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

Q:
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?

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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.

Q:
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?

MH:
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.

Q:
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?

MH:
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.

Q:
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?

MH:
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.

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

MH:
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.

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

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

Q:
Sebastien, what do you think about the tarmac sections of the stages. Mikko says there are other nicer stages here on gravel. What do you think of the tarmac sections; are you liking them?

Sebastien Ogier:
No, I am not the best fan of these sections. It is so fast, so wide and during the recce the road was open so it is very difficult to estimate the proper rally notes. I think it will be a difficult part of the rally and at the end of the loop we will have destroyed tyres and I think it will be tricky on this part.

Q:
Talk to me about the Road Show in Buenos Aires because we saw the Citroens there and with you and Sebastien Loeb showing all its glory in the centre of Buenos Aires. What was that like as an experience?

SO:
It was nice, there were a lot of fans of motor sport, and especially the rally and it was a very nice show in the centre of the city, especially because we also had live TV.

Q:
Looking back to Italy which was just a couple of weeks ago, you didn't really find a good rhythm in the rally; you didn't seem to be on form at all. Are you feeling you can be more on form here in Argentina?

SO:
Yes, I think we will be better. Italy was not my favourite rally. I knew it before the start and I tried to do my best. But I was not so confident and I preferred to take it a bit easier and at the end I was not able to finish on the podium but I scored points and now I am still in the fight for the Championship. Here the goal is to try to fight for the victory and score more points.

Q:
Did you do a similar gravel/tarmac test?

SO:
Yes, we did a small test, too, just to try to get a feeling, see how the gravel tyres do on tarmac. We saw they wore out very quickly. I hope we have a good drive on tarmac at the end of the loop so we will finish with safe tyres and make it until the finish.

Q:
Did you have any problem at all this morning in the Shakedown stage?

SO:
No, that was okay. The car was good and feeling not so bad.

Q:
Federico, you come to this event on the back of winning a round of the Argentinean Championship last weekend. Is that a good confidence boost?

Federico Villagra:
Yes, of course it gives you some confidence. It was good to win here with a new car. We are very happy being here, it is our home event. We are looking forward to finding our best result of the season in Argentina. We hope everything goes okay.

Q:
From the drives here, you are probably the one who appreciates the most the fact that WRC has returned to Argentina.

FV:
Yes, I can see it from all the people around here and also today in the shakedown, I think the fans really wanted to see WRC cars again here. It is really good to have them back. The people will like it.

Q:
You said you are trying to get the best result of the season here, but we have never seen you on the podium in Argentina. Is there a possibility?

FV:
Yes, possibilities are always there, but I'll need some help, but the chance is there.

Q:
Tell me what you think about the stages this year, the changes in the route, especially that long stage we have on Sunday. Is it an early morning wake-up call for you?

FV:
Yes, it is a really long stage. I think it's going to be good, it's in really good condition right now. With only one pass through that stage it will be okay. So, I think we are going to enjoy driving that stage.

Q:
Tell us about the weather conditions because you have had a really dry summer time in Argentina. What are the conditions like on the stages?

FV:
Some of the stages show there has been a lot of work, but others, as it has been dry, might be really bad in the second pass, I think. I don't think it is going to rain, so the conditions overall could be hard.

Q:
Being a local driver, do you want a good result or to make a good show for the spectators? How much can you balance getting a good result and making a flamboyant drive for the people watching?

FV:
I will try to push as much as I can. I think that is the best show I can do for the people here without making mistakes.

Q:
Matthew, we know all the drivers like to stay in peak fitness for the events, maybe you more than others - you just completed an 81-mile bike challenge. Are you feeling really fit, ready to go?

Matthew Wilson:
Yes, but just the same as for any rally, we are really looking forward to this rally. I can say that is something I enjoy doing now; it is part of my programme. I enjoy it and it is easy. But now our preparation has been really good for here. As Sebastien said, this is a nicer rally than Italy and I feel more confident. We have some good memories from the past, so hopefully it is going to be a good weekend.

Q:
You have competed here many times and scooped you first-ever stage win here back in 2006.

MW:
It hasn't been so good since then and we had a few difficulties here, but in general we have good memories.

Q:
What are the main challenges out there this weekend?

MW:
I think everyone has spoken about it, these tarmac sections are going be quite difficult, not so much on Saturday morning, as I think it is more technical, a little bit twisty, not as quick, but I think the one after El Condor is going to be very, very difficult. And the same thing with the pace notes. We had to make them on the recce with this traffic. Generally, the gravel stages are in really good condition and especially the long stage on Sunday which should be perfect with one pass. And it is nice to be back down at the stages in the south as well because they are very nice stages.

Q:
You have picked up two fifth positions this year. What's the plan for Argentina? How much can you challenge here?

MW:
More of the same I think. Sardinia was a bad rally, one to forget, we had many brake problems. Things were tough on the first day and a half. We would like to be back to what we were doing in Jordan and Portugal, and if we could do that, I would be happy.

Q:
There was some talk at the start of the year that funding may not be in place for the full season, what's the position for that now?

MW:
Our plans go up until Greece so we know definitely we'll be in Greece, which takes us to the middle of the year break if you like, and then we're now working quite hard to get the second half of the year in place and sorted and we are looking at things for next year as well, a few options which look quite good. But at the minute for this second half of the year we don't have anything in place but we're trying very hard to get it sorted.

Q:
Results I guess, will help with that?

MW:
Yes, definitely. That's why we need to try and get two good results now before we break for the summer, and if we can do that it definitely helps the situation going forward and trying to get the people on board for the second part of the year, so hopefully it goes okay and we can try and still be here for the second half.