Drivers / co-drivers: Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Motorsport), Dani Sordo and Carlos del Barrio (Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT) and Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul (Qatar WRT).

Team principal: Jost Capito (Volkswagen Motorsport).

Press conference

Related Articles

Q:
Jari-Matti congratulations on your first win for Volkswagen Motorsport on the 10th anniversary of your first Acropolis!

Jari-Matti Latvala:
I feel really good. It's a big relief. I started my season with a big crash, so for sure it was a big question for Volkswagen, what kind of driver this new driver is. Finally, I delivered the result for the team, even through difficult times.

Q:
Do you feel you have proven yourself worthy of the drive?

Jari-Matti Latvala:
I hope so. There are many more rallies and for the Manufacturers' [championship] it will be a very big battle. We need more good results, but we are in a good way. I am very pleased with this rally that we had a good tactic. It was a bit more tactical rally than before.

Q:
Let's talk through it. No risks on the opening night?

Jari-Matti Latvala:
The idea is that in this rally you have to drive around 90 per cent which means overall you have areas where you can go 100 per cent, but not all the time - the tyres and car won't take it. You need areas to slow down and we marked these on the notes to make it easier on the car and we calculated those splits should work out and it did work out. Even though it didn't look so special... we were 40 seconds behind after the first stage.

Q:
Did you feel the pressure in the lead?

Jari-Matti Latvala:
I did not think so much about that until this morning. Saturday was stage-by-stage and then only today I realised we were getting closer and that made more excitement. Yesterday was a long day.

Q:
Any 'Jari-Matti moments'?

Jari-Matti Latvala:
Yes, two. In the first stage, three kilometres from the start, I went straight to avoid hitting anything. We lost 14 seconds with that and then on stage number four there was a downhill section where I was too fast; downhill breaking into a right-left sequence. I went wide on the right and that pushed me back to the left and the right direction. I was very, very lucky. I said to Miikka: "Okay, we were lucky, we have used our luck - we get no more chances."

Q:
Ten years ago you came here as a factory driver for the first time and now you've won...

Jari-Matti Latvala:
I don't know if you were here when I made the story before the rally... let's make another story. I came here in 2003, I was an 18-year-old boy and it was my first time driving a Focus RS WRC. The excitement was huge. I did shakedown with Colin McRae, Tommi Makinen and Petter Solberg and then the rally started and it was quite difficult conditions on the first stage. After the first day I was so tired going into the second day, I wanted to sleep in the car! I was not ready for such a hot physical rally. I had the big passion to drive, but no idea about set-up, I could not do anything for the car - I had no experience, I was just driving stage-by-stage. I remember in the last service, three stages to go we were 10th and Malcolm Wilson said to me to take it easy. It was so difficult to make the finish. I think it was the third last stage, I was ninth fastest beating Didier Auriol by one second. This was so big for me, I was a young boy taking the experience. Great moments. It's great to bring these moments back. I am getting older, I am not the young generation anymore! It meant a lot to me. I got the spectators' trophy here, back then my style was wild; I could not drive the car straight, all the time there were big Scandinavian flicks... Thanks for listening to me.

Q:
Jari-Matti commented yesterday morning that at the end of stage 3 you had told him what a good drive it was. He said that doesn't happen often so he knew it was good! How do you rate his performance?

Miikka Anttila:
Basically, like I said after that stage - that was the driving which will give us victory. It was problem-free driving and this rally is all about getting out of problems. Leading this rally means nothing, yesterday we led, but all the time you are fighting the conditions and the [other] drivers. Everybody can face the problems, but you have to avoid them.

Q:
How special is this moment?

Miikka Anttila:
Like Jari-Matti said, now we have proven that... most probably, they were correct when they sign us for the team!

Q:
Dani, what was your strategy during the event? Did you have any issues out on the stages at all?

Dani Sordo:
After the crash in Portugal and the problems in Argentina and the mistake in Sweden, it was not an easy start to the season. This is a rally I like, with good grip, but it is also risky for the car and tyres. I didn't want to take many risks with normal driving and at the end this was pretty good.

Q:
Were you tempted to push on Saturday morning when the gap between you and Jari-Matti was not so big?

Dani Sordo:
When I saw this with Jari-Matti's speed, I thought one of the stages he will go out and break something if they go flat out: Jari-Matti and [Evgeny] Novikov also. Something happened [to Novikov], it could be exciting, but at the end Jari-Matti's speed was very high, to do the same time would have meant taking many risks. At the end, the result is quite easy to take like this, but at the same time it's good for me and for confidence for me.

