10 March 2013
Rally Mexico - Post-event press conference
I am happy, at last, to get a second place after a difficult start to the season. It looks like Volkswagen has raised the game and we have to fight hard. We have to work even harder now, I am sure we can improve everything. I am still sliding a little too much and losing time. Without the power with the altitude you lose even more time like this.
How much were you pushing on the stages this weekend? Were you at the maximum you could go or not?
I knew Thierry [Neuville] was keen and Malcolm [Wilson] told him to go fast and catch me. He is really fast. The gap was not so big but he made it a bit easier for me. I was maybe a bit sleepy in the first stage on Friday but, after that, I was quite pleased. I was not able to match Seb's pace so we have to go back to the drawing table again. We are always wanting to fight for the win. People know I have been in this position many times and we will try again.
What do you think can be done on the next rallies to improve? What was your mind set this morning?
We know we have to work harder to improve and the answer to that is to improve the driving and be faster in every corner. It is early in the season and there are still a lot of points available. The rally was good this week and the driving and the feeling felt okay. If someone is quicker than you that is the name of the game and you need to look in the mirror and start again. Especially in the Manufacturers' it was a good rally for us with second and fourth. We had made a bad start to the season and now this is our first proper result and we are back in the game.
Thierry, congratulations on your first-ever WRC podium! How does it feel to have achieved your finishing position?
Honestly, I have to say I felt confident in the car and, after qualifying, I thought we could find the pace and be competitive. On Saturday I was not so happy and I made a little mistake and a rock broke the steering and we had to slow down. Then we had problems with the temperature and we slowed down again. But we went fast again and it was a good experience today. Malcolm [Wilson] told me to push and I tried hard until 15 kilometres where we were equal [with Mikko]. Then I made a mistake and I knew we must just finish the day for the team.
Was it stressful for you in the build-up to the first stage this morning?
I sleep well and my head was clear to push. I knew it was the right choice. I think, okay, sometimes you take a decision and I decided to push. I know it is going to be an interesting year for us and I have so many things to learn.
Do you think you will get any more podium finishes this season?
It will be very difficult against Sébastien [Ogier] but I will try on the tarmac rallies. We are working hard to prepare the car and be competitive.
Thierry, Mikko mentioned yesterday that you would be 'wet' if you got on the podium, Was he right?
Completely right – I am very wet and smelling a lot! I am honestly really happy that Nicolas and me managed to get this finish.
How do you feel to be on the podium for the first time? How big a moment was it for you on that first stage this morning?
Of course, the first time is fantastic. For one year now we have worked hard together to understand the WRC and improve our pace notes on each event. I understood there was no damage on the car but, even 100 meters before the corner, I knew that there was no way to make it [the corner]. We learn now and it will be better next time.
Jost, two wins in a row for Volkswagen Motorsport. How are you feeling after this second win? You must be over the moon?
We are over Mars now! This was completely unexpected for us. The first two rallies were not hard on the cars. This victory is dedicated to our engine guys at Volkswagen Motorsport and Volkswagen AG, who have developed an engine for altitude and one that could cope with the challenges of this rally and deliver the power for the team. It is extraordinary. This win is for the name of the new Volkswagen plant and we have delivered it for the Mexican people.
Can you win again on the next rally in Portugal?
We will see. Portugal is a new challenge and the first of the standard gravel rallies to decide the Championship – a lot of teams have done well with their first three race results. We will work hard and do a good preparation but the confidence is rising and we will see there.
What are your thoughts on Jari-Matti Latvala's performance?
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