Drivers / co-drivers: Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai Motorsport), Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Motorsport) and Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Motorsport).

Team principal: Michel Nandan (Hyundai Motorsport).

Press conference

Q:
Congratulations Thierry on this fantastic win, win number two in your WRC career. We have waited a while to see the second one come and it came in style this weekend. How are you feeling?

Thierry Neuville:
It was different from our first victory, that was nice as well but one of the main competitors had to retire already. This weekend was different for us even if we knew we had good chances with the road cleaning and we like very much Sardinia, we knew from the beginning our chances were good to do well, we did not have any problems and finally we did well and we were able to win.

Q:
We were waiting to see the return to form of Thierry because last year it was a difficult season. You wanted this one to be different. It has been a hard start but everything just seemed to work well here. How was that?

Thierry Neuville:
First of all we had a problem free run, everything was working, we had no issues I would say and then, on the other side, I felt more comfortable than I have ever felt before, which makes everything easier to drive, you have more confidence, the pace notes are working better, everything was just easier, that is why I felt like we could push to increase the pressure on Jari-Matti.

Q:
Can we see the same kind of performance in Poland? Can you keep the momentum going?

Thierry Neuville:
Yes, if I am right I am seventh in the championship, so definitely it would be still helpful in the coming events, but like I said the feeling has to be the same, the car has to work like it did and then for sure we can focus on a good result in Poland or in Finland.

Q:
It was an emotional stage end, your fan club was there, and your family, but also you dedicated your win to a man and a driver who was very much your mentor, Philippe Bugalski. That obviously meant a lot to you.

Thierry Neuville:
Yes, today would be the birthday of Philippe, he was one of the main mentors to me, who invested a lot in me, a lot of time and help, and he gave me the chance to get in the WRC very quickly, so this is why I dedicated this win to him. It is a special win for me and especially on this day, 12 June, I am very pleased it worked out and as I said, this win is for him but it is also for Jean Pierre Mondron, who died two weeks ago, who was one of the biggest fans and one of the biggest supporters in my whole career; this win is dedicated also to him.

Q:
Nicolas, it is great to see you guys back in winning ways, it must be very satisfying to be back on the top step, how are you feeling?

Nicolas Gilsoul:
Yes, for sure, I am really happy to be here. It look a long time to go back on top of the podium, a lot of small mistakes at the beginning of this season but now I hope it is behind us. We can smile again and focus on upcoming events.

Q:
How did it feel to go into the final day with the 16 second lead, did you feel any pressure to get things absolutely right?

Nicolas Gilsoul:
To be honest, not really. The stages were quite short, quite narrow and according to me it was really difficult to do a huge gap on this profile of stage. I slept quite well, felt quite confident and I stayed focused on the job to get the victory with Thierry.

Q:
Keeping the momentum going is what we want to see but does this give you a nice boost of confidence moving forward to Poland?

Nicolas Gilsoul:
Yes, for sure. It was really good in the car. We were working well together and the feeling with the handling of the car was really great so I am confident for Poland, hopefully it will be as good as here.

Q:
We have seen a fantastic battle here during the weekend Jari-Matti; what was in the back of your mind this morning? Were you thinking much about good points and maybe settling for second?

Jari-Matti Latvala:
To be honest I knew that the situation was this when Hayden went out. We were getting in a strong position on the manufacturer points, that's very important for the team, so I started to think about them. I knew I really had to finish the event to score the points, because it was an important moment. And then I have to say that Thierry was really strong on the second passages on Saturday and also very good on Friday. I could not go faster, in my mind it was just to keep it right, not to take risks because I have damaged things so many times in this event in the past. Going into the final day I thought I would keep my rhythm but I am not going to attack because there is too much on stage to fight for. Like Nicolas was saying, in short stages, narrow stages, it is so difficult to make the difference and 16 seconds, these days, with similar cars... yeah, you cannot do it.

Q:
Does this result give you a bit more confidence? You talked about your championship hopes before the event and you have picked up good points here. Do you feel a win in Poland is possible?

Jari-Matti Latvala:
For sure, I mean I had rough times, I think last time I had a trouble-free rally was in Mexico in March so a long time ago. This gives more confidence and now that I am going to Poland I can keep it a little bit wider.

Q:
In Poland we see super high speed...

Jari-Matti Latvala:
Yes I like fast events, I like driving fast roads where you can keep going in fifth and sixth. Poland has not been the nicest event for me in the past because last year we got a touch with the trees so I do not want to experience that anymore, so I hope that it is past and we can have a nice event.

Q:
It was a fantastic battle we were watching, the lead changing hands constantly, was it very exciting for you guys?

Miikka Anttila:
Yes for sure, it was exciting for us in the car and for the spectators to follow this fight. I would say that yesterday afternoon when we went to service we thought it was perfect for us, no big slides and we stayed very nicely in the clean lines and still we were 10 seconds slower. At that point we knew it was not going to work because the thing is that if you are to catch the guy in front, first you have to be quicker than the guy in front to close the gap and it did not happen at that time. Then we had also the Monte Lerno stage in front of us and we thought maybe there we could but it did not worked out, so I think that was it, we knew then that this weekend it could not be the rally win.

