Drivers / co-drivers: Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Motorsport), Dani Sordo and Marc Marti (Hyundai Motorsport) and Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai Motorsport)

Team representative: Sven Smeets, Volkswagen Motorsport

Press conference

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Q:
Seb, huge congratulations on your fourth consecutive world title! What does it mean to you to join WRC greats Juha Kankkunen and Tommi Makinen as a four time FIA World Rally Champion?

Sebastien Ogier:
Of course it means a lot. I am very proud, very happy. Since the finish, I just read a tweet from Carlos [Sainz]. He was one of the guys five years ago who permit me to join this team. He wrote 'I told you five years ago this would be a good move.' He was right, it was definitely a good move. We have achieved so much together with four titles, it's hard to find the words to describe this emotion. We had to fight hard this year, this was one of the hardest to get. It's difficult to say if it's the hardest. But once again we do it in style with the victory. I couldn't be much more happy than that.

Q:
As you say, satisfying to claim the title with your fifth win of the season too...

Sebastien Ogier:
It was tough because Dani was strong like always here. He had a great weekend and started really well on gravel. Seventeen seconds was tough to catch and as well I was feeling a little under pressure - not me personally because when Andreas [Mikkelsen] went out then we are more or less champion - but there was more pressure for the manufacturers championship coming on my shoulders. The feeling was good in the car, we had no moments this weekend, and when the times are coming like this then there's no reason to slow down. We kept pushing and we kept getting closer and closer to Dani [Sordo]. I'm very happy to get the victory; we have the Tarmac grand slam this season. But I'm less happy this year that we didn't win on gravel. That's a bit surprising, especially as this is my favourite surface!

Q:
In terms of Championships, where does this sit among the four?

Sebastien Ogier:
I waited for this question; I don't want to rank them one compared to the other. They all mean a lot and they are all important in my eyes. There are different parameters for them all, but they all make me very happy and proud. The first one will always remain special, but that [2016] was a tough season - especially during the summer when we went for a long time with no wins. That was frustrating, but this is a well-deserved title and one we will celebrate very hard tonight.

Q:
Congratulations Julien, the win and the Championship! Thoughts?

Julien Ingrassia:
For me, Seb said it. If you have to say a word on this title, it's spirit. It's been a hard job for the whole year, but S?bastien and I were almost military [in the frame of mind]. There was no time to escape, but we said OK, we knew we wanted to win this championship and we knew we had to secure it. The way we were going to the race, the way we set the car up, we worked so hard and that made me really proud. It's nice to share the victory and I am very, very happy to have Sven [Smeets] here with us. He was not in [the post-event press conference] Corsica, so here I'm really happy for him. Since the start of our career we worked with him, we are really strong together and we're really happy to have him for our boss.

Something else I want to say: we have seen some interesting scenes this weekend. As a co-driver speaking about the safety, anything can happen in a crash during the race, but we saw the barriers in the ground and that helped a little bit to make sure the crash was not that bad. This shows all the world what we are doing on safety with the FIA is going in the good way and we want to continue to push that.

Q:
Dani, the win in Spain still eludes you; how are you feeling about second position?

Dani Sordo:
To be honest, Friday was a good day for me, but then it was difficult. Second is a good result, but I am a bit disappointed. We tried to fight Seb, but he could set faster times a little bit all the time. After he pass in front, we saw he was faster all the time. Today in the first stage we tried - I didn't take risks, but we could see he was at the same speed. It was very difficult.

Q:
Did you think there was any chance of catching Seb today, or was it more a question of maintaining position?

Dani Sordo:
We didn't think about manufacturer points this weekend, we wanted to win the rally and have fun in the car. We have a lot of fun in the car and tried to keep Seb back. I did my best and Marc [Marti] did also. He was faster, he drove well and he was very good. He was faster...

Q:
The crowds have again been big and the support for you amazing. It must give you a real boost on your home event?

Dani Sordo:
To be honest, that was quite unbelievable for everybody, but especially for me to see all the spectators like this. They were pushing like hell, and the feeling was very good for the spectators. It was great to see everybody. I tried to do my best, but unfortunately it didn't work. But thanks to everybody in the stages - I was really glad to see them.

