Drivers: Mikko Hirvonen (BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team), Francois Duval (Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team), Petter Solberg (Subaru World Rally Team), Dani Sordo (Citroen Total World Rally Team)

Press conference:

Q:
We see a new evolution of the Ford Focus RS here in Germany Mikko. You tested it last week, how did it go?

Mikko Hirvonen:
It was okay, the test went well. The changes are very small. There are some new components in the engine and some changes in the weight distribution, but the rest is pretty much the same.
Q:
You were locked in a battle with Sebastien (Loeb) in Finland, and were pretty much in a rally by yourselves. Malcolm Wilson commented that he thought you had moved up a notch in terms of your performance - did you feel that?

MH:
It was a big fight indeed. In some places we were definitely faster than last year. I have to get used to such fights when I want to be Champion one year - maybe even this year.
Q:
You have yet to score a win on Tarmac; with S?bastien winning every event here since 2002 do you think it's time you had a bit of a look in now?

MH:
Sebastien has won since 2002, but it has to stop some year, and maybe we can stop him from winning this year.
Q:
You have safety crews this weekend and on all Tarmac events this season, giving you the latest information about the conditions in the stages. With such changeable conditions here, how important is that information to you?

MH:
It is very important, especially in Germany where conditions can changes really fast. When it rains, you have a lot of surface changes. There is talk about safety crews being abandoned for next year, but I really hope they don't do it. Abandoning them is not saving you a lot of money, only a few hotel nights. It is an important thing in terms of safety. Look at Formula One: when it rains, the safety car is out immediately and we have nothing. I think the safety crews are important.
Q:
With the Drivers' and the Manufacturers' Championships incredibly close, this could be a crucial weekend for Ford if they want to stay ahead; do you feel the pressure?

MH:
Actually, all the remaining rallies are very important now and we have to fight and do as well as we can. With three Tarmac rallies and three gravel rallies, anything is possible.
Q:
You are back with the Stobart team for Germany in a 2007 Ford Focus RS. You also tested last week - how did it go? Do you feel happy with the car?

Francois Duval:
I have been out for seven months, which is quite a long time. I only had one day of testing on Saturday and that was quite okay. The car is doing well. It is difficult to get back into the car and be competitive. This morning, it was the first time in the car in wet conditions and the Pirelli tyres are new as well, so it is quite difficult.
Q:
You have an impressive record on this event, having been second three times previously, and you have been Loeb's closest rival at this event finishing just 20 seconds behind him last year. Do you think you can win here or will Loeb still be too hard to beat?

FD:
This weekend, it is a bad situation for me as I am starting 11th. There is a lot of mud in every corner when it rains tomorrow, so it will be difficult.
Q:
You come back to the Stobart team for the remaining Tarmac rounds on the calendar - great for you to be back but I'm sure you would prefer a full time drive in the WRC. Is there any possibility of that for next year?

FD:
No, not yet. At the moment, the plan is that I will only be doing the Tarmac rallies with my new sponsor, but after Corsica, I will try to do the Rally Great Britain as well, and then we will look at the situation.
Q:
New car and new tyres for this event, and a lot to learn for the team ahead of another two Tarmac rounds in the second half of the season. This is a big event for you then?

Petter Solberg:
Yes, it is, but every weekend is very important for us. We have had two days of testing before this rally and made a lot of changes to make the car faster. Now, we have to see if the car is fast enough. There is still work to do. Shakedown went well, we didn't have any problems.
Q:
Everyone wants to see the Subaru World Rally Team back to winning ways. Do you think that winning is achievable before the end of the year with the new car, from what you have seen of its performance so far?

PS:
There is some more development that needs to be done. Everybody in the team knows that and is very open about it. We are trying hard, we are pushing when we are driving, but we still need to do more work. We have to get more consistency during the rally and throughout the rally. The team have done a good job with the dampers.
Q:
You have the Pirelli PZero tyre for this event in a choice of two compounds, but of course you are not allowed to cut them. If the weather is wet as predicted how tricky is it going to be on the stages?

PS:
If it is full rain, you should have cut tyres, that is for sure. The tyres have been working well all year, but sometimes you just need cut tyres for safety reasons. It is not good to go off the road and maybe hit someone.
Q:
What result do you expect here?

PS:
We start the rally and take it from there, let's just wait and see.
Q:
What is your impression of this year's rally?

PS:
It is the best we have seen here in all these years, a little less on the military grounds is good.
Q:
Dani we have seen a big improvement with your performance on gravel over the past season, and we know how quick you can be on Tarmac. But is there still more to come from you on this surface?

Dani Sordo:
I learn on every surface. I am happy to run on Tarmac.
Q:
Sebastien has won every event here since 2002, Francois Duval is also here this weekend and he has an incredible record too. How tough is it going to be to even get onto the podium this weekend?

DS:
Sebastien is always very fast, but here in particular. All the drivers will try to beat him, but it will be difficult.
Q:
Could you see yourself fighting for a win here?

DS:
Everything is possible, but it is not easy.
Q:
You will be able to select from two choices of compound for the tyres this weekend; hard and soft. How difficult will it be to make the selection when the weather here is so changeable?

DS:
The tyres are difficult for this event. When it is dry, it is no problem, but when it rains, you have a lot of mud on the road, which is a problem.
Q:
In the Manufacturers' Championship, it is quite close. How much can you contribute as a second driver in the team?

DS:
I will try to score points for the Championship. It is important to finish in the top three.