Team bosses: Jost Capito (Ford), Jean-Pierre Nicolas (Peugeot)

Drivers: Stephane Sarrazin (Subaru), Armin Schwarz (Skoda), Gigi Galli (Mitsubishi), Sebastien Loeb (Citroen)

Q:
Armin, Rally Germany again. Tell us what it feels like to be driving on your home event? Is it a different feeling?

Armin Schwarz:
First of all, we treat every rally the same way. Here, there is more pressure from the press and fans, but also more support. The fact that I know Baumholder from the past helps me a bit, because I know the tricky things, but the others are good enough, so I don't have too much of an advantage.

Q:
Is there any extra pressure ?

AS:
Yes, there is some pressure, but it is positive pressure. The weather is obviously the main thing here, everybody is talking about it. I will try to set a fastest stage time.

Q:
The big news from Skoda recently has been that Colin McRae will join the team for the Rally Great Britain - have you spoken much with Colin about the car? How do you think you will get on?

AS:
I think I don't get on with him at all! No, seriously, it will be nice to compete with Colin on his home ground. The Rally GB was the first WRC event I ever did, I like the event. We haven't spoken about it yet, but he is coming here, so we will certainly talk about the Rally GB.

Q:
Are you worried about him beating you?

AS:
I will be quicker than him, at least I will try. Colin hasn't been in a World Rally Car for a long time and we will have to work out a strategy that is best for Skoda as a team.

Q:
Do you think the Fabia will be suited to his driving style?

AS:
I think that the Fabia is suited for Colin's driving style and I have no doubt that he will adapt to the car very quickly.

Q:
Armin, you grew up here so nobody knows the local conditions and these roads better than you. What is the key to mastering these conditions?

AS:
The first key to success here is to have the right tyres at the right time. You have to be fast on many different characteristics and surfaces on one day and that is what S?bastien did in the last few years.

Q:
St?phane, last year, here and at Catalunya, you were on the same pace as the works-Subarus. At Monte Carlo, you weren't satisfied with the tyres. Have you made progess with Pirelli?

Stephane Sarrazin:
Monte for me was the first rally in the works-team and I had to learn a lot. Additionally, we were still driving the old car. Now, I have the new car and I have more experience. About the tyres, I have a good feeling. I prefer dry conditions. The most important thing is the balance and our balance is very good.

AS:
I would like to take the opportunity to announce here that I am having my last season in the WRC as a driver. I want to thank all my supporters, sponsors, industry partners, journalist and drivers for having had a good time. I have a young family and I want to look after them more than I have in the past. Moreover, there are some new opportunities waiting for me in the future.

Q:
Gigi, welcome. Last year you were leading Group N here - do you think you can show the same sort of pace in a World Rally Car?

Gigi Galli:
I don't think I can be as fast in a World Rally Car. It is our second race with a WRC and in the wet, it is very tricky, so I use the event to improve everything for the team and myself.

Q:
Is it a surprise for you to be driving here, where many people expected Gilles Panizzi to be driving?

GG:
I was happy, not surprised to be chosen for this rally. I am looking forward to the future and I am glad that Mitsubishi is giving me the opportunity to gain experience here.

Q:
Many Italian drivers in the past have said that asphalt is their favourite surface: do you prefer asphalt or gravel?

GG:
Ice and snow, I prefer ice and snow.

Q:
Gigi, tell us a little more about the Mitsubishi Lancer on asphalt. Can you see an improvement?

GG:
We did some tests with the damper and the centre differential. Personally, I have mainly been working on the driveability of the car.

Q:
The fact that Mitsubishi is nominating you for points here is a big vote of confidence. Are you close to a deal for next year?

GG:
Yes, being chosen for this rally seems to be a good indication. But to be honest, I don't really know. For me, the most important thing is to drive and to be able to improve. I don't think too much about the rest.

Q:
Seb, welcome. We were speaking earlier to Armin Schwarz as Germany is his home event. But do you consider this a home event for you too?

Sebastien Loeb:
It is not really a home rally, but it is the closest to where I live and it is the rally where I have the most fun and where I have achieved my best results. It is always a pleasure to come here. A lot of friends are coming over, it is nice.

Q:
Is that what has helped you be so successful here? What do you like most about this event? Is it your favourite rally?

SL:
What I like is that the rally is different from the others. It is not my favourite rally as it is very tricky. In bad conditions, I am usually good. I have won here three times and also in Monte Carlo, where conditions were also difficult. It is difficult to stay on the road, to know where you have to be careful etc. I want to challenge for victory again.

Q:
In Finland you finished second after a fantastic series of wins. How does it feel to be beaten when you are used to winning all the time?

SL:
For me, to be second in Finland was a good result. I was fighting with Marcus all the rally and I was happy, as I was more than a minute behind the leader after one day last year. You can't win every rally. Here, I think it is more a rally where I should be able to fight for victory.

Q:
Of course, Marcus was always going to be fast in Finland, but how hard do you think he and Peugeot can push you here in Germany?

SL:
I think that Marcus can push me very hard here, but he is not the only one. Every year, it was very close. Three years ago with Burns, two years ago with Marcus and last year with Francois. It is not really a rally for asphalt experts, there are a lot of drivers who can win here.

Q:
From what you have seen of the recce, how will this Rally Germany compare with the ones in the past, where you have been so successful? Is there anything new or different? What can you tell us about the condition of the stages?

SL:
Generally, the roads are the same. There is a little bit more gravel at Baumholder, but the weather will be the most important. If it is raining, it will be worse than last year, when we already had some stages with a lot of rain. I prefer less rain, that will make it a lot easier.

Q:
How about your future Seb, are your plans for 2006 any clearer? You have mentioned in the past that you would like to stay with Citroen if it would be possible - have they given you any indication of their future plans?

SL:
At the moment, I don't know what I will do next year. At the moment, it is a bit too early to tell. Nobody knows exactly what they are going to do, so I don't have a lot of offers yet.

 

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