30 July 2011
Rally Finland - Post-event press conference
I have had a very good feeling with the car on tarmac, like in Argentina on the asphalt sections. But I have the feeling that I'm sure our Fiesta is better on tarmac than the Focus. The question is, how good the Citroën is and we don't see until Germany. Of course these drivers are good on tarmac. I'm looking forward to it.
What did you think of the new route?
I enjoyed it. This was the best ever remote service in Lahti. It was a great day and great feeling. For me a great rally, a little bit more services would be nice to see.
And, given that you'd found your confidence, a few more stages tonight might have been nice…
We should go into Myhinpaa in the darkness!
Miikka, did you notice a difference to last year's pace; is there any reason why you think your pace wasn't as fast this year?
Yesterday, when the stages were new for everybody, we thought we might be slightly more competitive because of our starting position. It was a little bit better than the guys ahead. We have not done those stages, but we have been on them and certain parts we knew. We thought we might have a chance, but finally we won just a few seconds – not much. Yesterday morning we thought it would be a bit easier, we thought we could make some gap.
Third on the road made a difference this morning?
It was sort of a shock when we first got the splits and we are losing, losing, losing more and more. In the history of this rally in Finland there was no tactics. Last year I don't remember any and we won. The problem this year was that we started to look too much to last year's conditions and now we know last year conditions were extreme and such conditions you don't normally have. In Finland, the temperature goes down in the night and brings moisture to the surface – that's why it's better to be first on the road in the morning.
Sebastien, your fight for the win came to an end after the first stage this afternoon when you picked up a puncture – how and when did that happen?
For sure it's difficult for me to get satisfaction tonight. It's third, but I was in the fight for the victory many times. Maybe we didn't take the right tactics yesterday night, but I still had a good chance this afternoon, when it was more dry. But finally, we got this puncture and we got no more chance. I would prefer to lose with a small gap, but to lose behind him (Loeb) is no shame – this morning he was flying, but I am disappointed to finish the rally like that.
Did you hit anything to get the puncture?
It was on a right hairpin, very tight. The other road was destroyed, so many cars passed. There was a big ditch, I was on the line, but maybe I passed where it was bad and I got this puncture.
Is this more disappointing than Mexico?
It's different in Mexico, it was my fault there. But it's difficult to accept when it's not your fault. It's a part of rally. The Championship starts to become difficult for us, but as long as we have a chance with the points and it's mathematically possible, we will try. We will not give up. There are three tarmac events coming and we are sure our team-mate will be hard to follow, but we will try to do our best. We try to follow him the best we can.
How does it feel to be third?
It's disappointing. Finland is not like the other rallies. This is a mentally strong rally, so we can be quite happy to be at the end and to improve our experience on this rally. But I don't feel good.
It must help to know that you were right on the pace?
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