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Rally Italia Sardegna - Pre-event press conference

Rally Italia Sardegna pre-event press conference with Petter Solberg, Mikko Hirvonen, Ott Tanak and Chris Atkinson

Drivers: Petter Solberg (Ford WRT), Mikko Hirvonen (Citroen Total WRT),Ott Tanak (M-Sport Ford WRT) and Chris Atkinson (WRC Team MINI Portugal).


Press conference



Q:
Petter, big news this week with Ford announcing the withdrawal of its title sponsorship from the WRC. What did you think when you heard the news?

Petter Solberg:
I had heard some rumours about it but still it's hard to believe after Malcolm [Wilson] has run Ford for 17 years. I must say that all the work he had done and the effort he put in the background, it's a big, big thing and everybody knows the impact it has on the sport. I'm very sorry for the team, for Malcolm and everybody, but Malcolm is a tough guy and he will know how to turn it around. There are a lot of good people in the team so for sure they'll find a solution for the future.

Q:
What does it mean for you and your hopes of a drive next season? What are your options?

Petter Solberg:
I have a plan A, B and C. For sure it is going to be a little bit different Championship next year if Loeb is not doing anything – if he's not changing his mind – so you never know. We have to wait now and see if we can have anything ready before Spain.

Q:
Do you feel positive about it?

Petter Solberg:
I hope so!

Q:
Let's turn to this event and what your hopes are for the two last rounds with Ford this year?

Petter Solberg:
The car improved a lot all year. It's still not perfect, maybe there are still some details to improve but the car is very, very fast now. Talking of Sardinia, I love the rally. I won it in 2004 and it's a fantastic place to be especially very, very exciting and with different character on each stage. We hope we'll be fighting for victory for sure. Spain it's another rally, Ford has been very fast there in the past.

Q:
You mentioned your victory here – what's the secret to winning here in Sardinia?

Petter Solberg:
I think Ford will be very good here, the car is working very well in these hard conditions. Loeb is quite relaxed as he won the Championship but he will be on the pace for sure, Mikko is hungry for success as well and I think it will be a very interesting fight. It will be a tough rally and for sure everybody will be on the pace.

Q:
How important is it now to secure good results at the end of the season and in the next two events?

Petter Solberg:
In the next two rallies we have to do everything we can to win, for Ford, Malcolm and the team it would be very, very important. But this has been also the strategy this year, we tried to push to the maximum and fight with Loeb. I wasn't driving for the Championship but I was driving to push. Next year will be different for sure, there will be more strategy driving.

Q:
Mikko, you have finished runner-up on this event the past five times, could this be the time you go out and win?

Mikko Hirvonen:
I'm not sure if it something to brag about, coming second here five times in a row, I've been consistent that's for sure! The Manufactures title has been decided, Sébastien won the Drivers title, so now every driver wants to win these two rallies. I'm hungry to win as well, so for sure it's going to be an exciting weekend and everyone will be pushing very hard.

Q:
You have done something right, but what do you need to do to turn it in a win?

Mikko Hirvonen:
Something right or something wrong, it depends! I don't know exactly, for sure it's a very difficult rally and also very technical with narrow roads but it's still pretty fast. You really have to have confidence and when your car is precise enough you really have to go for it.

Q:
How did you pick your road position for today's stages?

Mikko Hirvonen:



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Chris Atkinson (AUS), Mini John Cooper Works WRC
Chris Atkinson (AUS), Mini John Cooper Works WRC
Ott Tanak (EST), Ford Fiesta WRC, M-Sport World Rally Team
Ott Tanak (EST) Kuldar (EST), Ford Fiesta WRC, M-Sport 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
Petter Solberg (NOR), Ford Fiesta WRC, Ford World Rally Team
Petter Solberg (NOR), Ford Fiesta WRC, Ford World Rally Team

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