16 June 2011
Acropolis Rally - Pre-event press conference
Pre-event press conference ahead of the seventh round of the 2011 WRC in Greece featuring Sebastien Loeb, Jari-Matti Latvala, Mads Ostberg and Kimi Raikkonen.
Drivers: Sebastien Loeb (Citroen Total WRT), Jari-Matti Latvala (Ford Abu Dhabi WRT), Mads Ostberg (M-Sport Stobart Ford WRT) and Kimi Raikkonen (ICE 1 Racing).
Sebastien, the WRC returns to Greece, are you happy to see this event back on the calendar?
Yes, for sure. I am happy to come back. The stages are quite good and very rough.
This event is renowned for being rough and tough. How rough are the stages this year? How do they compare to previous years?
I don't have a lot of memory, so I don't know! I know some parts are very tricky for the suspension and tyres, but in the past it has also been difficult in some places.
We heard there was some rain on the recce, did this affect you?
We did the recce in the dry.
Is there one day or one stage which is the most difficult on this event?
If it's dry, the first one will be the most difficult – there was a lot of gravel in the recce, but I hope it will be raining. I know it has been raining in the stages, so hopefully it will not be as bad as in the recce.
We have witnessed some incredible battles this year; did you expect this season to be as closely contested?
It's difficult to say, but what we see is that the cars are very similar. Comparing the two cars [Citroen and Ford] is very difficult. The speed is very similar and the fight is very intense. In the past, it was two drivers fighting and now it's five. Even if one [driver] has a problem, there is some more fighting. It's good, and to end with the Power Stage.
The 2012 calendar has been confirmed for next year with Rally Monte Carlo returning to start the season. Are you pleased to see it back and will we see you compete there as part of the Citroen Total World Rally Team?
I have no idea. Like I told you last time I don't know what I will do next year. If I am competing, then I will go to Monte Carlo. If not, I will go as a spectator. But it is one of the magic rallies of the Championship. It's a good move, they [the Automobile Club de Monaco] decided two or three years ago to leave, but now it's a good decision to be back.
Jari-Matti, what's the night stage going to be like?
It's open, wide and fast. At the end it's more technical with some tricky places and a very fast tarmac section in the middle. It's quite okay; the dust will clear because it's quite open. There is a risk for the dust and driving at the night in hot countries as when the temperature goes down there is not so much breeze and this can make the dust stay.
What will it take from you to be able to win here in Greece?
The last couple of events have been tough in that sense. I was leading in Argentina before the problem, in Jordan we also had some problems and in Sardinia we were a bit unlucky with other things - and that was one of my favourite rallies. Sometimes, if you want to win too much, it seems things are not getting together. It's better to drive well, as well as I can. It is best not force it.
Argentina was a rough event, this looks to be even rougher. Are you confident the Fiesta RS WRC will perform well here? How was it during testing?
Tagged as: m-sport , Ford , Kimi Raikkonen , Jari-Matti Latvala , Latvala , press conference , Stobart , Sébastien Loeb , Citroën , Ostberg , Mads Ostberg , ICE 1 Racing , Greece
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