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WRC Rallye Deutschland: Pre-event press conference

Rallye Deutschland WRC pre-event press conference with Dani Sordo, Jari-Matti Latvala, Kris Meeke and Elfyn Evans
Drivers: Dani Sordo (Hyundai Motorsport), Jari-Matti Latvala (Volkswagen Motorsport), Kris Meeke (Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT), and Elfyn Evans (M-Sport WRT).


Press conference


Q:
Dani, last year you sealed your first WRC win here in Germany after an incredible battle with Thierry Neuville. Good memories coming back here?

Dani Sordo:
Yes, of course, I have good memories, also of this area (the press conference room). But that is one year ago, it is now just a memory. This year, it is completely new for me with another car. I am really pleased to be in the championship, but also to be back here again. I really like it.

Q:
We saw how much you liked it last year, but as you said, it is a different experience this year as you are in a different car that is still being very much developed. What is the Hyundai like on Tarmac?

Dani Sordo:
The car is not so bad. It is still quite new. It is a little bit better than Monte Carlo, but it is more a matter of small things than any big steps. We need to be a little bit better in terms of engine and suspension, but the basis is good and we are getting there.

Q:
So what are you hoping for this weekend? Do you think you are able to fight right at the front?

Dani Sordo:
I really want to try to be in front, but Volkswagen and Citroen are very strong, and so is Ford. A podium finish would be a good result, but we always want more.

Q:
We don't see you at every round, the second seat at Hyundai is always changing. With the possibility of a full-time drive next year with Hyundai, do you feel pressure to perform to your best on each event you attend?

Dani Sordo:
I don't know about next year. I try to do my best on every rally, also here and in the next two rallies, and then we will see what happens next year. If I can drive, it will be nice.

Q:
Jari-Matti, just two weeks ago you sealed a great win at home in Finland. You were not only competitively strong but mentally strong also - Jost Capito said it was your best-ever performance, do you feel that way?

Jari-Matti Latvala:
I agree with him. It was the best drive of my career and to have similar drives in the future would be really good. The mental side, especially when I had a problem and I managed to hold the lead, even with Ogier 3.5 seconds behind, was special. When you can drive events like this, it would be good when you are in the fight for the championship. You can't expect to have this result in every event. If you are good, it can be great.

Q:
Can the momentum of success be carried forward here? Can you fight at the front on Tarmac?

Jari-Matti Latvala:
I was leading last year, but then obviously Dani was coming back very fast. I was under pressure and did a little mistake, which put an end to the fight and it was a great victory for Dani last year. This year, I hope for a clean run and hope to finish on the podium. That would be very good. If we can fight for the victory, it would be fantastic, but for the Drivers' Championship, all the points are very important. Let's get a good feeling in the first stage and then see how it goes.

Q:
You said in Finland that you felt there was still a chance of the Championship title, do you feel you need to win here to keep that chance alive?

Jari-Matti Latvala:
Of course, victory would get me closer, there is no doubt about that, but there are still four events to go after Germany. In Finland, I really needed that victory, but here, we would still be there if we score a few points less than Ogier, but, of course, a victory would help a lot. I try to keep the fight going on for as long as I can.

Q:
You have quoted quite a few times Christoph Treier from the team for his support. How much help has he been in preparation ahead of this rally?

Jari-Matti Latvala:
We have made good progress. Coming from Finland, you can change your mind for the Tarmac, which is very important. Here, the grip level is changing a lot with the cuts and different kind of surfaces. This is what we are working on. Hopefully, I will be prepared for the changing conditions. Normally, if you get a clean run here, you can be quite high up in the standings.

Q:
Kris, a strong performance in Finland from you also. We have seen in the past some great performances on this event in the Junior Championship, and in 2008 and in a Clio. It's been three years since you competed on an all-Tarmac event, how are you feeling ahead of this one?

Kris Meeke:
Finland was good, also for my confidence to return to a rally I did before and to be consistent was really good for me. Coming here, it is my first proper tarmac rally in three years. I enjoy this rally. The car speaks for itself, Citroen has won the rally for 11 years. However, cars don't drive themselves. I'll be the limiting factor this weekend. We'll see. I felt comfortable in the shakedown, we did a very good test last weekend. I don't have any expectations, I don't set myself any targets, I just enjoy my driving.

