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Acropolis Rally - Post-event press conference

It was really great to be back on speed – of course I had some doubts. The boys were doing 500km in Argentina and I missed those. I did some [pace note] practice with Miikka in Finland, and luckily we had the test, but of course we had doubts. It was great to see the speed was there. Everything was looking good, but the mistake on Friday was quite an expensive mistake for me. It had been raining overnight and it was in a very muddy section. On a 90-left before the junction, I was feeling for braking and it felt alright, then it locked and stalled. I felt I could steer, but when the engine wasn't running, I couldn't steer. I saw a tree coming, a small tree, but I also saw an open area to the side and thought: “Okay, go there.” I got the engine running and went there. After that, Sébastien was in the lead. After that, in Bauxites and Drossohori, stages five and six, I was struggling with uphill, it was not treating me so well. We got closer towards the end of the day, I think it was six seconds at the end of the day.

Q:
Was it wise to push so hard?

Jari-Matti Latvala:
Yes. We had a great fight. I was concerned on Saturday. I knew Seb would have his espresso and be very motivated to drive. I managed to keep the battle on – I had some very good stages, but then we went to the afternoon. Obviously, I could take the second place, but if we want – as a team – to get closer to Citroën and I want the Drivers' title, then I have to go for the win. You can't play safe if you want to be World Champion. I know I am far away on the points, and I did a mistake. This is the element where Seb is very, very strong – he doesn't do the mistake. You need to bear this in mind for the future; do the attack, but think about it a little bit. I ran a little wide and got the puncture and then brake problems. That's the Acropolis, we push on the limit and these things can happen.

Q:
So, you need a more Seb-like approach?

Jari-Matti Latvala:
With my background, it's all or nothing! To be at the same level takes time, at least I am going in that direction, but, yes, it would be good.

Q:
The team need a win, what can be changed to make that happen?

Jari-Matti Latvala:
I think we have been leading all the rallies this year. We have a lot of stage wins – Power Stages and qualifying stages, but if you look to the results, Citroën leads by 70 points and I am 70 behind in the Drivers' Championship. What do we do different? We have the speed, that is not in doubt. The guys have done a lot of work with the car and it's very reliable, but when you attack the risk level is going higher. How much we take the risks? We need the result – like I said, you can't play the safe cards. We need to win, second and third is not going to help us in the Championship fight.

Q:
Miikka, how do you feel?

Miikka Anttila:
Think about the positive things: on this rally we were fighting until mid-day Saturday – the longest we have been in the rally so far. Maybe by the end of the year we can be there Sunday afternoon!

Q:
But it was a fantastic fight…

Miikka Anttila:
Like Daniel said, this was like Rally Finland. On Saturday morning Malcolm [Wilson, Principal, Ford World Rally Team] said Yves [Citroën Total World Rally Team Principal] was saying that the speed is too high, Sébastien and Daniel - you didn't follow his advice…

Sebastien Loeb:
It was not Yves who said that. Malcolm came to me and told me it was too fast!

Q:
Yves, was it you or Malcolm?

Yves Matton:
I think it was both! The speed was very high, but we never asked anybody to go slowly.

Q:
It's been a great weekend, though, with the one-two?

Yves Matton:
Yes, yes, a very good weekend. We had a battle for the whole weekend. The drivers did a good job, and the team. When we are at a tempo like this, we need to be right and the work was done before the rally. All of Citroën did a big, big job before the rally.

Q:
What was it like when Sébastien had his puncture?

Yves Matton:
I was very happy not to hear the radio after I see the blue on the screen, this meant it wasn't too important. It was a huge stress in this position. We hope we will see it in green before two minutes and then it was okay.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN), Ford Fiesta RS WRC, Ford World Rally Team
Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN), Ford Fiesta RS WRC, Ford World Rally Team
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN), Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total World Rally Team
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN), 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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