Drivers: Sebastien Ogier (Volkswagen Motorsport), Kris Meeke (Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT), Mikko Hirvonen (M-Sport WRT) and Chris Atkinson (Hyundai Motorsport).

Press conference

Q:
Sebastien, Rallye Deutschland did not go quite to plan for you, after two accidents no points were scored. Are you back on track now and ready for Australia?

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Sebastien Ogier:
Definitely. That's part of life, part of sport. It's nice when you have a lot of success, but unfortunately there will always join to that some difficult moments and that was one in Germany: a really bad one. I was not so strong this summer. I let myself be disturbed by other things in [the] sport and this definitely made me weaker. I was not focused enough on what I have to do, but I made work on it and I left it behind me. I am concentrated on what is now and you can count on me to be back 100 per cent here.

Q:
Things are looking positive for the Manufacturers' Championship too.

Sebastien Ogier:
Before Germany we [won] 12 rallies in a row, that was incredible and thanks to that we are very close to the manufacturers' title. Normally it should happen here - we would need another bad weekend again to miss it! For the drivers [championship], the point is decided that it will be a Volkswagen driver which is good. But I think to myself that I want to be the champion. I will not be happy if one of my colleagues beats me. It's nice to be back here, we have nice memories of this rally from last year. It's a difficult situation starting first on the road, but I am not going to think about that. I will start and see what we can do.

Q:
Are you feeling the pressure from Jari-Matti Latvala?

Sebastien Ogier:
I feel the pressure. What can I say? He is stronger, definitely. He's on a good rhythm, but at the same time the mistake in Germany gave me some room and without this there would be more pressure. Like it is now, I have a good margin and all the cards in my hand.

Q:
With Jari-Matti Latvala also not picking up points in Germany you are still on the same terms going into this event. Were you surprised by what happened with Latvala?

Sebastien Ogier:
I think everybody was surprised. For me it was quite a great gift. I didn't expect that when I woke up on Sunday morning, seeing a Polo in the vineyards. I did not think to Jari, I thought it was the picture of me in the vineyards last year, but then I saw that this was number two and I was number eight last year. I didn't lose anything in the championship at this moment. I can say it is good news for me, but thinking for the team I was disappointed for them. Everybody in the team makes a lot of effort to be successful at home and they deserve this victory. But because of my mistake and the mistake of Jari... this is the target for next year now. I hope we don't do it three years in the row.

Q:
Kris, Germany also dealt you a rough hand on the final day of the event. You were, again, the only driver to be challenging the Volkswagen drivers. Are you happy with the pace that you are achieving now?

Kris Meeke:
It's how I hoped and dreamt it would be like. This is my first full season in the World Rally Championship and you know there will be some difficult moments as you find your feet, learn the car and the team and go to new rallies. It's quite difficult when you are such a competitive person, like I am - I want to be competitive the first time I do a rally and then that can bring some mistakes. When we got to the mid-season and started to go back to rallies for the second time, I hoped it would be easier and better, and that seems be the case. Poland was there, okay, there was a small mistake. But from Poland on, through Finland and Germany it was very good and I hope we can continue that trend.

Q:
Back to gravel and an event you have done before, how are you feeling about competing here and what is the objective?

Kris Meeke:
We all like to be competitive and think we'll win one day and I'm no different. But I need to concentrate on my own performance. Here last year was a one-off opportunity; I maybe took on too much pressure. I was fast to start and didn't have the stamina to do it over the whole weekend. Maybe that was a lack of match practice, but now I have a year under my belt and a lot more preparation to sustain that speed over the full weekend. I don't want to set a target; if I do the perfect rally and it's fifth then I have to accept that. I just try to be perfect and hope the speed's good enough to be close.

Q:
Is it difficult to keep that focus on yourself?

Kris Meeke:
It's rallying. We race against the road ahead and the stopwatch. It's not racing, theoretically, we're not against anybody on the road. I can't affect what other drivers do, I have to keep my mind on my own job.

Q:
How are the stages looking? The region has experienced quite a bit of rain in previous weeks - has this affected the surface of the stages?

