Drivers / co-drivers: Sebastien Loeb
and Daniel Elena (Citroen Total WRT), Mikko Hirvonen
and Jarmo Lehtinen (Ford Abu Dhabi WRT), Petter Solberg
and Chris Patterson (PSWRT)
Sven Smeets (Citroen Total WRT).
Congratulations on your second win of the season! It is your fourth win here in Sardinia, how does it compare to the other wins here in terms of toughness?
For sure, it was the first time that we drove first on the road all the time, with finally a victory at the end. I didn't believe at the start of the rally that I could do it like this. I didn't know what would happen after the first day, I expected the others to be just behind me and pushing me on Saturday, finally we saw on Friday after Petter's little problem and Mikko's problem that we were leading, and that it wasn't a bad lead, so we saw that we were not in a position to make any strategy, we had to push, and that's what we did all weekend.
The pace has been incredible this weekend, have you been able to ease your speed at all or were you constantly one hundred per cent?
In the middle of today's third stage I thought okay, now it's not bad. I saw in the splits that I was two seconds slower than Mikko but I had a 24 second lead, so I said okay, now I can take it a little bit easy and lose a little bit of time, and it's what I did. Before that we were pushing very hard all the time.
You picked up another point on the Power Stage, was the goal to get maximum points or did you not want to push too much?
To be honest when I saw the time of Jari-Matti (Latvala), which was the first time we had, I said we won't get three points! Then I saw that Mikko started even faster than Jari-Matti, I was only 13 seconds in front of him so I still had to have a very good rhythm, that helped me to keep pushing. I was feeling well, I made a little mistake in a hairpin and I nearly stalled because I was in second gear instead of first. It's a bit stupid, I lost maybe one or two seconds on that but except for that the feeling was good and so I took one point. I did not want to take big risks for that.
Sébastien mentioned one mistake, it seems you had a practically perfect weekend. Was that the only mistake?
This weekend was hard for everybody because this race is very technical. The first day is complicated because it was completely new and we had a big moment on stage two, a long crest flat, the pace note said keep left, he missed it and landed in a ditch on the right, that was the big moment for the weekend. It's a good race, technical, slippery, but not easy.
Was it distracting to see many cars on the side of the road, especially Friday?
I remember we passed one hairpin right and after we saw ten cars, Sébastien told me it must be a car cemetery!
Mikko, second position! How many times have you have been runner-up in this event?
It's five times now; obviously I just cannot win here!
You did win the Power Stage, those are good points…
Yes, I am really happy with the result and the pace we had this weekend, it's not too bad at all.
A few problems for you though, what happened?
We had just one problem, a puncture - that was my own mistake, who knows what we could have done without it. I made a mistake and I got a puncture, with that I'm happy that we still managed to be second and get some really good points.
Just seven points short of the lead of the Championship as we head to Argentina, are you happy to be returning there?
It's nice to do rallies now, I'm very happy with the car and with the pace, like I said. Who knows what's going to happen in the next rallies, but I'm pleased with what we have done and we must wait to see what we can do in the next rallies.
You won the Power Stage and took maximum points there. What was it like to drive through this stage?