15 January 2013
Monte Carlo - Pre-event press conference
I've done one day of testing, which is not a lot, but it's something. I did more than 100 kilometres on a mixed road, which helped me to get used to different behaviour of the car. We had snow at shakedown, which was very positive for me to drive in difficult conditions. I have never been on these tyres in such a light and strong car.
You have had success on this event in the past, winning last year in the PWRC category. What will be the strategy this year?
Last year we had a good race and won the races in the category, this year is more demanding. This year I will follow the other drivers – the guys with more experience. I need to reduce the gap, but first of all need to be at the finish.
Who do you compare yourself to?
I want to be at the finish, then I compare my car and see if it looks the same as it did at the start! I will not compare the times.
What are your hopes over the course of the season?
To enjoy the year and enjoy these great events and a very nice car. I spent a lot of years in JWRC, SWRC and PWRC and finally there's nothing in front of WRC – so I am very excited about that and I would like to improve as a driver.
Sébastien, normally you start every season with the ambition to be champion, this year begins differently for you with just four events on your WRC calendar. How do you feel about the 'different' season ahead?
For sure it a bit different, but I feel happy about that. I spent a long time thinking about retiring, now I make the decision and I have other plans – and I am excited about those plans also. It's exciting to be here at the Monte-Carlo Rally, it's a nice rally from which I have good memories and it's my co-driver's home rally. It's important to start this one, but the situation is not the same. I am just here…
Is the motivation the same?
The goal is not the same, but the preparation for the rally is the same. On the recce, everything was really serious. If I am able fight for victory, I will try to do it. But if not, it's not as bad as in the past. I am here for fun and in the conditions… it will be fun.
This is a true Monte, isn't it…
I have never done the rally with a lot of snow, it's always been one stage or half a stage, but usually more like a tarmac rally. At the moment, it's not like this, the conditions will be tricky. On the shakedown, I think we were lucky it was in the field, because I think some time everybody went in the field somewhere! But tomorrow, it is not in the field, tomorrow we have walls, rocks and ditches. Let's see what we can do.
If you're not going to be world champion this year, who will you be putting your money on?
I wouldn't put my money on anybody – but it's exciting! [The champion] Will be another one and, for sure, it's going to be interesting to see Jari-Matti [Latvala] and Mikko [Hirvonen]. I am looking forward to seeing what happens.
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