Drivers / co-drivers: Andreas Mikkelsen and Anders Jaeger (Volkswagen Motorsport II), Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Motorsport) and Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai Motorsport)

Team representative: Sven Smeets, Volkswagen Motorsport

Press conference

Q:
Andreas what a hot weekend, how do you feel now?

Andreas Mikkelsen:
Everything else other than cool! I feel amazing! There are some really mixed emotions sitting here, for sure I have probably done my best ever rally and to finish my career with Volkswagen with a win is an amazing feeling. To be able to give this to the team, I can't be more proud. But I'm also sad to see it all disappear, already in the last stage I was telling Anders - in the last one kilometre of the Power Stage: "Wow, I am going to miss this car and this team!" For sure, it will be strange not to tackle any more WRC rallies with this amazing crew. The weekend was also amazing and I had a great time in the Polo. It was maximum attack from the start. When I woke this morning, I knew we had a big fight and we just gave it everything and it was enough. I'm really happy and really proud to sit here in the middle of these fantastic drivers. I don't think anybody expected the three of us would sit here with these running positions.

Q:
How does this win rate against the others?

Andreas Mikkelsen:
I would say my IRC win when I won the championship felt better than Poland and the first WRC win, but this one was so special. I know it's the last one with Volkswagen and that makes it special, but to fight off a four-time champion in terms of pace and performance, with no mechanical problems... I'm really proud of that.

Q:
Will this help for next season?

Andreas Mikkelsen:
I think this one is a bit different. Going into this year, me and my team set a plan to drive for the championship by being fast but consistent and not taking any risks. We made a good pace and we finished all the events with nothing drastic. I feel like I'm driving in a way that I'm really comfortable with the pace, but coming here we had nothing to lose. The only chance we had to finish second in the championship was with the win. I did the best job I could and I think we really showed we have the top pace. And I never felt so comfortable at that pace - we had no big moments. It felt really, really good. In that way, it's been a great rally for us.

Q:
Anders, how did you feel when you woke up this morning?

Anders Jaeger:
Knowing Seb and Julien were only two seconds behind, we knew it was going to be really tough, but in a way it was also fun. If we'd had 15 or 20 seconds, then we would start thinking about things, but this way it was only to go flat out, which we more or less did. Friday and Saturday were really good days for us. To win in Australia is amazing for us and the team, but for sure this one was for the team.

Q:
How emotional was that last stage?

Andreas Mikkelsen:
Check the last kilometre of onboard...

Q:
Were there some tears?

Andreas Mikkelsen:
It was hard to look if he [Andreas] had any tears, but you could feel it in the whole body at the start line. It will probably get more emotional tonight!

Q:
Seb it started well, then in the second stage this morning you had a spin. Tell us about that...

Sebastien Ogier:
I think first I will say I am happy, OK not completely happy. We had the last day of our career with this team and it was with a big fight and that helped us go through all this emotion. For me and Julien, we were close to a pretty unique performance to win by opening the road. That would have been amazing, but we failed today. We had two great days on Friday and Saturday and to be only two seconds behind Andreas and Anders was really great. The plan was to try to catch them. I knew it would not be easy, I knew they would fight, and we were at pretty much the same speed when I did my mistake. It was only the second spin of the year - I cannot complain much for that. Two spins in the season? I would sign for the same in the future. There was a bit of frustration when we did that, but I am still proud of what we have done this year and this week with Julien. A one-two for the team made us happy.

Q:
There was a lot of emotion this week, did you find that distracting today?

Sebastien Ogier:
It's hard to put the right words on that. It's nice to see what this sport and this job brings in terms of emotions and it's hard to watch all the team at the last service with tears in their eyes, knowing we have all done this together and this was the last time. It's a difficult time now, but we have to look ahead. Sometimes things you don't expect are coming. But OK, I will cherish this year and remember it forever. Who knows what the future will bring for us.

Q:
You have a busy week ahead?

Sebastien Ogier:
Definitely. I'm glad you didn't ask me [about the future]: I have nothing more to say, but it's urgent and in the next days and next weeks, hopefully I will be able to tell you something as soon as possible.

Q:
Julien how do you feel about the last rally?

