WRC

Rally Australia: Pre-event press conference (part 2)

Continued from part 1 JD: Right Markko can I start with you first if that's okay? I did hear that Peugeot are going to announce their second driver for next year, well they were going to announce it last week but then they had delay it...

Continued from part 1

JD: Right Markko can I start with you first if that's okay? I did hear that Peugeot are going to announce their second driver for next year, well they were going to announce it last week but then they had delay it because of that PSA announcement. You don't know who it is do you?

MM: No. I can't help you.

JD: Not at all?

MM: No, unfortunately no.

PS: He's very tall, blue eyes.

MM: Honestly I don't know. They've been asking the same question for the last six months.

JD: Yeah I know and I still can't get an answer so I thought I'd try again. Do you, in your own mind, even if you can't tell us, have a clear idea next year of where you will be and what you'll be doing?

MM: I think the situation at the moment is very changeable so its like you know, there is a game where the music plays and the people are just going around and when the music stops everybody has to sit down but one is missing a chair so I think it could be very much like that in the championship and when the time comes there may be some surprises to some people that there is no chair and I just hope that I am not the one who is standing up when the music stops.

JD: Did that announcement last year by @!PS: A, did it make it easier to make your decision about next year or more difficult?

MM: Its difficult for everybody, it is not good when two top manufacturers are pulling out. It is going to make a big hole in the Championship in the whole shell so I think that you should be worried actually.

JD: Oh I am. That's why I am trying to ask, because I've got negotiations to make I hope. It makes you think about all the decisions that you have to make in life about where you'd like to be, about the car that you'd like to be driving, there is still somebody higher up who is going to make the decision and you can't control it.

MM: I just have to hope that I have good management who can take care of it, all you need is good management.

JD: Listen are the pace notes in shape this year?

MM: Yes, they're good but let's wait until the stages.

JD: Are you writing out pace notes at the moment because they weren't quite on the mark last year were they?

MM: No they were not good. We made changes to it to make it better and I know it has been one of my weaknesses, really the weakest event in the championship and I have to probably try double hard to do well here but I really would like to try and make it happen.

JD: Okay, listen I wish you the best of luck over the weekend and also the best of luck with that stuff for next year. So Petter you're going to win this weekend because you've borrowed this title from Marcus who is the out and out expert and master of Australia... he told me to say that earlier on. So you had the title just for one year, last year, because he's going to win it back this year so you can't win it.

PS: Well, you know it looked like it wouldn't happen when I stopped into the poles this morning but obviously I am going try the best I can. The car felt very good this morning but I have a good feeling here. The conditions are going to be very difficult and it is going to be very tricky and that fits me very much so. I know there are many other people here who are hungry to win it but I think it is going to be one of the best yet, I think it is going to be a hell of a show.

JD: Listen have you and Seb got a thing going about the sixth win (victory) because you're each on 5. Are you trying to stop him from taking the sixth and the last because you want to have a bit of bragging rights for next year?

PS: It's just a number but of course it is going to be good fun. I think Sebastien wants to do it also.

JD: Is six important?

PS: Sex is important but not six.

SL: Six is important because it is a record but we will not beat the record this year because everybody is sixth. It is not the most important for me. The most important is to do a good rally and I think it could be very interesting.

JD: What happened last year between you two because the lead changed hands on Saturday morning, Sebastien you had it for a while, where did it go?

SL: I had the lead in the start yes but Petter beat me and he won the race but it was a very good fight and it was so close and this year I will try to win for sure.

JD: After last year you can't let him win this again. He needs to win something back, he's a proud guy. To win this one, he'd call the record, take the Championship home and he'll never come back.

SL: He won the Championship and I lost on the last round and this year is different so I think even if we don't win here, he will be here next year. We'll see. It is very difficult, very tricky and there can be a lot of mud with the weather and we'll see. It is very difficult to know who will be the faster.

JD: The weather has been very upside and down today, that's my only gag for this afternoon there won't be anymore. Has it left you with difficulties in the places like fast corners with a bit of water, a bit of mud because that's where it can get fun.

