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Rally de Portugal - Post-event press conference

Rally de Portugal post-event press conference with Mikko Hirvonen, Mads Ostberg, Evgeny Novikov and Yves Matton.

Drivers / co-drivers: Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen (Citroen Total WRT), Mads Ostberg and Jonas Andersson (Adapta WRT), Evgeny Novikov and Denis Giraudet (M-Sport Ford WRT).


Team principal: Yves Matton (Citroen Total WRT).


Press conference


Q:
Mikko, congratulations on your first win for the Citroën Total World Rally Team! How are you feeling after the weekend in Portugal?

Mikko Hirvonen:
Relieved the weekend is behind. It was such a difficult start on Friday. Conditions were absolutely horrendous with the fog and rain you could barely see 50 metres. I played it smart, Petter [Solberg] and the boys were a lot faster, but I thought: “If I go faster then I could go off.” And in the end, slowing down paid off.

Q:
What was is like when you saw Sébastien [Loeb] off the road?

Mikko Hirvonen:
It is always a surprise when he makes a mistake. It's rallying, it can happen. It was early, so I knew I had to make the finish. But then Friday didn't help, it was so tough. But I came through that and then I knew the best result for me was the best result for the team. It feels fantastic to win after fighting Citroën so long, but it's also fantastic to win for another team.

Q:
It is rather odd that none of the drivers represented on the podium have stage wins to their name this weekend - how is that?!

Mikko Hirvonen:
We are just so smart!

Q:
Did you feel the pressure on your shoulders after Sébastien Loeb retired on Thursday?

Mikko Hirvonen:
Not so much. I have been in this position a few times. The conditions on Saturday were a lot better which made it easier.

Q:
Was this one of the toughest Rally Portugals you have done?

Mikko Hirvonen:
It was definitely the toughest Portugal I have done. I haven't seen this before. It was so difficult. I remember one year in Argentina when we had similar muddy conditions. You get in the stage and can't see because of the rain and the fog. It was very stressful.

Q:
Jarmo, first win with a new team. How does it feel?

Jarmo Lehtinen:
It's a special moment; the first win for Citroën. Okay, Seb [Loeb] is not here, but he is the big champion and we were quite good to back him up on the first day. I'm happy for the team.

Q:
The weather has played its part this weekend - what has been the most difficult aspect?

Jarmo Lehtinen:
Friday was very difficult. There is no rhythm in the car and you can't see anything. Even the co-driver can make the mistake! But, after that there was no need to push – but then it was even more difficult to concentrate. These last days have felt like a week. It was big relief to reach the finish.

Q:
Mads, you are really stacking up the podiums now – how does this one feel?

Mads Ostberg:
It feels great, I'm just relieved to get to the end. I knew I had to fight with Evgeny Novikov to get back to the second position – but once we were there then it was just a really, really long rally and a fight to stay out of trouble. We held back from the fight then to stay out of trouble. The biggest fight was probably the one not to do any mistakes. Saturday and Sunday were two really long days, but I am happy with what we have done. Friday went really good and I was really happy with the team and Jonas – the performance from everybody was fantastic. For Jonas especially, it was so easy to lose the focus with the notes. It was important to be clear in the fog and he did that well and we did a good day. After that it was all about getting through.

Q:
And you had some issues this morning. Tell us about those.

Mads Ostberg:


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Evgeny Novikov (RUS), Ford Fiesta WRC
Evgeny Novikov (RUS), Ford Fiesta WRC
Mads Ostberg (NOR), Ford Fiesta RS WRC, M-Sport Stobart Ford World Rally Team
Mads Ostberg (NOR), Ford Fiesta RS WRC, M-Sport Stobart Ford World Rally Team
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN), Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total World Rally Team
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN), Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total World Rally Team

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