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Rally Italia Sardegna - Post-event press conference

Rally Italia Sardegna post-event press conference with Mikko Hirvonen, Evgeny Novikov, Ott Tanak and Yves Matton
Drivers / co-drivers: Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen (Citroen Total WRT), Evgeny Novikov and Ilka Minor (M-Sport Ford WRT) and Ott Tanak and Kuldar Sikk (M-Sport Ford WRT).

Team principal: Yves Matton (Citroen Total WRT).



Rally Italia Sardegna: Press conference


Q:
Mikko, congratulations on your first win for Citroen this year!

Mikko Hirvonen:
I'm really happy, in a way it feels like I've won my first ever rally. Funnily enough I was a bit nervous after getting to the finish of the Power Stage. It's my first win for Citroen and I've been five times second here, so it's good to finally win the rally.

Q:
You were five times runner-up here in Sardinia and finally you've done it!

Mikko Hirvonen:
Yes, finally! We were speaking with the team before the rally that this was going to be my rally and we won it so everything worked exactly how he hoped it would. I'm really, really happy with the result.

Q:
Why on the second day do you think we saw so many retirements from top drivers?

Mikko Hirvonen:
I don't know, of course it's a very difficult rally and it's so easy to make a mistake here. Even a small mistake – you can very easily hit a rock and damage the car. Maybe it was because all the titles were decided and everybody just wanted to fight for the win. There was some extra push on Thursday evening and Friday morning just to go for the win and maybe that has something to do with it. Luckily it worked for me and - when everybody made a mistake - it was a little bit easier for me and I was able to build a good lead on Evgeny that I didn't have to take any risks. Anyway, it was a long weekend.

Q:
Were you pushing as well or was your strategy a little different?

Mikko Hirvonen:
No, for sure I went flat-out as well but maybe I was just the lucky one and everybody went off before me so that I could take it a little bit more easily.

Q:
Do you now feel you could win in Spain too?

Mikko Hirvonen:
It's possible but even so it's going to be tough. We made good progress on tarmac and hopefully we can improve even more before Spain and be really competitive there. For sure it's not going to be easy but that's the target. We'll see what's going to happen.

Q:
Jarmo, how does it feel to finally sit in the middle [press conference] chair here in Italy?

Jarmo Lehtinen:
We were talking in the car driving up here, how was it possible that we were still smiling after one hour of finishing the last stage, and this smile would not disappear! We decided after the last rally [Rallye de France] that for the next two the only aim would have been the victory and raise the level for next year.

Q:
There might have been only 16 kilometres but Gallura is a tough stage? Were you feeling nervous at all?

Jarmo Lehtinen:
Yes, you can't believe how long eight kilometres can be – it's a really long way to go.

Q:
Spain is the next event, are you feeling confident?

Jarmo Lehtinen:
Yes, I'm quite confident. The first day on gravel is really nice and I like the stages in Spain a lot, for me the stages on tarmac are the best of the season. I'm really looking forward to it – it's a proper Tarmac rally, no cutting corners and clean tarmac everywhere.

Q:
Evgeny, congratulations on second position overall here in Italy. This is your second podium of the year. A good feeling?

Evgeny Novikov:
It was a great weekend for us. I turned 22 years old last month and now I can celebrate it as I scored two podiums in second place so it's perfect!

Q:
You've had a very consistent season this year; did you ever imagine to get second on such a tough event?

Evgeny Novikov:


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Ott Tanak (EST) Kuldar (EST), Ford Fiesta WRC, M-Sport World Rally Team
Ott Tanak (EST), Ford Fiesta WRC, M-Sport World Rally Team
Evgeny Novikov (RUS) Dmitry Chumak (RUS), Ford Fiesta WRC
Evgeny Novikov (RUS) Dmitry Chumak (RUS), Ford Fiesta WRC
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN), Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total World Rally Team
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN), Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total World Rally Team
Ott Tanak (EST) Kuldar (EST), Ford Fiesta WRC, M-Sport World Rally Team
Evgeny Novikov (RUS) Ilka Minor, Ford Fiesta WRC
Podium, Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN), Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total World Rally Team

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