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Rally Mexico: Post-event press conference

Rally Mexico post-event press conference with Sebastien Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala, Thierry Neuville and Jost Capito.
Drivers / co-drivers: Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Motorsport), Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Motorsport) and Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai Motorsport).

Team principal: Jost Capito (Volkswagen Motorsport).



Press conference


Q:
Congratulations on your second Rally Mexico win and your 18th WRC victory! Your only objective coming here was to win, how satisfying is it to achieve that goal?

Sebastien Ogier:
Of course, it was really satisfying for me. On Thursday, at the press conference, I told you I had one goal and that was to win the rally. We achieved it. I am really happy with that. What is important is to congratulate all the team. The Polo was fantastic for me. Nothing went wrong at all, no problems, strong and fast. A big thanks to everyone. With Julien we just had a good management of the race and took the lead quite early. We started second on the road and then we started to control the rally. Jari-Matti was also doing a good job and, at the end, we have a Volkswagen one-two and 18 wins for me.

Q:
You seemed to have an almost perfect run and with the last stage win you picked up your 250th WRC stage wins.

Sebastien Ogier:
It was not so easy. There was a moment. It was a tricky one and it was very slippery conditions. It was not a mistake by me yesterday afternoon but there were rocks on the line and I was at speed on the limit and it was not too wide in this part and I could not avoid it. That is always happening here. I never remember a rally in Mexico with no rocks on the roads.

Q:
You took maximum points on the Power Stage and now lead the Championship heading into Portugal. Last night you teased Jari-Matti that you would not take the points and let him sweep the road in Portugal - he didn't believe you and he was right not to! Was the plan always to go for as many points as possible?

Sebastien Ogier:
I was really thinking about it. I am a clever guy and I wanted to use every situation I could. I wanted to use this option. In Portugal, I thought that it might rain and that to open the road would be an advantage. But then I thought to lose four points here may be a bit stupid. I thought about it. I am certainly not afraid to open the road and I hope to go to Portugal and prove it.

Q:
Julien, your 18th WRC win here in Mexico. What are your thoughts?

Julien Ingrassia:
Yes the 18th win. There have been many great memories. Each new one is a great feeling and something different.

Q:
Was it satisfying to win the event as a co-driver again?

Julien Ingrassia:
I spoke with my colleagues and we are so happy to win the Mexico rally. On the recce we passed through the stages four times and we got good pace notes. But it feels very long and there are lots of corners. It was a tough rally during the recce and I was a little bit tired. But the weather was good and it was great to see a little sun for the first time since Spain last year.

Q:
Jari-Matti, second position in Mexico, your best-ever result here, congratulations. Are you pleased?

Jari-Matti Latvala:
I am one of these drivers who has done the rally so many times and I knew that to open the road here would be difficult. Seb was leading after day one by 40 seconds and I knew that I could not catch him by driving. He has been dominating here and I was not able to match that. I decided to target the Championship and take points and the plan worked. Mexico is not one of my strongest events and now I have my best result ever. The first time I came here was in 2006 and I finish two times third and now second.

Q:
How tough was it road sweeping on the opening day?

Jari-Matti Latvala:
It was tough, but it is a great event. It is one of the hardest and there are long stages and the heat. The grip was changing a lot in the afternoon and in the morning it was more consistent and that made it more challenging. The cars were performing really well. The team did a good job. I did not need to worry about the car at all. I just tried to think about driving and how to minimise the loss. I tried to push as much as I could on the Power Stage. We had a good run, but it was not enough. I knew he (Seb) was going to go for it there! I knew he would go for the win and take the victory. Overall he was good but we needed these two points and that makes it interesting now. It is a good fight now. I was not worried to open the road in Portugal. There are some advantages and some disadvantages. If it rains, the first car on the road is the best place to be. If it is dry, second is a bit better. I just drive according to the conditions and will see what we can do.

Q:
Miikka, after many years competing here, how satisfying is it to achieve second position?

