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Q&A: Marc van Dalen - EXCLUSIVE.

by Rob Wilkins


OMV Kronos Citroen World Rally team boss, Marc van Dalen has been somewhat frustrated with the season so far. Here he speaks exclusively to Crash.net Radio ahead of the Rally d'Italia Sardegna and warns that something needs to be done to help the privateers. He is also none to keen on these super specials...


Q:
Marc, so far this season the OMV Kronos Citroen World Rally Team has scored 22 points. Have you been pleased with this?

Marc van Dalen:
On the one hand yes, because it is so difficult to be involved in the WRC this year. There are not so many teams and it is tough to do it. But on the other hand it is not like last year and we are a littlie bit, lets say, not really disappointed, but we expected better results. However I think the reason [for our performances] is very clear.

Q:
Last time out in Argentina, Manfred Stohl finished eighth. He said at the finish that it is getting harder and harder to compete with the full manufacturer backed teams. What can Kronos do to try and keep up?

MvD:
We are pushing like hell to try and convince Citroen to give us a stronger car. The problem is that the gap from the end of last year to now is very big. We think that the car can be quicker, because I am sure our crews are very good and I hope my team is working well too. So the problem is that the speed of the car is currently not enough. We need to try and find a solution with Citroen to have better parts to develop a quicker car. We need a quicker car to improve - that is a fact.

Q:
Has development on the Xsara been frozen then?

MvD:
Yeah it is, but there are little things that we can perhaps do to adapt the car better to Manfred. It is always Citroen who have prepared the car and who have done all the development before. But perhaps they have some parts we could use from the past. There are two options. One is they can help us a little bit and the second is - and perhaps they have already given all the best parts they have, and the gap between the end of 2006 and 2007 is bigger than expected. I don't know.

Q:
There were big logistical problems in Argentina after the Buenos Aires super special on Thursday evening. What lessons need to be learned from that?

MvD:
I think it is time to come back to the 'normal rally'. I've never liked these super specials because there is nothing to really see. It is not like the real rally. It is always the same. For me this is definitely not what rallying needs for its future.

It is time to come back to reality and also to do something to help the privateer teams. As you saw in Argentina we were the only privateer team there and it is not normal. It is urgent that everyone involved in the WRC understands that we need to help each other, especially to ensure that the privateer teams are there in the future. Otherwise it is not going to be easy for them.

Q:
Are you worried about the state of the sport at the moment then?

MvD:
Not really now, but in the immediate future, if there is only official and works teams involved there are not enough cars. Last year there was Red Bull Skoda and Bozian Peugeot and those teams are not involved in the WRC anymore. This is not normal. We are the only ones, the last one and believe me it is not easy. That means perhaps this is the last year for us also in the WRC. It is time everyone understood it is time to change some things and it is better to put money to help teams than to go to Buenos Aires for nothing. This is not what we expect.

Q:
Next up this weekend we go to Sardinia. You will be back to a two-car outfit. What is the target?

MvD:


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Manfred Stohl (AUT), OMV Kronos Citroen Xsara WRC and Marc van Dalen, OMV Kronos team boss. Rally Norway, 15-18th February 2007.
Manfred Stohl (AUT) / Ilka Minor (AUT), OMV Kronos Citroen Xsara WRC. Rally Argentina, May 3-6 2007.
BP Ford boss, Malcolm Wilson chats to Kronos Citroen boss, Marc van Dalen World Rally of Finland, World Rally Championship, 17-20 August 2006, Finland.
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