Q:
Did you feel it was a different approach, going into today conserving what you had and making sure that you got to the finish?

Miikka Anttila:
No, basically we knew that our priority was just normal driving, 16 seconds is too much and already in the morning the boys were quicker. But anyway we are extremely happy for second place, as we said we had some rough events behind us but I think now we are getting into the race and we are looking forward to the next couple of rallies.

Q:
Seb, congratulations on third position. It has been a tough weekend for you but you have extended your lead in the drivers' championship; drivers who were quite close to you actually are not so close anymore, so it was a good weekend in that sense?

Sebastien Ogier:
Yes, so far it is six rallies in a row we have extended our lead, it is great, this is the main positive thing about this weekend. The other is we really have a good feeling, with Julien and the team, that we achieved the maximum we could this weekend. When you have to face these kinds of conditions it is not possible to fight more. I knew this from the beginning, even the podium was a great achievement and actually I had to fight quite hard to get this third place. Okay, at the end it now looks comfortable, like you said, my main rivals had problems yesterday and so from that moment I could relax more, but for sure I have to be happy for this rally getting these 18 points. This is another great step for the fourth title.

Q:
We were watching you closely on the Power Stage and there was a little mistake towards the end but you still set the fastest time...

Sebastien Ogier:
I think I set a new record here, and it is going to be hard to beat this one making the power stage win using the reverse [gear]! For sure it was a surprise still to be the fastest because the conditions were extremely difficult with the ruts and when I arrived I could not make the car turn. Luckily I managed to engage reverse very quickly so I did not lose so much time, maybe two seconds, so it is not the kind of power stage that I love the most. I often repeat I like clean conditions where I like to push but, yes, at least it was soft and you feel it cannot damage the car.

Q:
We were grateful to have you here this weekend, we feared that you may have to jump on a plane but luckily all is good?

Sebastien Ogier:
Yes, I think I have to congratulate my wife this weekend, it is nature that is going to decide obviously when, but I am happy that it did not happen during the weekend and I can go now at home waiting for the moment together. But for sure it was important to try to score points for myself, for the team. I also want to congratulate Thierry, I think he was really strong this weekend, obviously we did not get the chance to fight, but I was watching the fight he had with Jari-Matti, he did not give any room for Jari-Matti to catch.

Q:
We have seen a route change in Rally Italia Sardegna this year, what do you think about the event as a whole from a co-driver's prospective?

Julian Ingrassia:
Yes, it has been a good event, we are happy about this performance. Obviously there is something to adjust, maybe on the safety conditions, but for the crews it improved a lot from 2013-14-15 so a good point for that. We can still have a higher grade maybe for spectator places or stuff like this, but definitely we are going on the good way. We saw many, many people in the stages, in the city, in the power stage, in the service park and this is a great thing. But, as you said, my driver will soon assume a second P: a P for pilot and a P for papa. I want to ask all of you to participate. Who agrees that Mr. Neuville and Mr. Gilsoul had a great, great pace this weekend? Ok, we all agree. Who agrees that Mr. Latvala and Mr. Anttila had a great pace also this weekend? Yes, thank you, all agree. Who agrees that Seb and I had a great pace? And what about Mr. Mikkelsen? So it looks like it would have been great to have a battle for victory with five people and not with only two people. Let's think about it. Thank you.

Q:
Michel, congratulations to Hyundai for the win, a really fantastic win.

Michel Nandan:
It is great for the team, especially after Rally Portugal, and it is nice to have a win, especially with Thierry. I think he did very well all along the rally and the team performed quite well, everybody was really focused on the rally and did not do any mistakes, in the end it was okay.

Q:
Thierry had his success here and Kevin Abbring picked up his first WRC stage win, good, especially after a couple of rallies that were difficult for Kevin.

Michel Nandan:
It was true, it was not so easy for Kevin in these conditions because he had a lot of trouble. Thursday with the prop shaft and then a puncture, then he broke the transmission, so it was not an easy rally for him. Okay, nevertheless he managed to do a good time, a best time yesterday, a good time today. So I think it is good for him and keeps him motivated.

Q:
Dani Sordo has been consistently scoring points; he had a good weekend too.

Michel Nandan:
Yes, Dani is a driver who is always strong because he knows his limits and always brings the car to the end. And normally he is always in good positions, so he did a good job. It was not easy conditions for him, narrow stages for him, but I can say he did well.

Q:
And finally we saw Hayden Paddon with an accident on Friday. He seemed quite emotional about the fact that he had not delivered points for the team; how can you help him turn that around in time for Poland?

Michel Nandan:
We had a talk with him, he agreed he did a mistake, but things can happen. He has to turn the page now, he has to do well in Poland and I think everything will go well.

 

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