13 November 2011
Q&A: Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena
Press conference with Citroen's Sebastien Loeb and his co-driver Daniel Elena after they secured their eighth WRC title in Wales.
Driver / co-driver: Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena (Citroen Total WRT).
Sebastien, congratulations on your eighth FIA World Rally Championship title. Before we talk about what happened today, tell me what it means to secure Championship number eight?
For sure I feel very happy. It's a new record and until this week it was Michael Schumacher with seven and now we are eight. I know it's unfair to compare but everyone is speaking about it, but for sure I am proud of it and it's very special and it was also a special season. It was a really difficult one and there were a lot of battles everywhere. With every rally we had to fight against a rival, either Mikko or Seb Ogier, sometimes Jari-Matti. So to finish like this with some proud moments that we had, like in Germany, Australia and in France where we finally lost a lot of points and we had to start again from zero with two rallies to go. It is a proud moment to be here. It was big pressure – we had to give everything all the time.
Today we saw you retire on the road section heading toward the second stage of the day, describe what happened?
We had a narrow road section between the two stages with some crests. I was just driving and over the crest was a car in front so I brake and go to the side. But the problem was it was a Spanish driver and she went on the wrong side so she just had a bad reflex and we hit two cars at the front and broke the radiator.
How disappointed were you?
Daniel asked me in the car “are we finished?” and I reply “Yes, I think so.” But never mind, we are still World Champions. So we say “No problem!” We were not so disappointed. We came here to win this title, and that is done and that's the most important. For sure we were in a good fight with Jari-Matti and we had a lot of pressure, but it was just for fun. We have to accept it. If I had to choose one rally where this thing happens I would chose this, so it's okay.
How strong is your passion still for this sport?
For sure I started rally for passion and quickly I was able to drive for a manufacturer. And today I still feel the same sensation when I drive the car. I would say I really like driving, and the rallies, so that's my main motivation. It will not change my life if I have seven titles, eight or nine. It's just because I enjoy the moment and I like what I do.
Daniel, what does it mean for you to have your eighth world title?
It's special because on this event we really had to keep our concentration. We didn't know if we were fighting with Mikko or Jari-Matti and now I am very happy for this title.
Is co-driving still exactly the same than when you first started?
Yes sure. I love my job and it is my passion. When you are born in Monaco you have the Formula One and the rally, and I chose Rallye Monte Carlo because it is easier for me! I am very happy – I hope to continue for more years.
We kick off the new season in Monte Carlo. You must be looking forward to that?
Yes, Monte Carlo is my home rally like France is for Sébastien.
Sebastien, what is the next goal for you?
Second place next year! I have eight titles in a row and I can only have one goal and that is to win another title next year. I have no precise plan for what I do when I retire. I just hope I will stay in motorsport.
Questions from the floor
Q: Greg Strange (World Rally Radio, UK).
Sebastien, you have a contract for another two years with Citroën. Does that mean you are going for 10 world titles?
If you are asking if I can, I say I hope! I don't know. At the moment my goal is next year and after that I will see. For sure everything is possible
Do you mind who [team-mate] you drive with next year?
With Daniel no?!. No, it matters not who I drive with.
Q: Martin Holmes (Martin Holmes Rallying, UK).
Can you tell us about your plans for your Porsche team?
At the start of the season I was trying to get some contacts for racing, maybe next year, I just wanted to have the door open in case I stop rallying. But I decided to continue so I close this door. In the future I think the day I retire from rallying it will be difficult to stop competing completely. I would like to continue to drive a bit in different races. I have a little experience in racing and for sure I would like to drive something just for fun. It would be nice to live off my fortune, manage my own team and to continue to be in motorsport.
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