Sebastien Loeb [Citroen Total WRT]:

[At mid-day service] ''I wasn't getting Mikko Hirvonen's split times, so I had to push quite hard to make sure he didn't get too close. There was a lot of mud about, but we survived unscathed. There are still two tough stages to come and we will need to stay on our guard all the way to the finish. I tried to make sure we stayed on the road without taking any risks. Mikko took a fairly big chunk of time off us but everything is under control.''

[End of day] ''To have reached our half-century is nice, but it's just another statistic. To tell the truth, my thoughts are already turned to our 51st win! This rally went well for us from start to finish. Our C4 WRC handled perfectly, both on the loose and on asphalt''

Mikko Hirvonen [BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT]:

''I lost my chance of victory on Friday morning because I didn't drive well enough. Once the rally moved onto gravel, I was faster than Loeb and that's a big boost as there are now seven consecutive loose surface events to come. On the wet and muddy roads, our pace was pretty much equal but, on the drier sections, I was quicker and it's a shame that the heavy rain fell when it did.

''I made some small mistakes with my car set-up because I tried to be too clever. I will do things differently on the next round in Portugal. The last time I was in Cyprus, I finished more than five minutes behind Loeb so to bring that down to 27sec is good progress.''

Petter Solberg [PS WRT - Citroen Xsara WRC]:

"This is unbelievable! I cannot describe the feeling I had when I was standing on the podium today. I mean, third place with a private team in a private car! The guys in the team are so good, they have been working flat-out to get the car ready for the rally and, of course, during the rally. They all are amazing. And also a big thanks you to all my sponsors and Citroen. Notting of this would be possible without you!"
Daniel Sordo [Citroen Total WRT]:]

[At mid-day service] ''I had a much better feeling this morning. I am quite pleased with the way I'm driving, as well as with my time. I am completely focused on defending my position.''

[End of day] ''I stalled in a hairpin [on SS13] and dropped about ten seconds. After that, I thought it was preferable to make sure we scored manufacturers' points for Citro?n. The fact that Petter was ahead of us changed nothing on that front.''

Matthew Wilson [Stobart VK M-Sport Ford WRT]:

"It has been a brilliant weekend. I had a slow start on Friday as I struggled on the asphalt but the next two days more than made up for it. We put ourselves under pressure stalling on the long stage today and losing ten seconds, but that meant we went into the last stage with the pressure back on Ogier. We were three seconds up with a few kilometres to go and I think the pressure got to him and he ended up sliding off just before the end. This signifies a big step forward for me; we pushed hard during the weekend but we were always well within our limits and that's really encouraging."

Conrad Rautenbach [Citroen Junior Team]:

"I am really pleased to get to the end of such a difficult rally, This sixth place means that we can claim important points for ourselves and for the Citroen Junior Team. It is a good result."

Federico Villagra [Munchi's Ford WRT]

"It has been a great weekend and a great start to the championship campaign for us. It is really good to have scored both driver and manufacturer points in our first race of the season. It was a very difficult rally and I had to take it carefully on the muddy sections. We had a slight problem with the handbrake on the long stage today which made it very hard, [but] generally it has been a positive weekend for us and we had some good splits on some stages. The team has done a good job and helped us make some adjustments to the suspension and by the time we finished the car was feeling really good which is very positive ahead of Portugal next month."

Khalid Al-Qassimi [BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT]:

"It was a challenging rally. I was pleased with my performance and it's encouraging to see I've lifted my pace.''

Jari-Matti Latvala [BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT]:

''I was pleased with my speed this weekend but disappointed to make a mistake yesterday. This was my first time here so I'm happy to take away the experience of having driven all the stages. They were more difficult than I expected because there are so many changes in character, but they weren't as rough as I thought. I've learned another lesson here and I want to deliver some solid results over the next few rallies on a surface I like.''

Henning Solberg [Stobart VK M-Sport Ford WRT]:

"It was a very disappointing start to the rally as I was really looking forward to these stages. Things obviously got better. I had a good feeling in the car even on the tricky surfaces to the point where I set a second fastest stage time yesterday. It was very difficult with all the mud on the stages and sometimes it was hard to keep the car on the road. The most important thing was to score manufacturer points for the team and maintain my fourth place in the driver standings."

Notable retirements:

Sebastien Ogier [Citroen Junior Team]:

No comment

Evgeny Novikov [Citroen Junior Team]:

No comment

Team principals:

Olivier Quesnel [Citroen Total WRT - team principal]:

''It's been a perfect event for us overall. S?bastien's performance was stunning from every angle. As usual, he put in a perfectly paced run and started every stage with victory as his ultimate goal. At the same time he looked after his car which was put to a tough test on this terrain. OK, Dani didn't finish on the podium, but I asked him to make sure he reached the finish to bring us manufacturers' points. The fact that Petter Solberg finished ahead of him doesn't change anything on that score. We have a 16-point lead at the top of the standings tonight after the first three rallies. How could I not be delighted with that?''

Malcolm Wilson [BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT - team director]:

''I would like to congratulate S?bastien Loeb on the achievement of taking his 50th WRC win - but I've had assurances from Mikko and Jari-Matti that he will not reach the next landmark for a while! Mikko again did a fantastic job and, while Jari-Matti's problem yesterday was disappointing, he came back to set competitive times and score points for the team.''

Malcolm Wilson [Stobart VK M-Sport Ford WRT - team boss]:

"What a great drive from Matthew, he has shown true grit and put in a really determined performance. He has demonstrated maturity, especially when the fight was on with Ogier, and this is definitely a product of the long term plan we have. It goes to show that finishing rallies and gaining experience of the stages is really working for him. With Henning backing him up, it's been another strong team performance for Stobart; the hard work by the mechanics in getting Henning's car back in the rally has paid off."

Benoit Nogier [Citroen Junior Team - team principal]:

"It is disappointing for us to see only one of our cars at the finish. But the crews all set promising times throughout the weekend. Evgeny set off at a good pace this morning, but he went off the road during the first stage this morning and, sadly, he was not able to get back on. Sebastien had beaten Matthew Wilson and needed only a few hundred metres more to seal a good result. Conrad has been consistent throughout the weekend, allowing the team to score some important points. We are happy to score these points, which follow on from all the work we carried out last year. The next rally, in Portugal, should be a little bit easier for our drivers - who are all still learning."

 

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