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PWRC: Q&A: Andreas Aigner.

Driver / co-driver: Andreas Aigner and Klaus Wicha (Mitsubishi Lancer).



Press conference.


Q:
Andreas, congratulations, you are the 2008 FIA Production Car World Rally Champion. How does that feel?

Andreas Aigner:
It feels fantastic. I know what can happen here especially in these tricky conditions. I nearly passed Juho (Hanninen) on the first stage and I know he must have had some problems and then he started to climb back up and on the second one he let me pass without any problems and he was very, very fair there, so the Championship was there then - so we tried to be in the top three to keep our chances alive and it worked perfectly the whole weekend.

Q:
Juho retired so the pressure was then on you to get the position you needed to win. How did that feel?

AA:
It was quite hard in these conditions because the top six cars were going very quick so we had to push very hard all the time on Friday and also yesterday. Today we tried to slow down a little bit. We took some risks to keep in the top three and had a few moments but no real problems. I think for this event we had a very good car.

Q:
Were you nervous going into the final stage?

AA:
For sure I was very nervous because the conditions were quite slippery but I know 48 seconds to Guy Wilks normally must be enough and then I see Patrik Sandell stopped on the stage and I passed him. So after then I drove slower but started making a few mistakes because I couldn't get my rhythm.

Q:
Andreas your title rival of course was Juho Hanninen, who retired, but I believe he has been in contact with you since you came over the finish line?

AA:
Juho called me after the podium and congratulated me and, yes, I feel sorry for him with the problems he had from the very beginning, like getting stuck in the water splash. I was lucky though to get there too because we had a misfire a few kilometres further on. But like he said, that is rallying and this happens all the time.

Q:
It has been your best year in PWRC which has resulted in the win; will this help your cause for 2009?

AA:
Yes, I hope that I can use this victory to take the next step in a WRC car and that I can show my speed there. I hope we can find a package with my sponsor Red Bull.

Q:
Klaus it has been an incredible year for you both, one of the best you have had together. You came to the final round and you were on the back foot really. Were you confident you could take the title away from this event?

Klaus Wicha:
Confident is maybe not the right word. We had to push straight from the start. The best thing would be to win but when we saw the entry and especially the guys from Britain we thought it may not be so easy. So we said, okay, we will do everything we can and like Andreas said before when Juho retired it was hard to concentrate on keeping third place because later we had a small spin. But at the end of the day we were quite confident.

Q:
Have you been impressed by the improvements in Andreas' performance?

KW:
I have followed him since the driver search in Austria and we are driving together since 2004 except for one year when I drove with Armin (Schwarz). But you can see that, yes, he has got more experience and you can see him getting faster. It was a good choice to choose him as the leading driver in 2004 and I think now he is World Champion in Group N and hopefully he can show his speed and confidence and experience in a World Rally Car.


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Andreas Aigner (A) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX
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