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Acropolis Rally - Pre-event press conference

Acropolis Rally of Greece pre-event press conference with Jari-Matti Latvala, Evgeny Novikov, Mikko Hirvonen and Nasser Al-Attiyah
Drivers: Jari-Matti Latvala (Ford World Rally Team), Evgeny Novikov (M-Sport Ford World Rally Team), Mikko Hirvonen (Citroen Total World Rally Team) and Nasser Al-Attiyah (Qatar World Rally Team).


Press conference

Q:
Jari-Matti, welcome back! You missed Rally Argentina due to injury, how is the recovery going and is it good to be back on the WRC?

Jari-Matti Latvala:
Thank you. It's honestly great to be back. I was following Argentina closely to see how our team and the others were going. It is exciting to follow, but as a driver it was frustrating. It felt like I had been one year away when I got to the recce here.

Q:
Is it possible to aim for victory this weekend or do you feel you will be hampered by your shoulder?

Jari-Matti Latvala:
I have full movement of the shoulder and 90 per cent of the power is back, I can't lift heavy things and I avoid stress elements. I have a 10cm titanium plate and six screws – it should be strong. There will be pain in the compression and jumps, but it should be okay.

Mikko Hirvonen:
You're lucky it's really smooth here…!

Jari-Matti Latvala:
We tested in very hard and rough conditions. If the pain comes it goes as well very quickly. It won't affect the driving.

Mikko Hirvonen:
I didn't ski one metre last winter – that's why I'm okay!

Q:
What are your thoughts on the Drivers' Championship now? Do you believe there is still a chance?

Jari-Matti Latvala:
It doesn't look so good. But as long as you have the chance, you keep fighting. When it does look like I have lost the chance then I need to support Petter [Solberg], as I did last year with Mikko. That's the team spirit and that's what you do, but as long as there is a chance I will fight.

Q:
When do you make that decision; what about this rally?

Jari-Matti Latvala:
We have to see. This is not the rally to go flat out: you have to look after car and tyres. If the speed is not enough, many things can happen. We need to drive and then decide how we go further. If I could make the podium, that would be good.

Q:
Evgeny, back in Portugal you picked up your very first WRC podium. Was that a one off or will we see more podiums from you this year?

Evgeny Novikov:
I hope of course you will see us again – maybe even here. We will do our best.

Q:
Do you think that your approach to rallies has changed, that you are less aggressive in your driving style?

Evgeny Novikov:
Difficult to say. I still have the same style of driving, but I have experience and improved my pace notes: it is quite safe and fast.

Q:
How's the confidence here?

Evgeny Novikov:
I feel confident from the Qualifying Stage, the car feels better than before. Before the speed was more slow, but now we have found the same speed as Sweden or Monte Carlo.

Q:
What will be the biggest challenge of this event for you?

Evgeny Novikov:



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN), Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total World Rally Team
Evgeny Novikov (RUS) Dmitry Chumak (RUS), Ford Fiesta WRC
Nasser Al-Attiyah (QA) Giovanni Bernacchini (ITA), Citroen DS3 WRC
Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Miikka Anttila (FIN), Ford Fiesta RS WRC, Ford World Rally Team

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