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New Zealand - Pre-event PWRC press conference.

Drivers: Evgeniy Vertunov (Subaru Impreza WRX STi), Chris West (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX)


Press conference:

Q:
You are the 2007 Russian Rally Champion – it's your first full year within the PWRC; have you been pleased with your performance so far?

Evgeniy Vertunov:
Not really. In Greece and Turkey I know my results could be better. I made a few little mistakes. After that I had only sixth place in both races. I know I could be better.

Q:
Has the competition been tougher than you expected?

EV:
Yes it's tougher. To compare with last year, there are more drivers who are going really fast.

Q:
Your best result was fourth in Japan last year – can you better that here in New Zealand?

EV:
For this rally my aim is to be on the podium. I know it will be hard to do. The roads are almost the same as when I was here in 2007. I hope I can fight for the podium.

Q:
How do these stages compare to the ones you have at home?

EV:
We don't have anything like this. It's hard to compare it with anything.

Q:
How was the test on Monday?

EV:
Good. Here we will drive the new car. In Greece and Turkey I drive N12 car, but here it's N14. It will be good for these roads – it's not so hot or rough as Greece and Turkey.

Q:
Is there any news on next year for you?

EV:
Now I focus on this year. After this rally we will decide what we do next. This rally is very important for me.

Q:
Chris you have a wild card entry for the PWRC here in New Zealand. It's a great opportunity for you to pit yourself against the rest of the production field…

Chris West:
Absolutely. Both Hayden [Paddon] and myself have been fortunate enough to represent New Zealand on the home WRC event. It's up to us to turn it into the result it deserves. We're looking forward to the event. It's a great spectacle be part of and it's also a round of our home Championship.

Q:
There is always a battle to be the top New Zealander; could that be you this year or will Richard Mason make it three in a row?

CW:
I think it's not unstoppable. Richard is strong here, he puts a lot of focus and resource into it. We have been in the same position in 2006, but retired, and last year we stayed out of the Championship and we came to put some miles of testing in on the car, ready for this year. I hope it's third time lucky for us. We've got some good machinery, some good gear. I hope it's our year, but let's wait and see.

Q:
The winter has been quite bad here, how has that affected the stages?

CW:
I'm sorry to have to say this, but I think it's going to be the roughest rally we've seen for some time. That's down to the weather. It's really softened up tomorrow and Sunday. Even though it's sunny, there's going to be a lot of stones exposed because the roads are quite soft. Saturday's stages are in good shape, though. Okay, they're soft, but they should be good for those drivers further down the field. Put it this way, I wouldn't want to be running number one with all of that gravel around.

Q:
Do you think it's going to be one of toughest events?

CW:


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Evgeny Vertunov (RUS) Georgy Troshkin (RUS), Subaru Impreza WRX STI, Subaru Rally Team Russia
Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul - Hyundai New Generation i20 WRC
Hayden Paddon (NZL) John Kennard (NZL) - Hyundai New Generation i20 WRC
Dani Sordo (ESP)-Marc Marti (ESP), Hyundai New i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Dani Sordo (ESP)-Marc Marti (ESP), Hyundai New i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Thierry Neuville (BEL)-Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Hyundai New i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Thierry Neuville (BEL)-Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Hyundai New i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Dani Sordo (ESP)-Marc Marti (ESP), Hyundai New i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Thierry Neuville (BEL)-Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Hyundai New i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Thierry Neuville (BEL)-Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Hyundai New i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Dani Sordo (ESP)-Marc Marti (ESP), Hyundai New i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Dani Sordo (ESP)-Marc Marti (ESP), Hyundai New i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Dani Sordo (ESP)-Marc Marti (ESP), Hyundai New i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Thierry Neuville (BEL)-Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Hyundai New i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Thierry Neuville (BEL)-Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Hyundai New i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Thierry Neuville (BEL)-Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Hyundai New i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Dani Sordo (ESP)-Marc Marti (ESP), Hyundai New i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Dani Sordo (ESP)-Marc Marti (ESP), Hyundai New i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport

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