WRC » 13 November 2011
Wales Rally GB - Post-event press conference
Wales Rally GB post-event press conference with Jari-Matti Latvala, Mads Ostberg, Henning Solberg and Malcolm Wilson.
Drivers / co-drivers: Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila (Ford Abu Dhabi WRT), Mads Ostberg and Jonas Andersson (M-Sport Stobart Ford WRT) and Henning Solberg and Ilka Minor (M-Sport Stobart Ford WRT).
Team principal: Malcolm Wilson (Ford Abu Dhabi WRT).
Jari-Matti congratulations on the fifth win of your career and your first this year! Is it a good feeling to be back on that top step?
Miikka was calculating that it is over 15 months, so it is a long period. Honestly, it's been a difficult year for me. Okay, in previous seasons I have made mistakes, I have been going off the road. But now I was able to keep it on the road but losing by so small margins, and that is like killing you inside. When you go 0.2 seconds in Jordan and 8 seconds in Finland, your home territory, so at some point you think it is starting to look like you are not going to win anything this year and it's going to give me even more pressure for next year. This victory opens the box for 10 times to do this rally before I can win it!
After your team-mate Mikko Hirvonen retired the team were looking to you to go out and win against Sébastien Loeb. This morning things were not going quite right, there were a few mistakes creeping in. Why was that?
The rally started well in the Great Orme stage, then on the forest stages I was a little bit behind Mikko and Loeb, but when Mikko retired I realised then the situation was that we need to get something for the team at least. I got the spirit – I want to fight back and I want to get something from this rally now. I had been waiting for victories for a long time so I wanted to fight for that. I started and it was really hard. Yesterday morning when I saw on the Hafren stage I was ahead of Loeb by over five seconds I started to push, maybe a little bit too much. It was really my fault; I went on top of the mud and got worried I was carrying too much speed. It was a medium, medium combination of corners and a 9-left and I was worried that I couldn't turn for the next left hander, so I saw an access road so I went straight to the access road. I had to reverse and I lost 10 seconds. Again we were five seconds behind Loeb after that so we needed to start catching him a bit.
This weekend for the team meant a possible drivers' title for Mikko Hirvonen, that didn't happen. What did you think when you heard the news of Loeb's retirement?
We were already putting our helmets on and were just about to start the stage. It was messaged to the car that Loeb had stopped. We thought “what is happening?”. We couldn't understand why he had stopped because he finished the stage. We saw Mads Østberg and he said that Loeb had an accident and said: 'I promise he won't come back!'. It was an easier stage after that!
What does this win mean for you after a difficult season?
It enormously helps for next year. I was really happy when I was awarded with the 'Spirit of the Rally' - it really means a lot to me.
Miikka you said that statistically it is good to have a win every year, what do you think about it?
Yes for sure, I feel relieved. When we look back to the history and you have a bad year and your name is not there… I'm very happy and it is also a good moment at home; I promised that we have to win this rally because it's Father's Day at home now in Finland and I'm now covered!
What would you say has been the most challenging aspect of this weekend?
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