Rally Argentina - Pre-event press conference

Pre-event press conference ahead of the sixth round of the 2011 WRC in Argentina featuring Mikko Hirvonen, Sebastien Ogier, Federico Villagra and Matthew Wilson.

Drivers: Mikko Hirvonen (Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team), Sebastien Ogier (Citroen Total World Rally Team), Federico Villagra (Munchi's Ford World Rally Team) and Matthew Wilson (Stobart M-Sport Ford Rally Team).

Press conference

Mikko, second in the Championship and we come to Argentina, a rally which you have never won before. Could you possibly take a win here this weekend?

Mikko Hirvonen:
Well, that's the aim, but we'll see what happens. For sure it has been a very close fight with the Citroen boys and with Jari-Matti (Latvala) and Petter (Solberg) as well, everything needs to really work out the best if we want to win the rally. We have a good pace, but you never know.

There have been some changes to the route this year, with a very long stage on Sunday morning. Also, we have stages which include tarmac, with El Condor with the biggest tarmac section at the end of the stage. Are these changes for the better do you think?

Well, I don't know. I'm not the biggest fan of the tarmac sections, especially in this rally. I know there are so many really nice gravel stages around and now we are not using them. I would rather use those nice stages than go to tarmac sections. Some of the tarmac sections are very, very fast. It is not going to be the most enjoyable to go out there with used tyres and with gravel set-up but I am sure it is still going to work out.

You mentioned the tarmac sections are very fast. What kind of tarmac do we have? Is it smooth, is it bumpy? What is it like?

Fast! It is very wide, very smooth, maybe a little bit slippery in places, but very wide and fast and with a lot of crests. It was very difficult to get the pace notes, as we had traffic all the time (during the recce) and you just cannot check your lines properly, you have to be careful.

We saw you win in Sweden, and after that pick up points along the way with some extra ones for winning the Power Stages, but not any other wins since the Swedish event. How could that influence your Championship hopes?

For sure it would help to win rallies. We are close and I think it is a matter of time, although you never know when that is going to happen. We are going to try to win here, as well. I am happy to have scored points and we should keep on doing that because that is the best way to remain in the Championship fight and forget the pressure.

Tell us about the testing you have been doing in Sardinia on tarmac with gravel tyres. What did you learn from that?

It was very good to try that in this new car, a gravel set-up and tyres driving on tarmac. We did not really do many changes to the gravel set-up because here we start the mixed stage on gravel and then move to asphalt. It is one of those things you need to get used to, but at the moment I am feeling more comfortable with the Fiesta on tarmac than I did with the Focus, so hopefully that will pay off during the weekend and we should get a good result on tarmac as well.

Are you happy with the way things are going for you this season?

Yes, I am. Even though we haven't driven the car too much on gravel yet, but I am pleased with our pace.


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Matthew Wilson (GBR), Ford Fiesta RS WRC, M-Sport Stobart Ford World Rally Team
Federico Villagra (RA), Ford Fiesta RS WRC, Munchi`s Ford World Rally Team
Sebastien Ogier (F) Citroen DS3 WRC, Citroen Total World Rally Team
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN), Ford Fiesta RS WRC,  BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team

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