14 April 2013
Rally de Portugal - Post-event press conference
Rally de Portugal post-event press conference with Sebastien Ogier, Mikko Hirvonen, Jari-Matti Latvala and Jost Capito
Drivers / co-drivers: Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Motorsport), Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen (Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT) and Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Motorsport).
Team principal: Jost Capito (Volkswagen Motorsport).
Sebastien, a hat-trick of wins for Volkswagen Motorsport, congratulations! How tough has this weekend been?
It's been an amazing week – it was quite crazy on Monday, when I was in such a bad physical condition and really not sure I could do the rally. But when there was no treatment anybody could offer, I decided to come and try. Then, on the recce, I feel a bit better. On the rally I did not have the maximum form, but it was enough. The rally was long – three really long days. This was the roughest Portugal I ever drove for the car; we had quite a lot of problems on the car, but the team managed to fix them all. We have another victory and one which the team can be very proud of. At every service they have so much to do, but they always did it on time – big congrats to them all.
What were the problems through the rally?
There were a few problems, but they didn't cost any seconds. This morning was when we had the big alarm. At the start of the first stage the clutch started to spin, and really I was thinking that it was over for me. After 10 kilometres it came back to normal, but I was surprised about this. Then I came back on normal speed and stayed in the lead – but it was a big moment!
Did you really think the lead was lost?
Yeah, I thought the rally was lost. I thought it was the clutch, but it was the rear diff. I was driving only in front-wheel drive and I was sure it would not be possible to finish like this. At that moment I was sure it was over.
You said you weren't going to push in the Power Stage, what happened…!
Really, it was not my plan [to push] and it really was not the game! I wanted to finish the rally. On the last loop we changed the suspension and it was a better feeling again, so without pushing too much I was on the pace – I decide to carry on like this. When you can get the points, it's better to do it because you never know what's coming in the future.
You now have a very good lead in the Drivers' standings, 54 points over Mikko Hirvonen - what are your thoughts on the Championship?
Looking at the Championship, maybe it looks easy for me, but Mads [Ostberg] and Dani [Sordo] were very, very fast before the mistakes. It will be a big fight to keep this kind of result all the year, but now we have the good advantage. Now we don't need to win the rallies, but this is not my plan: I am a competitor and I like the taste of victory. But I know I have to be clever for the rest of season.
Julien, did you believe it could be all over this morning?
For sure! When something like this happens on the start line or one minute before the stage – we had the problem. It's so hard to believe in the car and we just drove to reach the end of the first stage. We made no more mistakes around that. Then the rear diff came back and we had the chance to do the stage in normal rhythm.
It must have been a big relief…
Yeah, but then we had the 52 kilometre stage and we didn't have full confidence. We didn't know what was the problem, we just tried to do what we know and not make the mistake.
This is your third win in succession; did you expect the season to go so well?
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