Q:
How do you feel about the next round in Italy now?

Dani Sordo:
Now we have two weeks before the rally, we have points from here and now in the next rally we try to stay in the good way and try to finish at the top.

Q:
Your pace on gravel is great, but when will we see Dani win?

Dani Sordo:
I don't know! As early as possible! Of course I need to drive and to push to try and win the rally.

Q:
Carlos, it's been a good weekend...

Carlos del Barrio:
This was a tough weekend. The last rally was not the best of my life after the Argentina issues. But I got over it and I have focused on doing my job and getting points for the team and I think this is a very good result. For me this is the first gravel podium, it's good. There were so many stones, so many issues, it's been tough. We are happy and in a part of the year where we can see some improvements.

Q:
No big risks, any moments?

Carlos del Barrio:
No, but to be honest you are never sure 100 per cent what you're doing - it's so easy to make a mistake. It's easy to get out of a corner and have one stone to put you out of the rally. It's not fair like that, but it's the Acropolis and it's the only rally like that. We are happy and in a good position for the manufacturers. Summer time is normally important for us and Jari-Matti.

Q:
Thierry, your second podium of the year and it's at one of the most difficult events! How are you feeling about the result?

Thierry Neuville:
I didn't think it would come so soon. I showed speed last year, but now I want to show that I can go to the finish of rallies - especially in Greece this was very important for me. This result, especially for the future, shows that I can be clever as well. Sometimes it's not so easy. I think like a 24-year-old who is young in the head. It's not easy to see the times and then to think I can do the same, but I am not allowed! It's not always easy, like I learned in Argentina and already it's [feeling] easier for me. The Qatar M-Sport team did a great job, we had no problems with the car. We had a small transmission problem on Friday night, but otherwise it was all fine - the mechanics did a great job.

Q:
Is this the new Thierry Neuville?

Thierry Neuville:
Not the new one, but it is the clever one. Definitely, I will come back a bit on the faster pace and try to stay on the road. Finding the way between them both is one of the hardest things for the driver with less experience. But it has gone great like this.

Q:
Which stages were most difficult?

Thierry Neuville:
We started Friday quite slowly and saw after a few corners, Ostberg broke a wheel, then Ogier was out as well. Then Saturday was a good day, the second stage was rough, but we got through two times quite fast and with no problems. But you can always hit a problem - that's the Acropolis. It was hard for the car, but I really enjoyed the stages on Saturday; we were setting third and fourth [fastest times] and we caught some time to Dani [Sordo]. Today was the most difficult conditions for me, we had to avoid the rocks. Then, in the last one, I felt we had a puncture, but it was a broken rim in the last five kilometres. Maybe it was just in my mind, but I had a different kind of feeling.

Q:
Nicolas, have you noticed a change?

Nicolas Gilsoul:
Of course, from the start of the season we have been doing a debrief between the rallies to see what is good and what we can improve on and it worked well. In the end we are happy about this.

Q:
Did you think you had a puncture?

Nicolas Gilsoul:
He told me: "I think we have a puncture..." And I thought: "Yeah..." We were very nervous at this moment! We talked together and we managed. After a few kilometres there was no puncture and we were happy to get to the finish line.

Q:
Jost we have been here many times with Sebastien Ogier, but now Jari-Matti. Was he worthy of the drive?

Jost Capito:
Yeah, but I have not been feeling otherwise since he joined the team... I know him from eight years and his face fits, he is absolutely the right driver - this was never in doubt. It's more than fair that he got his win. I am very sorry for Seb, what happened was not his fault and that destroyed his rally. But he took the spirit and fought on and four points might be vital at the end [of the year]. But it is great to be here with Jari-Matti.

Q:
You look very cool and calm about things...

Jost Capito:
We have been working with both of them for half a year and that pays off.

Q:
You also have Andreas Mikkelsen in fourth place - another great result...

Jost Capito:
His performance has been fantastic. This is only his third rally, he is lacking a lot of experience in the Polo; he has only done a couple of days testing. Today he won three of the four stages, today we asked him to push and he pushed. When we ask him to be safe he does that as well - he has developed very well. I am happy with all three drivers in the team.

Q:
You keep saying you didn't expect this success, surely you expected some success?

Jost Capito:
No. It's impossible to expect this success, especially when we have a driver combination which has never worked together. We are very happy with four wins from six and this looks dominant, but that's definitely not the case. There are representatives from all three brands here and that shows how close it is. I am happy all three brands are here... as long as I am here as well!