20 June 2013
Rally d'Italia Sardegna - Pre-event press conference
You need to fight for the podium of course because in terms of the Manufacturers' Championship it is very very close. How are you feeling about the Drivers' Championship?
Regarding the Drivers' Championship it is going to be more difficult, because Sébastien [Ogier] is really strong and he is faster than many people so we need to find some performance. And in the Manufacturers' Championship we will need to fight as much as we can.
Greece was incredibly rough and hard on the cars. How does this event compare?
Greece was cold compared with Italy! The risk was very high for the cars in Greece; here it is really really hot so it is going to be difficult for the drivers and for the cars.
Did the result in Greece give you a bit more confidence?
Of course not making any mistakes and taking second place was good for self-confidence so we are going to start this rally with good feelings.
Thierry, this season so far you have secured two podiums, taking third in both Mexico and more recently in Greece. What is your strategy for this rally?
Especially on this one here in Sardinia, the roads are so narrow you can easily make a mistake, if you hit a stone you are out of the rally. In some stages probably we can of course increase our speed but otherwise we'll try to save the car and not make any mistakes.
In terms of testing before this event, how much have you done?
Nothing! No test, qualifying was the first time in the car after Greece, but it seems to be a good setup on the car. I worked out something with my engineer before coming here, then this morning we made some changes between the first and second pass. I was not fully happy but it was a good compromise so it seems to work. I was careful in qualifying but we got some good times so I think the car seems to work.
We've got two long days here and some long stages. What is the most difficult part of this event?
For me everything is difficult, like I said before, it is not the best rally for me. But this year the stages are completely different, so it is going to be better, it is not so rough, it's honestly very smooth so if it stays like this it is going to be good to drive and I will be able to enjoy this weekend.
You will compete at home next week at the Ypres Rally with the R5, how much are you looking forward to that?
Of course! But first I need to finish Sardinia with a good result, and then we will look forward to testing the R5 car for the first time. Malcolm [Wilson] said it is an incredible car, I hope he is right and we will see what happens. There are other R5 cars as well and we are not only there for the pictures, so we hope we are going to be fast there.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR:
How tough is this event's high temperature going to be for the tyres?
For me I am not so worried about that, I think the hard compound should be okay, the surface is not so abrasive most of the time, when it's sandy, it's not the most abrasive we know. But as you mentioned, there is going to be some high temperature so we still have to be a little bit careful about that, but I'm usually good at managing the tyres, so it should be okay.
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