Drivers / co-drivers: Sebastien Loeb
and Daniel Elena (Citroen Total WRT), Mikko Hirvonen
and Jarmo Lehtinen (Ford Abu Dhabi WRT) and Sebastien Ogier
and Julien Ingrassia (Citroen Total WRT).
Olivier Quesnel (Citroen Total WRT).
Sebastien, after picking up a one minute penalty on Friday you have come through to seal victory number 65 in your career. Did you imagine that could happen after Friday?
For sure you always can imagine what you want, but after our penalty when we saw the rhythm of all the drivers because we were all fighting the same at the stages I believed that it would not be possible to try to get a victory. So my target was to try to catch the ones in front; it was Mikko at this time and I tried to push as hard as possible from Friday midday to now and I'm really happy to have done this because we won by only two seconds so all the effort we have done yesterday, pushing on the limit all the time, has been paid today. It's a great victory.
How was the opening stage today? How much were you pushing through there?
I started the day pushing but not exactly like yesterday, and the first split I was 1.6 seconds behind Mikko so I said okay, I have to wake up and push hard. Then we had some fog and very difficult conditions. I tried my best but we were always in the same split as Mikko and only at the end of the stage could we make a little difference. It was 48 kilometres which were difficult. It had every condition, hard at the start, wet in the middle, fog for maybe some kilometres, it was a really long, long stage.
When did you think – “I could win this”?
When I knew what his (Ogier's) real problem was, because when I saw his time, for me it was normal, I believed that he was just slowing down a little bit. But then the journalist told me that he had some troubles and that he slowed. Then we knew he had power steering problems and you know 20 seconds without power steering can be possible. Finally, it didn't change anything for me because my fight was with Mikko, so my only way was to push and to see and we did it.
In terms of your Championship challenge this is hugely important!
For sure, for me it is better to win than to be behind because we were on the way to being behind our two biggest rivals for the Championship on this event. So finally we scored more points than them, we took a little bit more of an advantage on Mikko, he is still not far, 13 points, Seb (Ogier) is 30 and we are happy for these results.
Daniel, after the penalty on Friday did you think it would be possible to win here?
I don't want to comment more on this mistake because everybody knows it is a confusing situation. Friday is Friday but now we had a victory.
I'm not asking you about the mistake, I'm asking you how it pushed you on and especially pushed Sébastien on, because we saw some incredible times yesterday from you both.
You know, when Seb is angry he pushes hard. When you have this situation, you have a one minute penalty, you have to push hard to try to catch the others, and when you start to catch you think maybe you can be fourth or third, not to take a victory. But now it is okay.
Tell me what you think of the different structure of this event with the inclusion of tarmac on the stages. A good idea?