WRC » 27 March 2011
Rally de Portugal - Post-event press conference
Because before that we have done 250 kilometres maybe, and we were quite equal except for the dust. We were fighting on the second, so it's not possible in three or four stages to make the difference like that. We were playing for the team, we [Citroen] lost some points in Mexico and now we have a one and two; it was easy if we didn't make any mistakes.
The Power Stage is a new concept for this year; do you feel it is a good addition to the WRC?
What I would say is that we are not all equal at the start of the Power Stage. Some drivers have more pressure, Seb especially today, for the victory, and me for the second place: I could lose 18 points to try and win three. I would do it if we were out of the classification, even if there is a mistake, it's done and you can come back for the stage. But, I cannot say it's not good: I scored seven points from a possible nine, so for me it's a good stage at the moment.
When you were caught in Mikko's dust, there was a lot of frustration in the car. Sebastien was angry, how did you calm him?
“Angry,” this is not the word. The situation was nasty, but all the time I said to stay calm in the stage. It's the game, when you are training to change the wheel in less than two minutes, it's for that. It's the race. One moment he went to Mikko, and I said: “Calma, calma.” It's the race, but when you fight for the victory and lose this time it's not easy to sit there and it's more difficult to keep the concentration on the car – you are speaking more rather than reading the notes.
Jari-Matti, you have finally completed Rally Portugal! How are you feeling?
I said in the press conference on Friday evening that “I got the monkey away from my heart” – I meant to say “the monkey away from my back”. Now I can relax and relax more in the next rallies. Now I complete the Rally Portugal. I am disappointed things looked even better at some points during this rally. We were fighting with Ogier yesterday, we were 10 seconds behind him, then the problems started. Then we lost the Power Stage to Loeb by 1.7 seconds, it was a little disappointing in the rally, but we are here.
It's your third 'third' position this season; with the driveshaft problems you had yesterday you must be pleased to be on the podium here?
The driveshaft was in the second stage, six kilometres before the end. I heard a friction noise on the rear-right, it was a long-left corner where I heard the noise and then suddenly it stopped completely driving. With the three shafts, when you don't have the centre diff it's quite weird to drive. Honestly, we worked in the road section to increase the pre-load in the diff to get it more easy to drive. And then, by accident, I did not notice one tyre going down. At the start of the stage we had one tyre going down and then in the middle of the stage, I had to change it. Mikko overtook me, then I have to catch him and pass him back. Then he had to stop for Sébastien to pass. It was like the Paris-Dakar Rally with a lot of dust and passing.
You wanted victory in the Power Stage today to gain those extra valuable points. You took two points after finishing second. Were you at your maximum during the stage?
I did some risks, I was pushing hard. I was happy for my driving, maybe I hesitated in some areas in that stage, because I had Petter's split times and thought I was up so much I thought I didn't need to push so hard. Then I saw I was three behind Loeb and I realised I had to push again, but it was too late – I woke up too late! It was not so easy, but I tried. The better man was faster this time.
Miikka, we know the history from you both here in Portugal, it was two years ago that you had that huge accident. How different in approach was it from you guys this time and how much less speed were you carrying?
Two years ago we were at least two gears too high and at that time we only had a five-speed gearbox, so we were far too fast.
You must be relieved to make it to the finish of Rally Portugal?
Tagged as: Ford , Jari-Matti Latvala , Latvala , Sebastien Ogier , Quesnel , press conference , Portugal , Sébastien Loeb , Citroën , Ogier , Rally de Portugal
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