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Rally Finland - Pre-event press conference

No, I don't really feel any pressure. I have made my mistakes on this rally and all I can do now is try to improve. Everybody expects Finns to fight, but for us it's the same on every rally - we will try to fight for the win. There is no difference for the pressure.

Q:
Tell us about your decision to run 12th on the road...

Mikko Hirvonen:
It was easy for me: I followed Sebastien [Loeb]. He was scratching his head about where to go, but I said: "That's your problem, I'm just going to follow you."

Q:
Can you put pressure on him?

Mikko Hirvonen:
I'll try, but all of these guys will be the same.

Q:
Are you glad to see Ouninpohja back?

Mikko Hirvonen:
It looks good. The only thing is that there are lots of good stages on way to Lahti, I wouldn't mind to do more kilometres over there. We have a lot of road mileage on many rallies, and if we are going down there we might as well do the other stages on the way and enjoy Rally Finland more.

Q:
Chris, welcome back to the WRC. Earlier this year we saw you in Mexico with a Fiesta and now you are nominated with the Citroën DS3 - how did it all come about?

Chris Atkinson:
I was in New Zealand, working on WRC Live with you! Then I was speaking to the team at the end of the rally and they said did I want to do Finland because Nasser [Al-Attiyah] couldn't do it. Okay, this was not a bad option: good car and team on a great rally, so I took the opportunity and grabbed it. Nobody would turn this down. It's really cool. I want to do well here, but that's not easy - we have to fight hard here.

Q:
It is a different car to the one you are driving at the moment in the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship...

Chris Atkinson:
This is a different level. On the first day of the test I had to remind myself of the speed. And then today getting used to qualifying, that's been different as well. I made some mistakes, but we'll get into it – we're not going to be a million miles away.

Q:
What is the biggest challenge on this event?

Chris Atkinson:
Finding the groove for every stage. It is hard to do that when I'm not competing and not testing all the time. But, the feeling was good as soon as I got in the car. It felt good straight away.

Q:
Can you give the other drivers some pressure?

Chris Atkinson:
There is not too much for them to worry about with me. I'm not competing on the full Championship.

Q:
Will we see you again in the DS3 this season? What are your plans for next season?

Chris Atkinson:
There is not many rounds left. I'm focused on the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship right now and I'd like to win that. Next year I'd really like to be back with a full-time [driving] role in the WRC. We're going to try to do that, and hopefully a good result here will help with that.


Questions from the floor and via video link to journalists in Lahti


Q: Reiner Kuhn (Motorsport Aktuell, Switzerland).
Have there been any bets about Ouninpohja?

Mikko Hirvonen:
No. I have not thought about it.

Petter Solberg:
They talk about it all the time in the recce!

Q:
Would you like a WRC round in Russia?

Petter Solberg:
Give us proper roads, a good atmosphere and a well organised rally and we will be there. If they want a rally we will be there.

Q:
How is it to compete on your home roads?

Mikko Hirvonen:
It is a great feeling being in an area which you know. I have been spectating here when I was a kid. It is always been a dream to drive, and now I have done it many times, but it is always fantastic. It is always nice to drive in front of friends and family.

Q:
Do you agree it would be good to have new stages near the Lahti area?

Petter Solberg:



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Mads Ostberg (NOR), Ford Fiesta RS WRC, M-Sport Stobart Ford World Rally Team
Chris Atkinson wins the Brakes Direct International Rally of Queensland - and takes the Pacific Cup for the second year running
Petter Solberg (NOR) Chris Patterson (GBR) Ford Fiesta RS WRC
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN) Ford Fiesta RS WRC

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