29 June 2014
Rally Poland: Post-event press conference
Rally Poland WRC post-event press conference with Sebastien Ogier, Andreas Mikkelsen, Thierry Neuville and Jost Capito
Drivers / co-drivers: Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Motorsport), Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Floene (Volkswagen Motorsport) and Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai Motorsport).
Team principal: Jost Capito (Volkswagen Motorsport).
Seb, a fantastic win for you here in Poland and it's your 21st WRC victory. What are your thoughts?
Let's say it was a fantastic weekend in the car. It was so much fun. It was a lot of pleasure but not an easy rally. There is always someone who is fast. Normally it has been Jari-Matti [Latvala] and here it was Andreas who was fast. On the first day, like always, we push to try and take an advantage. This has been a good step for my Championship and another 28 points.
The opening two days were very close and then, yesterday, you began to pull out a lead. What made the difference and why were you so good?
All weekend I thought I was good. Yesterday we made a difference, but the conditions were the same. I knew from day one that staying in contact with the leading group was the priority and it was good. I stay on a level and we make the difference. At the end it paid off. It was a bigger gap than I thought after Andreas's problems with the brakes. I started with a good rhythm and I controlled my speed to win it.
All the drivers had a few moments out there, didn't they?
I had a big one actually and Kris [Meeke] and some of the others had the same. It was the first of stage two yesterday. I was thinking it was almost flat and it was not flat at all. It was a long corner and we got sideways in sixth gear – it was a close call but we were okay. Then, later, I missed a junction with the brakes. Saying that, the car was perfect and we should congratulate the team for that. If you have the perfect tools you can win. I picked up more points than I expected. The target was to try and maintain the gap and now I have an advantage of 50 points. That's two wins and there are only six races to go, so it's looking good at this stage.
Julien, another great win for the pair of you. How are you feeling? This must be good for your confidence for the next rally?
This has been a great event – the stages have been really nice, narrow and technical in places and very fast in others. They have been challenging roads. For me, it has been a long week with long days. This is a good training for Finland with the speed, but there is still a long way to go. I am just happy to get the points for the team. There are some tarmac challenges coming up soon so we have to concentrate. The big event of the year in Finland is next. There are many drivers on a fast pace. We want to get a good result there.
Andreas, it was a great battle between you and Seb. Second place must have given you confidence?
Firstly, I am so happy to take second place. I started competing closely with Seb all the way, but then on the second stage on Saturday I made three mistakes and lost my rhythm after that. I went into service and the gap was 19 seconds and I thought second position would be a good result. I didn't see the point taking a risk to try and catch him. When Mads [Ostberg] went off I thought I could also improve my position in the Championship and I decided to settle for second place. I was not planning to go fast on the Power Stage, but I had a good feeling and, when I released the handbrake, I decided to have a go. I had a good feeling all weekend. The car was working perfectly and the team did an amazing job. It was a pleasure to drive the car.
Do you think you are far away from that first WRC win?
Well, we are getting closer and closer. The potential is there but there are things to improve. It may take time but, hopefully, it is not too far away. I feel confident with the speed we are doing. Ola [Floene] joined me in Sardinia and it clicked back into place. We had six years together before and it feels good.
Ola, you have had podiums in the past and you are the reigning Junior Championship co-driver, but this is your first time on the WRC podium!
I like to take it step-by-step! It is really nice. I felt I was back home with Andreas. We think the same things and have a good feeling in the car. I didn't believe it myself and maybe I need to watch myself on television first. I am happy to be back here. We trust each other.
What an event for you Thierry? Down at the bottom of the leaderboard and then a fight back from 10th place?
I am feeling good after a difficult start with the car and the brakes. I could not go any better and I saw that we had to change something. Then we had the burning brakes on the car on Friday's last stage and that forced us to change the whole brake system. It was a different car after that and everything was right – the balance of the car and the feeling. I continued like I finished in Sardinia and I wanted to set the best times possible. It was fantastic to get back from 10th to third position and the podium. It was a great achievement for us. This is only the second rally of the season for our new team on the podium and I am so happy for the team. They are working so hard all the time – they are doing really great.
What were your thoughts before the start about the fight for third today?
Honestly, not a lot because I felt comfortable. The stages were not new and we had done them on Thursday. I just tried to push yesterday and, after the long stage yesterday, I started to manage a bit. I was pushing when it was needed and slowing down near the end when it was okay.
You have some updates coming on the car?
Some small updates are here already and more are planned for Finland. I hope that they are bringing us a bit closer to the other teams. We are not going to win straight away, we still need a few rallies to develop and do some more testing. But we are going in the right way. The whole team is so professional and we all work well together. We are making progress in every area and for Nicolas and me it is easy to do our job.
Nicolas, a great result. What are your thoughts?
I enjoy a lot the stages – they are fast and proper driving stages, not like the cross country ones we had in Argentina and Sardinia. I struggled a bit at the start with the notes because they were a lot faster than I expected. The team is working hard between the rallies to improve. It takes time. The best work we can do for our team is to be on the podium and get close to the win.
Jost, a Volkswagen one-two and it could have been a Volkswagen one-two-three…
First of all I want to say it was a crazy schedule to start before six in the morning and then work until after midnight. The whole team is tired. You cannot hope for a better result. The Volkswagen one-two-three was there for a time until Jari-Matti's problems, but we have not done it yet. Saying that, a double victory is not easy. Jari-Matti's mechanics did a good job to give him a chance to fight back to fifth. We are more than happy. They were really nice stages and the atmosphere is nice with lots of spectators. But there is no need to have the special stages late at night and have service in the early hours of the morning.
Jost, what are your hopes for the second half of the season?
The same result as the first half would be good! I think Andreas has shown great maturity and is ready to win a WRC event. He has the speed to match Seb and Jari-Matti and he is getting in a position to win a rally.
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