if it did start to spin it would go straight. But with the Fiesta it doesn't work like that necessarily and that was a problem for me. I was thinking about how I would go in the Focus but this is a different car and maybe that was difficult for me because I had to drive in a different way with this car.
You picked up an extra point on the Power Stage – were you pushing for a win on that for more points?
Before the stage I saw the Citroën guys had brand new tyres on the front, but I had good tyres and I thought I want to do well but not take a big risk. I knew the last two stages had gone well and I wanted to keep going the same. Before the last left-hand corner over a bridge there was a long right-hand corner which should be flat at, but I didn't dare take it flat because there was too much to lose. Maybe I could have improved a little bit but it was good like this.
Jari-Matti said you were lucky to be here but how was the rally from your perspective?
It was a really, really colourful weekend. On Friday we were many times into the snow bank but I think Jari-Matti was very trusting in keeping the faith that the car would come back. Our starting position was not so good on Friday but if you want to make a good result on this rally you have to have the confidence and the commitment in those conditions. I have to say Mads was doing very good work yesterday. It was the longest day and he was the first car on the road but he found the commitment and the confidence.
Malcolm, the perfect start to the season, the perfect start for the Ford Fiesta RS WRC, you must be delighted!
I have to day it is a dream because it's been a very, very difficult sort of last six months. We've never been in this situation before when we've had so much time to test and develop a car. Normally we've built a car, done a few days testing and gone straight to the rally. Of course that was a lot more pressure on the team and everybody involved in the programme. There was a lot of speculation about who would be the quickest and nobody really knew until we came to this event. Shakedown was a big relief, to think we were at least competitive. It was the first notch on the belt shall we say, and of course the performance on day one with Mads and the rest of the guys. Then it was a great job by them again today. To get the first three positions for the Fiesta is a dream but it's a great credit to all of Ford for giving us a great Fiesta, to all the people back at M-Sport and all these guys.
Mikko and Jarmo have said they were both quite nervous but what were the nerves like back at camp?
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