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Wales Rally GB - Pre-event press conference

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.

Q:
How would you assess your performance within the team on the limited events you have done?

KM:
To be honest I am probably where I want to be right now. Of course you always want to be further ahead than you are, you know? I have come into the WRC at this stage in my career – I have always chased to get a drive here, and to be honest what makes it a little bit difficult is that I don't have the experience to do what I know I can do. We are now in a generation of drivers who have had two past recces. Back in the mid-1990s it was open recces and these guys here have been recceing two passes every year and it just takes one or two years to get everything under your belt and gain the knowledge. I have to be a little bit patient, but we have shown the speed when we have had to and we have had one mistake that can happen when you climb the ladder. But generally I am very happy and everyone has been surprised by the speed of the car but now we just hope that everything is in place to continue the development and push forward.

Q:
What's the most difficult aspect of the rally for you this year?

KM:
I think reading the grip is a challenge for everyone here. The surface always looks the same colour and then all of a sudden the grip will disappear from you when there's some mud beneath the surface or something. So reading the surface is the biggest challenge, but then of course so is the weather. We've seen on the recce that fog can play a good part on the rally – I had to make my notes in Hafren in fog and I'm a little bit apprehensive heading in there. But we got enough practice in Spain of not being able to see where we are going, so we should be fine.

Q:
What about next year for you and the MINI WRC team?

KM:
As the plan was set out at the beginning of the year, this year was six rallies and we're at the end of that and we want to move forward into next year and the end target was to be competitive for 2013 to mount a Championship challenge, so next year the development will continue and we can carry on improving the car. I know the engineers have a long list of areas they want to get their teeth into the development so hopefully we can push that into next year.

Q:
Petter, the final event of the season; is it true that you didn't have the budget to able to compete here originally?

Petter Solberg:
It was decided before the rally to not do this event, but we had a meeting with the team and a chat with the sponsors and we came up with some more money so we are here now. Sometimes you have to say 'stop', but we got everything together and we are very pleased to be here.

Q:
What is the plan for this event for you? Do you feel that you can try to win?

PS:
Well, I think like Mikko says the first stage is quite tricky and I don't want to do anything wrong there. I would like to go for a big push on this rally and we'll see how we go. I know the rally well and I like the conditions and we were fighting properly in the top last year with Seb [Loeb] so I think… let's see! I will start fast and go hard.

Q:
And what about next year Petter? Is there anything you can tell us of your plans?

PS:
I have nothing done yet so we just wait and see. It's hard work but we will see. A lot of things can happen in the next week and a half and if it doesn't go, it doesn't go. We have to accept how the sport is - it's very difficult for many others also so we have to be realistic. We will find a solution as to which direction I take. I will not stop driving though, but in what way I don't know yet.

Q:
Would it be possible to run the 'Petter Solberg World Rally Team' again next year or is it not possible?

PS:
We are looking into every option and it's tough for many of the manufacturers too! We will see. We have a different choice of other motorsports so we have re-think properly after this rally and we will find out. My passion for rallying is still there, that's not the problem, but we have to be realistic and see in the next one and a half weeks.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Petter Solberg (NOR) Chris Patterson (GBR), Citroen DS3 WRC, Petter Solberg Rallying
Kris Meeke (GB),  Mini John Cooper Works, MINI WRC TEAM
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN), Ford Fiesta RS WRC, BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Sebastien Loeb (FRA), Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total World Rally Team
Sebastien Loeb (FRA), Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total World Rally Team
Sebastien Loeb (FRA), Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total World Rally Team

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