1 August 2012
Rally Finland - Pre-event press conference
Rally Finland pre-event press conference with Mads Ostberg, Petter Solberg, Mikko Hirvonen and Chris Atkinson.
Drivers: Mads Ostberg (Adapta WRT), Petter Solberg (Ford WRT), Mikko Hirvonen (Citroen Total WRT) and Chris Atkinson (Qatar WRT).
Mads, it has been a busy off season for you, competing and winning Rally Estonia and testing. You had an accident at shakedown of Rally Bohemia where you injured your back - is it okay now?
I'm fully fit. I feel very well now. No problems. It was quite painful when it happened, last week it was much better, nothing in the test or shakedown today. We did some big jumps, but nothing.
You won Rally Estonia, how similar are the roads to Finland and has it put you into the mind-set for this event?
It was a good test. The surface is lot looser in Estonia, but the character of the roads is very much the same. There are crests and jumps - it is very similar on that. Okay we need to do some small changes after the test, but just minor ones.
You have talked about breaking into the 'big five' in terms of the top WRC drivers, do you feel you are making progress in that regard?
I am closer than I have ever been. On a lot of rallies, we have ended up in good positions then slowed down to secure the position rather than fight for the higher position. In the second half of this year we want to fight for the higher positions, we need to show more speed and we're going to start that on this event.
Should these guys be worried about you?
No, I just drive as quick as I can - they do the same and hopefully we can fight for the top positions. Nobody needs to worry. The roads here are enough to worry about!
There were some issues with funding earlier this year, are you now secure for the year ahead?
It looked quite good before I started crashing three events ago. I had two crashes: one in the Norwegian Championship and one in Bohemia. It is not cheap to have crashes, they take quite a lot of budget. It is looking difficult now, but we are looking hard to find the money. We want to deliver on the rest of the events. It is not 100 per cent, but it is looking positive.
Is a podium realistic for you here?
I think so, with the optimal rally. I like these type of roads and we have been quick here before. We were able to fight last year; Mikko caught us after his mistake, but our times were close to Petter on the last day. I hope we can be there from the start and fight with all of these guys and some others from the service park.
Petter, second half of the season is now here. What is the plan from you and from Ford?
Tagged as: Ford , Mikko Hirvonen , Chris Atkinson , press conference , Petter Solberg , Finland , Rally Finland , Citroën , Qatar , Atkinson , Ostberg , Adapta , Mads Ostberg
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