WRC » 27 October 2013
Rally de Espana: Post-event press conference
Rally de Espana post-event press conference with Sebastien Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala, Mikko Hirvonen and Jost Capito.
Drivers / co-drivers: Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia, Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Motorsport) and Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen (Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT).
Team principal: Jost Capito (Volkswagen Motorsport).
Sebastien, what an incredible result! How do you feel?
Quite good. I was mentioning I didn't come here [to the press conference] since 2008 and then it was only the pre-event press conference for JWRC. Since then I never have a good result. I crash in Juniors then for two years I have engine failure and finally we are here with a good result and the best we can get. It was not an easy weekend. Our strategy was to push from the start and make a gap, we had a good start on Friday night, but I was not completely on the pace and I was struggling with the tyre wear. Normally this is my strength, but this time I was using the tyres more than others. Something was wrong, and definitely I need to work on the tarmac to make a better set-up. Yesterday I took risks and pushed, but then I had the puncture. Finally, it was a nice strategy, we were fourth on the road, but this was not an easy job. We had the dust, but I think we were the only ones who took time from Jari-Matti [Latvala]; we had to take risks, it was very accurate and I am very happy. It's not the most important – that is the title for Volkswagen.
This morning you started 45 seconds off the lead. Did you wake up thinking you were going to absolutely go for it?
I knew there was a chance but it was difficult to estimate how much we could get at the beginning but I knew we would have trouble with dust and that happened. When it was clear, I took time and the cleaning gave me an advantage. But the dust was horrible. At midday service I believed more and more of my chance with only 15 seconds to catch on the second loop. I was quite confident I could do it. It was also difficult for Jari-Matti being first on the road on the second loop because he still had to clean a little bit in his position.
There must be a lot of bravery – you just kept the pace in the dust. Did you feel brave?
I don't enjoy this condition. I was motivated to fight for the win. I didn't want to lose my chance and the price for that was to take risks. The only moment was another puncture, this time we were lucky, it was only four kilometres with the flat tyre. You always need a bit of luck to win in rally. We had some with us this time.
You've had many wins this year Julien; this was a great fight back though. How does it compare to the other victories?
This is not fair to ask me this! We've had eight victories this year and got a real taste for it since the first one in Sweden, then the one in Mexico with the atmosphere, the one in Finland was great, the one in Portugal where Seb was really sick but managed to finish in first position and then in France three weeks ago. Each of them, we must take inspiration from the value of each of them. At Christmas or in January I will tell you which victory was the best.
Tell me about the puncture – did you still think you could win?
For sure we knew we lost 50 seconds and this was a big gap. It was another rally the next day on gravel. We expected to push hard – but Seb took the maximum risk. It was a strange feeling in the dust, he was listening to the notes 200 per cent! It was great excitement – you need to be even more perfect than usually. We knew it would be hard, but checked our notes and we were ready on Sunday morning.
You started the day sweeping the road. It was always going to be a touch challenge especially with Sebastien Ogier so motivated. How are you feeling after all this?
I have to be honest I was disappointed when you fight for the victory and you get technical problems. It was a difficult position being first car on the road. I was gaining a little bit this morning not having the dust problems like the cars behind but it was difficult running first on the road with all the gravel. The cleaning effect was bigger than I expected. Also in the afternoon I knew it was not easy. There was a bit of a cleaner line but it was still very narrow from the cars running behind. The grip level was better but was changing a lot. At the end of the short stage the transmission gave a strange feeling and then in the second last stage it broke completely the front diff. On top of that we got a fire. There was a fuel pipe leaking and we were lucky to come back here. It was a close call to finish the rally but the marshal taking the fire down at the end of the stage saved us.
A lot of dramas! You didn't get the rain you wanted. Did you benefit from no dust?
We knew in the past there had been dust in these stages and I knew there might be a section where I could gain. But even the zero car had given some dust for me and it was difficult with the sun shining low. I don't think it was the best place to be first on the road. It would have been very difficult to take the win. My mood was there. I wanted to have the moment to be manufacturers' champion and I knew I couldn't risk absolutely everything for the rally. But still I love the fighting. That's the way it is. At least the team is manufacturers' champion and that is very important.
You have contributed to Volkswagen winning the Manufacturers' Championship. How does that make you feel?
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