by Rob Wilkins
Red Bull Skoda team principal Armin Schwarz may not have had the easiest of years in his new role since hanging up his helmet in the WRC, but the German has enjoyed the challenge. Crash.net Radio
caught up with him at the Rally GB, with only two stages to go, to get his thoughts on their form in Wales - and the season as a whole...
Armin, so far the Rally GB hasn't been going too bad for the team…
Yeah not too bad, Harri [Rovanpera] is running without any problems – the car has been fine. To be honest though we were a bit sad to lose Andreas [Aigner] on stage 5 [on Friday], because we thought he could do a good run here and have a good result. We are therefore down to one car, but the rest is OK.
Harri is ninth at the moment [with just two stages to go] - he is only one place off the final drivers' point, so a solid performance from him really?
Yeah that is true and we have one manufacturer point – which is not too many. Here in Britain though it is always a difficult rally, you have rain showers, then it is drying up and it is a very fast rally. Tyre choice is very difficult too. It is a very competitive rally and you have to be on it all the time.
Looking at the year at a whole, what are you thoughts? The results have been a bit mixed and I guess the Rallye Deutschland was probably the highlight?
It was, but we could only concentrate on spots with our testing and preparation and everything. At the beginning of the year I think we were very good in Monte Carlo and Sweden, the times were very good. In Sweden we had retirements with Andreas and Mattias [Ekstrom], but the times were fantastic there.
When we got to Sardinia and Greece it was a little bit difficult because we could not really prepare anything. We had the wrong set-up right from the beginning and we could not really test anything in between.
The two tarmac events we had to put Harri in for Corsica when Gilles [Panizzi] decided to stop rallying. Harri's first event was therefore Corsica and he doesn't really like tarmac. Andreas was still learning and I think he learned very quickly, because we then came to Germany and it was of course a fantastic result there. He showed what potential he has, how motivated he is and how talented he is.
Getting to Cyprus we had bad luck, both cars stopped after the first stage with an electronic problem. In Turkey again we had very good stages times from Andreas, very promising, but Harri struggled a bit with the car there and now we are here [in GB].