Q:
So that is the same approach as in Finland? There, you also mentioned the enjoyment factor and the results came.

Kris Meeke:
Yes, that is the game. When you are enjoying it, you don't have to worry about the stop watch. It will take care of itself. The moment you start concentrating on the times and focussing, it can fall apart very easily. I just try to do the best job I can, and then we see where we are.

Q:
What defines Germany from the other Tarmac events on the calendar?

Kris Meeke:
It is an event I enjoy from my first experience with the C2 S1600 from the days when me and Dani were still a little bit younger, so I have some very good memories, and I also had a good run in the private Clio in 2008 and the MINI in 2011. I don't have any recent experience, but I feel comfortable in the car. It is so fast here, you have to be so precise and committed. It may take me a little bit of time to find my feet but I'll give everything to do a good job.

Q:
The new Michelin full-wet tyre coming in for this weekend is an extra option for the drivers. No-one is ever sure of the forecast, but are you pleased with it?

Kris Meeke:
Yes, maybe not the extreme wet tyre, but it is more Monte Carlo-like type of tyre. It would be good for a normal Tarmac event. Nobody likes to drive when you have a lot of standing water. Aquaplaning is never nice, because suddenly you become a passenger behind the wheel, so at least we have this option in case of extreme conditions.

Q:
Are you feeling any pressure to perform to confirm a drive for next year or do you not let those thoughts creep in during events?

Kris Meeke:
I have been in that situation for most of my career. I have retired twice, I came back twice. Every event is always important. I had some one-off events in Finland and Australia last year, there is always pressure at this level. But when you enjoy it, the times and the results come and next year will take care of itself.

Q:
Elfyn, there are so many events this year you have never even seen, but the second half of the season is better for you. How are you feeling coming into Rallye Deutschland?

Elfyn Evans:
I am really excited to do my first proper Tarmac event at World Championship level. Last year was a learning year for us. The car feels pretty good on Tarmac so far and we are looking forward to getting it going.

Q:
During the test, you had a little off into the vineyard. What happened during the test and before the accident were you able to get some good feedback from the car?

Elfyn Evans:
Yes, we had a small off quite early, but it only stopped us for half an hour or so. Other than the little off, it was very productive and we had a very good test with predictable conditions.

Q:
So you are feeling very confident for this event?

Elfyn Evans:
Yes, the car is really good. It will maybe take us half a day to find our feet, but overall the feeling is very good and hopefully if the notes and everything is correct, there is no reason why we can't enjoy ourselves for the rest of the rally.

Q:
We have seen you 'learn' many events during your first season in the WRC, what is the plan for the second half of the year? Do you feel you can increase your pace?

Elfyn Evans:
So far, our season has been a bit up and down, some good speed at points, certainly some splits, but also the odd mistake. If we can work on being a bit more consistent and mistake-free, the second half of the season could be good. Let's wait and see what we can do.

Q:
What are the real challenges at Rallye Deutschland?

Elfyn Evans:
The biggest thing will be the weather. If it stays stable, the event can be really enjoyable. I have been here twice and always ended up on the wrong tyres at some point. There is a strong possibility we will end up in the same situation again this year, but we keep going and try to concentrate and get the heat into the tyres.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Kris Meeke, Paul Nagle (Citroën DS3 WRC, #3 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT)
Kris Meeke, Paul Nagle (Citroën DS3 WRC, #3 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT)
Jari-Matti Latvala,  Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo WRC #2, Volkswagen Motorsport)
Jari-Matti Latvala,  Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo WRC #2, Volkswagen Motorsport)
Elfyn Evans, Daniel Barrit (Ford Fiesta WRC, #6 M-Sport World Rally Team)
Elfyn Evans, Daniel Barrit (Ford Fiesta WRC, #6 M-Sport World Rally Team)
Dani Sordo (ESP) Marc Marti (ES), Hyundai I20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Dani Sordo (ESP) Marc Marti (ES), Hyundai I20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport

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