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Q&A: Armin Schwarz - EXCLUSIVE.

You see then that the programme was quite spaced out, doing two rallies almost at once - and the rest of the year we didn't have much testing and our drivers' had like a two-month break before they got in the car again. That was not so easy for them.

Q:
Coming into this season, Andreas didn't have much experience in the WRC. How much do you think he has gained from doing these ten events? Has he come on in leaps and bounds?

AS:
Yeah a lot, you have to remember he hasn't been in any rally car until two years ago, when we did a driver search. He performed very well last year in a Group N car and it was a big, big change for him to get in a World Rally Car for this year. But he has done very, very well and has made few mistakes. So overall, his learning curve was good.

Q:
Has Harri's experience, having been with Peugeot and Mitsubishi helped him - and the team as a whole?

AS:
It always helps. First of all you need a strong team-mate to push you. If you have an experienced team-mate, you can watch and listen to set-ups to see how he is addressing things. And that of course helps the team too.

Q:
With the car this season you have obviously been limited with what you could change due to the regulations. But in spite of that, have you been pleased with the progress you have made with the Fabia WRC?

AS:
It would have been better with more progress. But we knew right from the beginning there would be no new homologation and no real new parts - and everything would be down to the set-ups. We knew the main thing was to make sure the drivers were happy. I know from my experience in the past, if you are not happy with your car, you are not confident and you won't get good times.

Q:
Looking to 2007, what's the latest, will the programme continue?

AS:
I would like to confirm something but it is down to a press release, which will come soon and I don't really want to give any information beforehand, because it is not up to me.

Q:
Any idea when we might see that press release?

AS:
I think it will be in the coming week.

Q:
Changing the subject slightly, in terms of you actually driving, you retired from the WRC at the end of last season. Have you missed it or have you been glad to take on a new challenge as a team boss?

AS:
Yes and no. I like to take on a new challenge, but I didn't really miss it totally [in terms of driving], because I have done some events [but not in the WRC]. I have definitely not really missed driving in the WRC.

Q:
Assuming the Red Bull Skoda programme does continue in 2007, what do you think you could do on the driver front? Will Andreas be back?

AS:
Andreas is fixed whatever the programme will be. He is backed by Red Bull and is a Red Bull driver and that is all I can say.


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Harri Rovanpera talks with Armin Schwarz
Harri Rovanpera (FIN) - Risto Pietilainen (FIN), Red Bull Skoda Fabia WRC. Wales Rally GB, 1st-3rd December 2006.
Armin Schwarz - Skoda Red Bull team director. Shakedown, 2006 Swedish Rally. Thursday, 2nd February 2006.
FIA rallycross action
FIA rallycross action
Ramona Karlsson
Ramona Karlsson
Jacques Villeneuve in World RX action
Dani Sordo (ESP) Marc Marti (ES), Hyundai I20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Dani Sordo (ESP) Marc Marti (ES), Hyundai I20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Mads Ostberg, Jonas Andersson (Citroen DS3 WRC, #4 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT)
Sebastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo WRC #1, Volkswagen Motorsport)
Mads Ostberg, Jonas Andersson (Citroen DS3 WRC, #4 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT)
Sebastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo WRC #1, Volkswagen Motorsport)
Sebastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo WRC #1, Volkswagen Motorsport)
Thierry Neuville, Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC, #7 Hyundai Motorsport)
Thierry Neuville, Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC, #7 Hyundai Motorsport)
Andreas Mikkelsen ,Ola Floene (Volkswagen Polo R WRC, #9 Volkswagen Motorsport II)

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