Q:
Marc, a busy event for co-drivers too with changeable conditions and undoubtedly a lot of information from your route note crew. Has it been a tough one?

Marc Marti:
This year it was not really too hard for the gravel crews. If they drive through the gravel stages, it could be much more difficult, but from many years ago - when the stages were in the Vic area - it would be more difficult. That was when we could go with the cuts, then it was really difficult. In this one, in this area, you cannot go with cutting the corners so much and with the co-drivers we have less to write in the pace notes.

Q:
Thierry, a really strong performance here; pleased with third?

Thierry Neuville:
Before I talk about my rally, I would just like to congratulate Sebastien, Julien and the team. They did an amazing job even if it is, for us, sometimes frustrating - it's not nice to see them winning so often! But they deserve to win sometimes and they have been impressive with these new rules. Hopefully it will change at one point; we are all convinced in the future there will be some more interesting fights which are more intense. For us, we had a strong start then we were really unlucky: we went into a cut with the wheel and that spun the car. We lost 30 seconds on the afternoon loop and that put us out of the fight for second. Then when Andreas [Mikkelsen] went off, we drove to secure the position and points for team and the championships. We have done the job, we couldn't have done any more. We have all driven very fast and I'm happy to sit here on the podium.

Q:
A no-score for Andreas Mikkelsen here means it's game-on in the fight for second in the Championship... you get on well together, will you still train together?

Thierry Neuville:
You have to ask the question to him! Since a couple of rallies we catch him. We are both young, OK we are not new [in the championship] anymore, but still we are some of the young drivers. It's a benefit to work together and to train together and pushing each other. I am chasing him, it was him who made the mistake this time, who knows? In the future it can be on the opposite side. This will not change the relationship.

Q:
Nicolas, is it easier to read notes on gravel or Tarmac?

Nicolas Gilsoul:
Probably the gravel most of the time. Yesterday was very tough and the same today. On Tarmac the notes are very precise. I have a lot to say and with this itinerary it has been very challenging. Probably the gravel is more simple.

Q:
Why has this rally and itinerary been challenging?

Nicolas Gilsoul:
Each corner is different from the previous one and the one after. It's not like we have long corners which open and tighten like before. It's been very tricky in the mountains, like Corsica a little bit. When you want to drive very fast on these roads, you have to be very precise: I have a lot to say and not lot of time to say it.

Q:
Sven, a fantastic result for Seb and Julien; thoughts on their performance here?

Sven Smeets:
I'm astonished again at what they can do - it was like what they did on day one in Corsica. On Friday here on the second loop it was difficult but then they managed to come back on the Tarmac and then they kept the gap. On Saturday we knew Jari-Matti [Latvala] was out, but we wanted Seb to have his title and we would have liked him to do it with the win - that would bring 25 points for the team. But we knew if something went wrong then Hyundai was sitting there with a one-two and this could mean an open championship and a lot of pressure for Wales and Australia. Today they were perfect, even second quickest on the Power Stage. This was fantastic control.

Q:
A mixed rally for Volkswagen however; Jari-Matti [Latvala] and Andreas [Mikkelsen] both had good pace but in the end problems for both of them. Some positives to be taken from here though?

Sven Smeets:
We've lost points, but the conditions were very tricky and everybody was having a moment - it was clear that something will happen and unfortunately it happened to Jari-Matti. And then yesterday afternoon, Andreas mixed up two corners, he thought he was in the first, but he was in the second. These things can happen. But Andreas really wants that second place and he won't give up for the next weeks - so they won't go training together! Dani gave us a very hard time. It was tough sitting in the truck watching the gap second by second, you would like to help them, but we can't do so much. It was a great performance from all of them sitting here.

Q:
The focus is obviously now on the Manufacturers' Championship. Hyundai has clawed back a few points here in Spain; what's your feeling on this title fight?

Sven Smeets:
All of the drivers are fighting for second [in the drivers' championship] so automatically they drive very hard. We still need 25 points, that's a win, or a third place and fifth place. It's always an interesting event in Wales, there's always lots happening in GB - it's not a rally where you can say you are comfortable. I'm sure the next rally will be as interesting as this one.