Acropolis Rally - Pre-event press conference

We tested before Argentina, about four weeks ago. We had a good test, no problems at all. I picked a different suspension on that test and on the test and this morning I was convinced it was good. But the time was not so good – so I need to go back to how it was.

What set-up do you run here?

The same as in Sardinia, Jordan and Argentina. I tried something new. It felt good in the test, but it was not necessarily working in the stages.

One of the decisions to come from the World Motor Sport Council was to make shakedown qualifying for road position selection; this could prove interesting.

It's good that during the rally you will take tactics away. During the shakedown this will be more interesting for the fans and television – but it is also more work for the drivers. You might see more tactics on that day: you want to go as low as possible with the car and take the weight out to maximise the chance. It will be a more intensive day. I think it will be good.

Sebastien, what do you think?

It's a good move. Everybody will start every rally with equal chances. It doesn't matter if you are the young driver in the first event, or if you are only doing a few rallies in a year, at the start of the rally everybody will start with the same chances as the leader. There will also be no tactics in the race, that's good.

The temperatures here are maybe the hottest of the year. I believe you have already had some 'heat' training after competing last weekend? What incredibly hot country were you in?

It starts with an F, it's Finland! Last week, we had plus 33 degrees in Finland. I did a round of the Finnish National Championship; I was driving the zero car, which was a Ford Escort with a BDA engine. The exhaust ran under the driver's side, with no protection under the floor. It felt like my shoes were burning against the pedals. There was no roof vent like the modern cars and we couldn't open the windows because the dust would come in. It felt like proper training for this rally, but it was good fun.

Mads, you got off to a strong start in Sweden this year taking second place overall, you have yet to get onto the podium again, have you been frustrated by that?

Mads Ostberg:
I think it's quite difficult, we need to get a little bit quicker again. We have had some problems on the events since Sweden and I have not been quick enough. I need more time in the car and I need to get a bit quicker.

How do you do that? How do you avoid the first day of the rally being a test for you?

In Sardinia, on that event, we were closest to the top five after Sweden. We need to do the same as there. We did some changes to the car which helped and some changes to the pace notes which also helped. It's difficult on this rally, though, as my co-driver's bag was stolen. The bag had the pace notes in and now we have to make new notes for all the stages. Okay, a lot of the stages are the same, but it's not optimal. I had hoped to come back here on my old notes and give it a push. But now we have to come back and go sensibly in the first run and then go flat out on the second run through.


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sebastien Loeb (FRA), Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total World Rally Team
Mads Ostberg (NOR) Jonas Andersson (SUE), Ford Fiesta RS WRC, M-Sport Stobart Ford World Rally Team
Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Ford Fiesta RS WRC, BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN), Citroen DS3 WRC, ICE 1 Racing
Sebastien Loeb (FRA), Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total World Rally Team

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