Drivers / co-drivers: Sebastien Loeb
and Daniel Elena (Citroen Total WRT), Jari-Matti Latvala
and Miikka Anttila (Ford Abu Dhabi WRT) and Sebastien Ogier
and Julien Ingrassia (Citroen Total WRT).
Olivier Quesnel (Citroen Total WRT).
Sebastien, congratulations on win number 66 of your career and your second win in Finland. You battled at the front this weekend; do you feel this is one of your best victories?
For sure, I don't know if it's the best, but it's not far from it. It's an amazing feeling, Finland is always special. It's what I always say, it's the most difficult to win in the season. This year we had a great fight with Seb (Ogier) and Jari-Matti (Latvala) - every stage was very, very fast. Every evening they came behind, but maybe it was a good thing I had to be first on the road. Sometimes it was no problem, sometimes it dried up and there was more gravel. I didn't know if I would win until two or three stages from the end - always we had some hope, but it was big pressure and difficult. Finally, we won and it's a great feeling.
How tough was it today?
Yesterday evening, when I saw the strategy and saw the drivers get in behind me, I was not confident for today. They did not forecast rain and I thought it would be impossible if it was dry. But then it was humid and the condition was good to be first on the road, there was no disadvantage and I tried really hard to take a gap because I was sure it would be tough in the afternoon, with the ruts and the historical rally. I gave everything I could.
You said before the event that winning wasn't the priority here – when did you decide it was?
Yes, for sure I came here with the goal to score good points. I really didn't care if it was the victory. For sure, I wanted to win, but it was important not to lose too many points here. It's not the rally where I feel the best. I didn't take amazing risks, I felt very well in the car. The car was perfect, the balance was really good and I felt better in this car than the C4 last year or the year before. I was able to drive on the limit without the big moments all the time. It went well and like we said, in Finland you need everything to be perfect. I was 100 per cent confident in the notes.
Daniel, what was your perspective on the event – you were first on the road on all three days.
It's not just here we are first on the road, but it's every rally now. When you arrive here it's flat-out and 110 per cent from the first metre to the end. This morning he (Loeb) drove very well. You have to say that he's like wine, he keeps getting better!
The rally ventured south this year to Lahti, what did you think of the revised route?
The speed limit is too slow! If you go fast on the road section, make it 120kph, we can save five hours on the day!
Jari-Matti, it was victory for you last year here but this time you have to settle for the runners-up spot. You didn't seem as comfortable on the stages as last year, how are you feeling at the end of it?
I came to the rally, I wanted to win as the last victory for myself has been a long time. Spring has been frustrating with three bad results, I wanted a good result, but I wasn't relaxed enough – I put too much pressure on my shoulders. Then, when I pushed harder, I was oversteering a lot with the car. I tried different things with the dampers, but finally I saw there was too much pre-load in the rear differential. I changed that and got rid of the understeer and got the confidence. It was an up and down weekend.
You wanted to win, how much of a disappointment is it that you haven't?
It's a bitter disappointment. But, like I said at the finish, the champion is the champion – he (Loeb) is a seven-time World Champion. When you lose to him you are not losing to a bad driver. He has had to be on the limit and we had a good fight with Loeb and Ogier, that's why I can be satisfied.
Germany is next up, how has testing been going on tarmac and do you feel ready for the challenge?