WRC » 09 November 2011
Wales Rally GB - Pre-event press conference
You've said yourself that you have been given a second chance to go for the Championship title. After Finland you thought it was game over in terms of your hopes. What can you do with that second chance? You remember back to 2009 of course, can you take it this weekend? Do you have the fight within you and the car to beat Sebastien Loeb?
I believe so. I'm very confident about this rally. But okay it's maybe not going to be enough even if I win the rally and Power Stage and he's second in both - it's not going to be enough so we'll see. But as I've said, I'm confident about the weekend so all I can do is go flat-out and try to win it and then we'll see what's going to happen.
Tell me what you thought of the stages and tell me more about Great Orme, you said it's a nasty stage to start with, what did you mean?
It's easy to break your car there if you get over excited. With gravel tyres on Tarmac, probably with cold tyres and if it's damp and wet it's going to be slippy in places as well, and a small touch on a kerb and it's easy to destroy your car. You would have to do the whole of Friday morning with a broken car as well. That's why it's going to be tricky and at least on those two stages I'm going to play it a bit safe. But then when we get to the forest, it's all or nothing.
All or nothing, you've said this before "Win it or bin it!”
Well, this is now. It's the last rally of the season so I don't really have any choice any more.
Mikko, 2009 you had a chance but it didn't happen. Now you have another chance to claim the WRC title. What would it mean to you if you could clinch it?
For sure, for all of us it would mean a lot. It is something I have dreamed about for 15 years since I started competing. Now we have a second chance so definitely it would mean a lot for me and many people who have been backing me since the start of my career. I'm sure Sebastien will be taking it easy so I will be risking everything!
Kris, firstly congratulations on picking up WRC drivers points in Spain after winning the Power Stage, was that a good boost to end the rally?
Spain was quite good for us. I went there a lot more relaxed than in France where I was chasing to go as fast as possible. The pace was very good until we made the mistake of course, but yes, Spain we were a lot more relaxed and we just had a better learning curve and we found ourselves in fifth position at the end. The Power Stage, yes, we found ourselves on the right tyres at the right time. It would have been a hollow victory had I been the only one on soft tyres, but to beat Dani [Sordo] in the same car on the same tyres on his home patch was pretty good. But yeah, it was a small bonus at the end of the rally.
The MINI has been strong on Tarmac, what can we expect now that we head into the gravel and mud of Wales?
We have had results beyond our expectations this year on Tarmac. Dani has shown very good speed and was able to fight for the victory in France, but on gravel we don't know and this is as much a question mark for us as everyone else. This event should be more of a level playing field. The first day in Spain was a little bit of a mess for everyone with the dust and everything so it was very difficult to be able to compare. But here everything is equal, with new stages, and we should be able to find out exactly where we are and learn for the future.
What are your thoughts on these new stages? Do you think you will enjoy them?
Personally I love them. I think my first ever stage in a rally car was stage number 4 about 10 years ago, so I don't have any memory of the stages but for sure they are typical Welsh stages – really fast and you have to keep your eyes wide open as everything comes at you very quickly.
How would you assess your performance within the team on the limited events you have done?
Tagged as: Ford , Mikko Hirvonen , Kris Meeke , Meeke , press conference , Petter Solberg , Sébastien Loeb , Citroën , Wales , Wales Rally GB , MINI
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