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Rally Mexico - Pre-event press conference

Rally Mexico pre-event press conference with Sebastien Ogier, Chris Atkinson, Thierry Neuville and Benito Guerra
Drivers: Sebastien Ogier (Volkswagen Motorsport), Chris Atkinson (Abu Dhabi Citroen Total World Rally Team), Thierry Neuville (Qatar World Rally Team) and Benito Guerra.


Press conference

Q:
Sebastien, at the last event in Sweden it was a win for you, are you still on a high from that and can you make it two in a row here?

Sebastien Ogier:
Of course, we came back to earth because this rally is starting. We are pleased with the start of the season and the results in Sweden and Monte Carlo. Now we look to see what we can do on gravel. This morning was not so bad.

Q:
You were fifth in Qualifying today, what happened?

Sebastien Ogier:
We had a different strategy to everyone else and we wanted to save the hard tyres for the rally. We did not test them and do not know if they are stronger. We wanted a safe strategy. Also, I was first on the road and it was a disadvantage – now I finished fifth and I am ninth on the road for tomorrow.

Q:
You said that this rally and its start ceremony gives you goose bumps. What did you mean?

Sebastien Ogier:
I prefer to be in the stages for sure, but this rally has the best ceremonial start of the season. It is amazing to see so many spectators and it is not easy to drive in the city on the narrow roads. It is easy to do a stupid mistake [on the street stage]. I like the rally overall and many of the stages. The long one is beautiful. I like it.

Q:
Many are now saying you are the 'new' Loeb and will dominate the series. What do you think of that?

Sebastien Ogier:
I can tell you, I'm not the new Loeb, I am Ogier. I heard so many times this comparison – we do not need to do it any more. We have 10 years difference between us and are from a different generation. If I was 10 years older then we might have a big fight between us. Now I do my best and continue to drive fast. To compete against him was a great experience for me to push to my limit. It is still tough now and the other drivers keep me focused all the time as well. I hope we have a big fight. It is a long rally, but the Polo looks good on gravel – we also have to see about reliability – the first two rallies were quite easy on the cars and this one is more difficult, with the risk of punctures on the rocks on the road. I will not be 100% aggressive. Many times on a rally it is better to be 99% not 110%.

Q:
Chris, great to see you back on the Championship. Last year we saw you compete with three different manufacturers, now you return with Citroën. How did it come about?

Chris Atkinson:
This is a great opportunity for me. When the phone call came I was pretty excited. It is difficult to turn up and be competitive when everyone has done a lot more races and are more familiar with the cars. But I have been racing a lot of years. I am happy with today and with the conditions and we are not many miles away. We will get quicker.

Q:
How much testing have you done with the car? Was it easy to slip straight back into WRC mode?

Chris Atkinson:
We did 150 kilometres in Portugal a couple of weeks ago, but it was in the rain. Now we have gone from full mud to this – but any time in the car is great although we could do with some fine-tuning. I am not trying to change too much. I will just drive the stages and results will come. This is a really challenging rally. It is made more difficult by the nature of the roads. The new El Chocolate stage is quite difficult and you need to stay very focused after going from a 54 kilometre stage to a 40 kilometre one with all the corners.

Q:
Will we see you on more events, and your thoughts on this event?

Chris Atkinson:



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Chris Atkinson (AUS) Mini John Cooper Works Wrc Mini Portugal
Thierry Neuville (BEL) Nicolas Klinger (FRA), Ford Fiesta WRC, Qatar M-Sport WRT
Sebastien Ogier (F) Julien Ingrassia (F), Volkswagen Polo WRC, Volkswagen Motorsport
Sebastien Ogier (F) Julien Ingrassia (F), Volkswagen Polo WRC, Volkswagen Motorsport
Sebastien Ogier (F) Julien Ingrassia (F), Volkswagen Polo WRC, Volkswagen Motorsport

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