24 March 2011
Rally de Portugal - Pre-event press conference
Pre-event press conference ahead of the third round of the 2011 WRC in Portugal featuring Sebastian Ogier, Mikko Hirvonen, Daniel Oliveira and Henning Solberg.
Drivers: Sebastien Ogier, (Citroen Total World Rally Team), Mikko Hirvonen (Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team), Daniel Oliveira (Brazil World Rally Team) and Henning Solberg (M-Sport Stobart Ford World Rally Team)
Mikko, you lead the WRC coming into this event, it was important for you that this year got off to good start after last season's disappointments – do you feel it has?
This year it was good to have a really nice start, especially with the new car – it's good for the whole team. l think this is going to be a long year, with a lot of work to do. But, at the moment it's started well, let's keep it up.
We saw you take only one stage win in Mexico, what did you think of your pace during the event?
Of course, there should be more pace, there's no doubt. I was fairly happy on Friday, but on Saturday morning I thought I could match Ogier and Loeb ahead of me, but I couldn't. I had to back off and make the finish and I concentrated on myself to get more speed.
What's your approach to day one here, you're running first on the road…
I can just go as fast as I can and see what the boys do behind me. It didn't look as bad [on the recce] as Mexico on Friday, we'll see how it goes.
You tested before this event, how did it go? I believe you had an off during testing, what happened?
A little bit. Luckily it all happened in the test, all sorts happened to me, actually. Some of it was through me and some of it wasn't. We lost the rear wheel, but didn't lose too much time getting that sorted out. Some of the changes we made to the car worked, some didn't but that's testing. We had a really good test and we are ready for this event.
Lisbon's a long way from Faro; do you think it's worth coming up here for the opening stage?
Yes. It's a long way, but I'm sure it's going to work. Last year we did a demonstration stage in Porto and there were lots of spectators. This is a really nice venue and the weather's beautiful, I'm sure it's going to work.
Sebastien, the final day in Mexico could have been a thrilling battle between yourself and Sebastien Loeb but it ended on the opening stage of the morning when you retired from the event. Was it a result of the pressure being put on you from your team mate?
No. I don't think so. For sure, we were in the battle with Seb and it was very close, but I open the road and we had big disappointment. It's like this in rally, I didn't score points in Mexico and that's a big shame. There's nothing to change, we had a good feeling in Mexico, we missed a bit of luck, but it's going to be okay.
Are we going to see that sort of battle for the rest of the year, without any team orders?
Tagged as: m-sport , Ford , Mikko Hirvonen , Sebastien Ogier , press conference , Portugal , Stobart , Henning Solberg , Citroën , Ogier , MINI , Oliveira , Daniel Oliveira , Brazil World Rally Team
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