Kris Meeke:
The long stage, the 50 kilometre stage - the Nambucca stage - is incredible. Last year, it was really good. On the recce again this year it was really an amazing stage to drive. I've not done New Zealand, but for me it feels like New Zealand. The others in the forest are technical and very difficult. The colour of the road under the trees is the same and it's hard to pick things out. Then we have the dust coming - it can be a big challenge to see the road at times. This is a tricky rally. Normally on a rally if you run one metre wide then you end in a ditch, here it's a tree. It's a different rally from that perspective. You have to be very careful and know that you can make a small mistake and be penalised very heavily.

Q:
Mikko, Australia. How do you feel about this one?

Mikko Hirvonen:
Good.

Q:
Before we talk about this event can we discuss the rumours that were circulating in the press about next season - is there a plan yet, are you talking to any teams?

Mikko Hirvonen:
Isn't it funny how the press picks up on these things. Last year I had nothing at this time and nobody was talking about me retiring and now they are talking about retirement.

Q:
What do you want to do?

Mikko Hirvonen:
I know personally what I want. If that's not possible then I will have to wait another year.

Q:
Do you want to share that with us?

Mikko Hirvonen:
You guys can speculate. It's more fun this way.

Q:
Your visits to the podium in 2014 have not been as frequent as in previous years - have you analysed why this is? Is there a specific reason or not?

Mikko Hirvonen:
There are always many things going on. Part of them are my mistake and part of them are... getting a fire for no reason. Obviously the motivation is there, not having been on the podium brings that motivation. There are four rallies to go this year and that's what we're aiming for.

Q:
It's a tough job to get on the podium these days...

Mikko Hirvonen:
That's true and it's getting more close. If you are not quite there, even if you feel like you are doing a good rally, you can be losing not much time, but do that on every stage then you are losing a lot. It's tough, we will try again.

Q:
How do the stages look?

Mikko Hirvonen:
They look really great.

Q:
What about the conditions - tell us about the stages.

Mikko Hirvonen:
It's dry, but it's not so bad. The start of the first stage was really muddy on the recce, but it was drying as well. It's not so bad. There are some damp places and some dry. If it rains it's going to be wet and slippery.

Q:
Chris, home event and with the latest winners of a WRC event, Hyundai Motorsport. What are the expectations for the event ahead?

Chris Atkinson:
It's awesome, great to be back. There's been a lot of build up here in Australia. It's been a little while since I was in a World Rally Car in the championship, but it's great to be back. I want to get into my own rhythm again.

Q:
How much have you been in the car, how much preparation have you done?

Chris Atkinson:
Not a lot, these guys have been out there fighting a lot. But I have no excuses. I want to get on and do the best job I can do. If the other guys are faster then that's life. It's like Kris [Meeke] said, you have to take on the situation you've been handed and go with it. The team is progressing really well and this is still in the development year. The win [in Germany] was a bit of a surprise, but we'll take it - the team is in a good position in the manufacturers' championship.

Q:
You were in Germany with the team, good to enjoy that first win?

Chris Atkinson:
Yeah it was great. I was one of the first to drive the car and then to see it winning a year later was fantastic. To start from scratch and come to win in 12 months, full hats off to the team. And there's a lot more to come.

Q:
We last saw you compete in Mexico - how has the car come on?

Chris Atkinson:
There have been small improvements, adjusting to each surface, fine-tuning and understanding the conditions. There have been some big steps in some areas and in other areas we still need to improve - that's normal.

Q:
What areas do you need to improve?

Chris Atkinson:
More winning!

Q:
What's your objective on this rally?

Chris Atkinson:
We all have targets. The first time I did Rally Australia 10 or 11 years ago, we led the event from the start. I would love to do that again, but maybe that's unrealistic considering the level of the championship is very high. For me as a semi-part-timer, to be on the pace with guys who are in there week-in week-out would make me happy. I've never done these stages, so we've had to write new notes and now we'll have to drive flat out.

Q:
Any chance we'll see you as a full-timer next year?

Chris Atkinson:
I'd love to be full-time again. A lot depends on this weekend. I've just got to pull my finger out.