PS: It wasn't fun this morning but of course it gives you an idea that a small mistake and you are finished so you have to keep so focused and that's maybe what I needed before this rally -- it was like a small warning, you know, don't take things too easy. What's happening is always mean to be. There was a reason I think.

JD: And what was the reason? You were losing concentration or you were just getting a little over confident?

PS: You never know, it can easily happen and you can get too much confidence. It is good sometimes for everybody to get something like that.

JD: Sebastien, have you socialized with Petter this year? Have you met away this year or do you have a picture of him pinned up at home that you throw sharp objects at? What has the relationship been like because it has been a two horse race.

SL: At the World Rally Championship we have a good relationship between drivers, everybody speaks altogether and we see each other 16 times in the year and we can speak a lot in the year.

JD: Marcus, you've got two World titles, he's got one and Markko's still working on his first one. You've got three wins down here so you're the grand daddy of them all. So do you like the conditions that we have here in Perth this weekend?

MG: Normally it is not raining here so it is completely different. Maybe it can change tomorrow because it is drying very quickly and it is windy also.

JD: So it makes it worse for you, I mean normally you prefer....

MG: Normally I prefer dry weather..

JD: Finland is a little bit like Australia, can't understand anybody. It is similar, the condition, the roads?

MG: The speed is the same maybe but a lot of trees close to the road, but it is more difficult here for me.

JD: Back in Cyprus when you had the difficulty with the water pump your boss Provera said "will we give up? -- never!" It was a very famous moment. But have Peugeot given up?

MG: No not yet, we are still fighting for next year and there are no thoughts that we are going to give up and I want to come back and win the title next year and we are fighting for it.

JD: What was your reaction when you heard the news?

MG: I was surprised that they announced it now. Okay I knew that it is important next year to show some results.

JD: Because you're whole career has been with Peugeot so what do you do?

MG: I don't know, back to my farm maybe. No I don't know. The plan was to drive next year and the contract was to the end of 2005 so I'll see how it is going next year.

PS: I think anything is possible. They (PSA) have been talking about retirement but Malcolm did it and he got maybe not the best deal but a good one to stay in the Championship and hopefully he will go for a win so I think he is a fighting person so I think, you know, he has pushed very hard so we had to find a solution. Everything is possible. Doesn't matter how dark it is and I just hope something can be sorted.

JD: Did you hear us talking about Malcolm and Ford committing long term to the World Rally and the fact that now that makes Ford and him the best team thinking furthest ahead in the future and I said to him so have you had a few phone calls from one or two drivers who might be out of contract in 2006 and you're the only one who wasn't interested Petter.

PS: The important thing is long term and it doesn't matter if you're a driver or a team you have to think long term to get the maximum out of the team or the drivers. And the other thing I think is very important is for FIA and the manufacturers to think long term Citroen have planned, you know, build a rally car, you sell many millions to get is absolutely perfect and now everything is up in the air, nothing is down on the table. We are talking to professional people here who want to do things properly and they need everything on paper. Then they can to it properly and it is the same for the drivers and also for the rallies -- no changing anything because if they are changing rallies and dates you know, all the teams have to spend more money and sort out new hotels, and that absolutely pisses me off to be honest with you. The rules they are changing all the time you know.

JD: You see Sebastien he's off already so I'll just stop him. For you, it must be frustrating. In Corsica you're World Champion, you come to Australia and you're looking for a job.

SL: Yes, but the decision like you said nobody knows what can happen, things change but here it is not so nice as it was in Corsica and for me I started with Citroen and have been driving with Citroen since I was not professional and we are world champion together this year and now to stop it is not nice. We had a nice project for 2006 with a new car and now I'm looking for a job here.

JD: In New Zealand you were saying to stop tampering with these regulations.

MG: Yes, I've said it many times. Something like Petter said, it would have to be stable and not changing things every moment.

JD: Markko, you're keeping quiet at the end there but you do have your points of view.

MM: Yes, I was just wondering. It is good to see that Petter can do his job on a press conference for the longest speech.

PS: I love the sport very much and that's the reason why I'm saying it and it's the best for everybody.

MM: It is clear that everything Petter said, it makes sense and in every business I think you need some stability and if you keep changing your plans all the time then nobody knows what's going to happen.

-fia-

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