6 April 2014
Rally de Portugal: Nasser Al-Attiyah and Giovanni Bernacchini - Q&A
Nasser Al-Attiyah took the WRC2 victory on Rally de Portugal and here he looks back on the event, along with his co-driver, Giovanni Bernacchini...
Ford Fiesta RRC runners Nasser Al-Attiyah and Giovanni Bernacchini reflect after taking the WRC2 win in Portugal and beating Jari Ketomaa by 11.6 seconds...
Congratulations Nasser, that was a great battle with Jari Ketomaa. How do you feel?
I am really so happy to finish this race without any drama or problems. Okay, we have a really good weekend and we work for this race – this is the first WRC 2 race for us. Our target was to be top three and collect points, but we find ourselves in good pace and we try to keep going like this. Today was a good day for us, we were leading by 10 seconds before the last stage and suddenly we receive an SMS to say we were just 0.8 from Jari – we decide to push and we win by 11 seconds. This was difficult for us, it's easy to make mistakes when you are pushing to the maximum, but we are doing a good race. Giovanni [Bernacchini, co-driver] did a good job and the team and the Michelin tyres. We were really happy.
How are you adapting to this car after the World Rally Car?
I use a similar car in the Middle East for the last two or three years, but there the road is completely different to here, it is more open desert. Here you need to be precise and more focused. We are quite happy.
How much were you pushing during the weekend?
We push, but we don't say: “Hey, we are not pushing…” but we don't take any risks to damage our car. Okay, today the final stage, yes, I say we push because the gap was really zero. I am really happy to win the first race for me and now I'm looking forward to Argentina.
There's a lot of strong competition in WRC2 are you confident for the title?
I agree with you. This rally is really a hard rally and you need good experience for this kind of stage – it's the same in Argentina, it won't be easy. There are a lot of good drivers and the chance is open for everybody to fight for this Championship. We decide to compete in WRC 2 and our target is to win the class.
Giovanni, this is a special win for you…
I am very happy for me and Nasser and the team. Yes, for me it's a special win because I won here in Portugal – okay not overall – but the class; exactly 40 years ago my father (Arnaldo Bernacchini) won the rally here [with Raffaele Pinto] so for me and my father I am so happy. This is a special moment for me. My aim is to win one rally like my father. It's nice to win WRC 2 here, exactly 40 years after is a brilliant moment.
How was the weekend for you?
It was a great weekend, as Nasser said. We arrived to fight for the podium against many young drivers, but from Friday our pace and our condition and feeling was perfect. We improved stage-by-stage and we think we can do the perfect job here. This was a great fight with Jari Ketomaa. The last stage was a drama, we lead by 10 seconds before the stage and suddenly it's 0.8. I don't say this was not fair, but me and Nasser we tighten the belt and push like hell.
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