7 October 2012
Rallye de France - Post-event press conference
Rallye de France post-event press conference with Sebastien Loeb, Jari-Matti Latvala, Mikko Hirvonen and Yves Matton
Drivers / co-drivers: Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena (Citroen Total WRT), Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila (Ford WRT), and Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen (Citroen Total WRT).
Team principal: Yves Matton (Citroen Total WRT).
Rallye de France: Press conference
Sebastien, huge congratulations on claiming your ninth Drivers' title and World Rally win number 75. Citron claims the Manufacturers title also, and all on home soil. How do you feel?
It couldn't get any better! I have still the memory from two years ago when we won here then – it was the best memory. And now again. On the last few rallies I thought maybe it was possible to do it here, but to do it is something else. When we started the rally a lot of people were saying we would win again… but it's not easy – we had to fight. The conditions were really difficult this morning. It wasn't easy to keep the car on the road, especially in our position when we didn't have to push too hard. When it's finished, it's an incredible moment. In Haguenau, my hometown, it was really a relief and the feeling was incredible!
The amount of spectators this year has been incredible, were you surprised by how many supporters were here?
It feels incredible. The sensation when we drive the road sections was unbelievable. There was one stage which we were using for the first time yesterday, it was people everywhere. We didn't believe a few years ago when we came here for the first time that it would be like this; we knew it would be some people but not like this. The atmosphere is magic.
And this is the final year of true competition after you announced you will retire…
At the moment, I don't think so much to this. At the moment, I think to what we live, we will see next year. I try to enjoy what happens, this is the last one [World Championship] in rally. It's not an easy decision to stop driving like that; a few years I think about it and I know one day that we have to decide. So we decide this year not to continue. For a few rallies, yes, but not the whole season. I needed something else, another challenge. We spoke to Citroen and finally we decided we want to go together in WTCC and this helps me.
There has been some speculation that you might do a selected programme and fight for a tenth title?
You think it's possible with five rallies?
But it's you, Seb…!
The plan is not this. The plan is for Monte Carlo – this is an important rally for me and the team. But when you see the atmosphere when it's like this, it's hard to say we do four [WRC rounds] and not this one, maybe we do this one – to finish my career here would be great.
Daniel, you have achieved so much together; how do you feel after title number nine?
It's a very fantastic feeling. For me it's important for a lot of reasons, for me it's my last year with Sebastien. But I'm very happy that we do Monte Carlo next year, it's important for me too! Seventy-five wins is unbelievable, but now why not 76 or 77 before the end of the year? Now it's possible to drive without pressure, just for pleasure, which is perfect.
Did you ever imagine this was possible?
No, it's impossible. It's just magic and a very big dream. Fifteen years I have been with Sebastien, when he stops I stop, and maybe it's now.
Jari-Matti, second position overall for you which equals your best result on Tarmac. Your pace here has been impressive, do you feel you have improved again on this surface?
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