Miikka Anttila:
For sure it is fantastic to be second here. From the beginning I thought a podium would be good for us. I thought second would be even better and winning would be unlikely to happen. We made a realistic calculation to be on the podium, to keep the Championship interesting and the target was fulfilled. The car has been incredible and the tyres are extremely good as well. Well done to Michelin. We had no punctures and one tyre problem was not the tyre but the wheel rim. We didn't really have any moments, maybe just over the bumps you don't expect that they throw the car and we broke one windscreen in one of the dips. But you cannot blame the car for that.

Q:
Thierry, your third position is probably the story of the rally, but not actually what happened on the stages, rather the road section. Talk us through what happened once you cleared the final stage.

Thierry Neuville:
I don't know that it's really interesting. We had a small hole in the radiator and we fixed it and got back here on time. It was very stressful but we stay calm. On the road section we had to wait for more than 20 minutes and we had 34 kilometres to run and we had a hot temperature from the car and we realised that we needed to fix the problem. I tried to put something on the hole and fill the radiator with water and beer and we came back!

Q:
Was it your idea to fill the radiator with beer? Did you think it would last until you returned to service?

Thierry Neuville:
Honestly, I tried to stay calm and thought we are going to go back. But then I realised we have still 25 kilometres to go. Then I thought maybe it was the end. Then we stopped the engine and the temperature went down and we thought it was okay.

Q:
How was the weekend in general with the car? How much further along are you with achieving a good set-up?

Thierry Neuville:
It has been quite a while since I have been in the press conference like this and it's quite nice to be back. We knew it would be difficult. We had a weekend without trouble except for the last stage! Saying that, the team has done a good job. We were not on the pace of Volkswagen but we knew we might struggle with the temperature and the altitude. But, yesterday was a really nice day and we wanted to catch Elfyn (Evans) and then we set a fastest split time. It was a great job by the team. We are still improving. I hope it does not take too long to be here again at the press conference.

Q:
How important is this podium to the team?

Thierry Neuville:
It's special for us. I saw the team was really happy. We had two disappointing results on the last two rallies, but here we are with two cars at the finish. We know we are going to progress and now we are more motivated to keep doing our job.

Q:
Nicolas, you were here last year for your first podium. Does this bring back memories?

Nicolas Gilsoul:
Of course, we have special memories from last year. We are back now with a new car and a new team and we are definitely improving step-by-step.

Q:
Jost, this is Volkswagen's seventh win in a row and Seb claimed his 250th stage win. The statistics keep getting better?

Jost Capito:
Yes, this is a fantastic result. We were a little worried to sweep the roads on the first day, but the guys did a great job to get us into a good position. Seb and Jari-Matti did not have a single problem with the Polos. Also, the guys did a great job in the service. Volkswagen is very strong in Mexico. This is the 50th anniversary of Volkswagen production in Mexico and the engine and gearbox plant is just three kilometres away. This result is good for the employees and all our fans in Mexico.

Q:
What did you think of the fight between your top two drivers?

Jost Capito:
It is a great fight between them. For a team principal it is great to see two guys battling for the win. They are both very different characters as drivers and the co-drivers are also very different characters. They are all treated in exactly the same way. The team is united and we do the best we can for all three crews. At flexi service all our guys are hands-on for each of the cars. We work as a team and the guys have the freedom to battle on the stages.

Q:
What did you think about the performance of Andreas Mikkelsen?

Jost Capito:
He had a difficult rally. If we see the split times, he was going too fast and when it happened he said he was not going too fast, so we asked 'why are you crashing then?' But he has shown that he is not scared, which is good.


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Thierry Neuville (BEL) Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL), Hyundai i20, Hyundai Motorsport
Thierry Neuville (BEL) Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL), Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Jari-Matti Latvala,  Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo WRC #7, Volkswagen Motorsport)
Jari-Matti Latvala,  Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo WRC #7, Volkswagen Motorsport)
Sebastien Ogier (F) Julien Ingrassia (F), Volkswagen Polo R, Volkswagen Motorsport
Podium, Sebastien Ogier (F) Julien Ingrassia (F), Volkswagen Polo WRC, Volkswagen Motorsport, winners
Sebastien Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala and Thierry Neuville celebrate on the podium. Rally Mexico

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