Julien Ingrassia:
As Seb said, and as you know, it was a surprising weekend from a sporting perspective. We did not expect to be in front of you here today. I didn't expect to be, for the first time in my career, on the podium with tears dropping out of my eyes, in front of the team. We are human and the nice stories have to end. I am thankful to them. We have been such a good team and I wish them the best. It's a mix of emotions but the race still happened and there were some points. Yesterday, for example, I came back to the hotel quite late from the service park, maybe 10 or 11 and I went for a walk on the beach dressed like this. These moments are the times when we remember we have the unique life. Also, I would like to thank the organisers of Rally Australia for saving my penis. I will explain... the organisers communicated that it is forbidden for us to pee in some places where they are fearful the snakes will bite. Thanks for this!

Q:
Thierry, congratulations on third place and runner-up in the championship. How do you feel?

Thierry Neuville:
I feel quite well. I couldn't imagine that I would be fighting my mate Andreas to be second in the championship. I expected a more calm weekend. I was pretty sure the road positions, well, I did not expect to be on the podium and not expect Andreas to be there. After two or three stages, I realised if I want to be second in the championship then I have to push hard and I have done that. Andreas has done very well, leading nearly all the time. I had no other choice but to go as fast as possible. I'm happy with this performance, we achieved our goal and for Andreas it doesn't change much. He wins the rally and this is important for him for next year. I'm really happy to be with these guys on the podium.

Q:
How are the next few weeks looking for you?

Thierry Neuville:
My agenda is more clear than these guys. I am testing in the new car for the first time on Tarmac next Sunday, then we have our presentation of the new car at Monza, a champions day in Belgium where we race cars - this will be fun. There's also a race show in Italy - I enjoy every second of it. Sometimes you realise how nice is our job, it was the biggest dream for me to be here. I have been twice second in the championship and now there is only one more place to go - I don't know when this will happen, but I'm working on it.

Q:
What have you learned about fighting for the title?

Thierry Neuville:
To be honest, I have learned a lot. I have been working on myself for the last couple of years. When I came here [to Hyundai] the team's objectives were not always the same as mine: I was ready for winning, but the team was still learning. I made huge progress with this at the end of last year and this season I was back on pace. We kept calm and when the car was more reliable, we have been consistent. This rally is five times in a row we have been on the podium and we've gone from eighth to second place in the championship since the start. In my driving, I've learned a lot. Here, I was the first to follow Seb, so I could see his lines. I have seen some interesting things!

Q:
Nicolas, it's been a good year...

Nicolas Gilsoul:
To be on the podium, even if we were only third, means we secured our second place, and I am very proud of our team for that. We have all done a fantastic job and our weaknesses at the beginning of the season became our strengths at the end. I am very confident for the future.

Q:
Do you have lots of work before Monte-Carlo?

Nicolas Gilsoul:
Yes, we have a lot of testing. I enjoy the new car already a lot. The feeling is great inside: quicker through the corners, and also the team launch for next year is in a few weeks. Yeah, quite busy.

Q:
Sven, this feels like the end of an era... how are you feeling?

Sven Smeets:
A bit like the drivers... I am very happy to end it like this. They gave us a big battle. We hoped it would go to the Power Stage, but it ended in the long stage today. This (Volkswagen's decision to depart the WRC) happens. When you work for the big companies, they can make these decisions. We will not be there for the next three years, we have to look forward.

Q:
There's been great support for Volkswagen from all around the WRC...

Sven Smeets:
Fantastic. The WRC is always the big family. We have done it when Hyundai got their first victory in Germany three years ago and they did it for us today. Everybody is invited to our farewell drinks tonight to be together with us.

Q:
How can you sum up Volkswagen's contribution to the WRC?

Sven Smeets:
Maybe we need a few hours! I don't know. I hope we left a mark, the results speak for themselves. I hope in other ways, like the marketing, I hope we will never be forgotten.

Sebastien Ogier:
I want to add something quickly... I just didn't mention one thing. I made my mistake, but I want to say a big well done to Andreas and Anders, this was a proper win and I didn't say it. If it helps them to be with us next year - although also I don't know if I will be there! But these guys need to be there.

Questions from the floor

Q:
Andreas, what was your reaction when you heard about Seb's spin?

Andreas Mikkelsen:
We knew it was a big fight, and it would be a dream come true if I win this. We pushed like hell on that long stage and when I saw the time there was quite a lot better, I did get very happy. There was a lot of adrenalin, you never want other guys to make mistakes, you really want this to be decided on the last stage. I was so happy with our performance. I'm sorry for Seb, but he won so many times, this was my turn.

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