by Rob Wilkins
TO HEAR THE INTERVIEW IN FULL WITH MARC VAN DALEN: CLICK HERE
OMV Kronos Citroen
team boss, Marc van Dalen was understandably a very happy man after Francois Duval's brilliant drive to second on the Rallye Deutschland recently. Crash.net Radio's
Rob Wilkins caught up with him to chat to him about that success and lots, lots more...
Marc, I have to begin with what happened in Germany and particularly Francois Duval's performance there in your second car. It was just outstanding. Congratulations.
Marc van Dalen:
Thanks a lot. We are very proud of this and very happy.
Since the second half of the season started, the OMV Kronos Citroen
World Rally Team seems to be a lot more competitive. Just what did you do over the summer break?
Nothing special at all - we have just been working hard together, in the same way as we always do with the driver, the sponsors, the team, Citroen, everybody, to try and come back. The gap at the beginning of the season was not so big but the WRC is so competitive if you lost two tenths here or one tenth there you are directly eight places off the top six or top five.
In Finland though, we saw that Manfred [Stohl – our regular driver] was back, even if he went off. The times were there and the performance of Manfred was very good. Now Francois has shown the car is on the level definitely everywhere and we have a lot of optimism now for the future. The next rally will be New Zealand and I am sure Manfred can do something good there.
How impressed were you with Francois' drive?
I think like everybody I was impressed because it is not only the question of being at the top but we have to remember that this guy has been without a good car for one and a half years. He only had 100 kilometres of testing before Germany and we arrived there in the rally and on Friday he was leading. It was a very, very good job. Honestly I haven't seen a drive like this since I was with Sebastien [Loeb] last year. It is unbelievable.
Manfred Stohl seems to have been a lot more positive in the last two events - what can he do in NZ? Is a top five or podium possible?
I hope we can get a top five. I talk a lot with him - and have said 'look what the car is able to do and now it is up to you'. I know Manfred can do it and he really likes New Zealand and I know also that the car is able to do something good there, so I hope altogether we can help him and push so that we go like we did in Germany or Finland. It is always difficult to be in the top three or top five but we have to try for sure.
Has Francois' form in Germany spurred Manfred on a bit?