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Rally Sweden - Pre-event press conference

I was the same as Evgeny, I was very disappointed with the retirement and we went off in the same place – but maybe I went off in quite a harder way. The target was points and it was going according to plan. But the conditions were so difficult and I just didn't have enough experience to understand where are the limits of the car. It came as a big surprise when I lost control and went off the road. Here it's completely different, here is more consistent conditions. My testing went well. I have a good feeling with the car, it's a completely different start to Monte-Carlo.

Q:
Accidents happen but you tend to take them to heart - have you put the Monte-Carlo issue behind you now?

Jari-Matti Latvala:
I have forgotten it, but of course it was a bad start for the season and I wanted a good start. I couldn't get it. Life goes on. There are some new rallies coming and I can't change what happened. You have to analyse it, learn from it and I have done that. Now I concentrate on new things. Go for it.

Q:
Can you win?

Jari-Matti Latvala:
The confidence is there, the question is will this be our speed in the rally. In qualifying you can see a good performance, but I want to be careful. The shakedown stage was getting quicker all of the time. This rally will not always be about the fastest from start, you have to save studs and you have to see what's happening at the finish. I don't know how it will be; a podium would be a fantastic start. Winning would be very special, but I'm not taking that as a target.

Mikko Hirvonen:
Oh yes you are!

Jari-Matti Latvala:
Only in my secret mind…

Q:
Was the reliability from the Volkswagen better than you expected in Monte-Carlo?

Jari-Matti Latvala:
The reliability was 100 per cent. We had no problem at all.

Mikko Hirvonen:
I'm not sure about that. The Ford must be better – you and Evgeny crashed in the same place, but he lost only one wheel but the Volkswagen lost two!

Jari-Matti Latvala:
Fair point! Maybe we have some work to do, we will consider that in the next meeting… Look at Ogier, it was a really good rally for him. I had confidence in the third day, it was going really well, I had a couple of good stage times. The reliability was better than I expected.

Q:
You have had great success here in the past with two wins under your belt. Last year you took second position in your first time in the DS3 - do you feel you know the car enough now to push a little harder for the win?

Mikko Hirvonen:
I am afraid now I am going to lose all the wheels – I should have been quiet! I feel good. I have one more year at Citroën under my belt, we are ready for the rally.

Q:
You didn't seem to get into your stride at the last round in Monte-Carlo - did you discover why that was?

Mikko Hirvonen:
I don't know. Maybe the crash before the rally didn't help to be confident in those conditions, but in the end I was lucky and slow enough to finish the rally. It will be a totally different story here. At least I hope so…

Q:
With Loeb retiring are you feeling extra pressure to perform for the team?

Mikko Hirvonen:
I am too old to take any pressure. We're going to be fine.

Q:
How did the test for this event go; similar conditions to what we have now?

Mikko Hirvonen:
I had maybe a little more snow on the test than here. In Norway there's a lot of snow. The level of the ice was quite the same. Everything went well in the test.

Q:
You need good confidence for this event, though…

Mikko Hirvonen:
Confidence is always the thing. You are always aiming for the win and maybe sometimes I am a bit more calculated, but this is a different story here – you have to be on the pace from stage one.

Q:
Martin, you finished seventh in Monte-Carlo just a few weeks ago, a good start in difficult conditions!

Martin Prokop:



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN), Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Martin Prokop (CZ) Jan Tomanek (CZ), Ford Fiesta WRC
Evgeny Novikov (RUS), Ford Fiesta WRC, Qatar M-Sport WRT
Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN), Volkswagen Polo WRC, Volkswagen Motorsport

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