Together with Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish you became WEC Champion this year and did so in your first full season for Audi. Did you expect this success to come so early? When I had the opportunity to drive three races for Audi in 2012, I felt proud, but a season like 2013 is something you can only dream of. Im driving for the best team in the world and had Tom and Allan as team-mates, two absolute sports car legends. With that, we had very good chances, but we first had to use them and convert them into results. The pressure of being successful could clearly be felt. But my first full season with Audi couldnt have gone any better.
What does the WEC title mean to you in your career? Winning a Championship is always difficult. Thats why the WEC title is a nice reward. As soon as the FIA and the WEC had announced this new World Championship two years ago I wanted to win it at all cost. A World Champions title in ones discipline is a really special achievement for any sportsman. The WEC is one of five FIA Automobile World Championships. This year, three Frenchmen Sébastien Ogier, Yvan Muller and I managed to become World Champions thats a pleasant feeling.
How strong is the team thats backing you? The love of every single team member for our sport is impressive. It took me a while to get to know every team member but by now, theyve all become family to me. There is strong cohesion across the whole team and everyone backs each other. And whenever things dont go according to plan for a change, the whole squad pulls together to try and quickly move forward again.
You had two very successful, long-standing Audi drivers as team-mates this year. Who benefited the most from whom? Its a give and take situation. Maybe I learned a bit more from them than they learned from me. Their technical knowledge and years of experience with Audi no doubt were of great help to me. They know what areas to focus on, how to manage ones energy during the long Le Mans week, how to best deal with the media and much more. I contributed the working style Id previously learned in Japan. This mix was very productive and soon made for a good atmosphere.
Your best moment in the 2013 season? When I was on podium at Le Mans! Id always wanted to enjoy the view of the crowd because Id never been up there at Le Mans before. That was actually my main aim before ever thinking of victory. The joint success with Tom and Allan for Audi was tremendous.