FIA World Rally Championship 2004 Neste Rally Finland FIA Post-event Press Conference 08.08.2004 1st Marcus Gronholm and Timo Rautianen 2nd Markko Martin and Michael Park 3rd Carlos Sainz and Marc Marti Corrado Provera, Peugeot Team ...
FIA World Rally Championship
2004 Neste Rally Finland
FIA Post-event Press Conference
1st Marcus Gronholm and Timo Rautianen
2nd Markko Martin and Michael Park
3rd Carlos Sainz and Marc Marti
Corrado Provera, Peugeot Team Principal
Q: It's the first victory for the 307 WRC. How hard did you have to work for it today?
Marcus Gronholm: "It was very difficult yesterday with the gearbox. We managed to come through, and I'm actually happy to be here because the gearbox today was a little bit noisy. But it's OK. Otherwise the car worked well, we had no other problems."
Q: You've won here three times before today. How does this one compare?
Timo Rautianen: "It's special because it's the first for the 307.The only thing that's annoying me a bit is that we did not win last year. Then this would have been the fifth in a row!"
Q: Markko, you came here in quite bad physical condition after you accident in Argentina. Do you think that cost you the chance to win here?
Markko Martin: "It's a shame we didn't win this year, because it would have been the second in a row! But yes, this was a difficult weekend, and I'm pretty happy with the second place. It almost feels like a victory actually. I think we took the maximum we could. I'm also pretty happy that the car worked well, and the tyre choices were spot on, so there were no worries from that side. It meant I could concentrate on driving, and for me it took a lot of effort just doing that. We got so many points from the weekend, so I think it's a good start after three bad rallies. Hopefully our season starts again from here."
Q: Michael, did the accident in Argentina affect your own performance. Did you notice any difference here?
Michael Parks: "I think it's fair to say that when we came here for the test that the first few runs were a little uneasy. It was quite easy for us to say before the rally that I didn't think it would affect us, but it clearly did. And I was ever so pleased when the first couple of stages went away trouble free. And it was quite easy from then on in to concentrate on reading the notes and doing the best job that we could. And I believe that this weekend, we did the best job that we could do. We're quite happy."
Carlos, did your win in Argentina give you more confidence before the start of this event?
Carlos Sainz: "Not really. Actually I think Argentina was Argentina. I knew straight away that I wasn't very confident for here. The test we had here was rainy, so I didn't know what we could do here. Unfortunately I was right. The first day was very difficult for us. We tried to make a few changes to make it easier. But the first change we did was not working at all, and we had to do the first three stages like that, not so good. After that it started to get a little bit better, then for yesterday and today we decide to leave it, and try to do the best. But in any case, Markko is very happy, Marcus is very happy, and I'm also very happy. Winning in Finland is not easy, and the global result is good, and as I said, to finish on another podium is good."
Q: Marc, Carlos mentioned that you had a few problems on the first day. What was your biggest problem?
Marc Marti: "The biggest problem was that in the test was raining, and we really didn't put the car in the set-up that you need. Here for Finland, you need a lot of confidence with the car. And if you don't have it, it's really, really difficult to drive through the stages as they are very fast."
Q: Marcus, now that you've won in Finland, how do you see the rest of the year? Is there still a chance for you in the championship?
Marcus Gronholm: "There is always a small chance but I feel it's very difficult because we are 24 points behind Sebstien, I think. It's a little bit too much. But we go Germany now, and I hope that we can also fight for a win there, and to be good in the rest of the rallies this season. That's the aim."
Q: Timo, the people that challenged you most closely here were Harri (Rovanpera) and Sebastian (Lindholm), was it the drivers or the car that was making the difference for Peugeot here?
Timo Rautianen: "I think as always it's a combination. We had a good test and tuned up the car so that it was suitable for the drivers here. But I think we could possibly have had a double or even a triple podium place for Peugeot here. OK, Petter (Solberg) was here to push us but, it was possible."
Q: Markko, the next rally is in Germany. You led there last year before you were slowed down by mechanical problems. How confident are you of winning now that the championship goes back to asphalt?
Markko Martin: "That was last year, so it doesn't count any more. We just go there and try our best I think. Our car and tyres should be a strong combination on tarmac, so I hope we can do well there."
Q: Michael, this is a good solid result for you here after a couple of bad rallies. Does this put you right back in the hunt for the championship?
Michael Park: "I think it's difficult to say we're in the hunt for the championship at the moment. You're right, we've had a run of bad results, three non-scoring results. We needed to get back in the points, and we've done a great job getting eight points this weekend, we're very happy with that. It means that we've taken some points out of Petter. Unfortunately we haven't really taken too many points out of Sebastien, because he still got quite a good result. So it means that we have to fight, and when we go to Deutschland, we have to start the fight there, and attack that rally from the start, and hope that we get a good result, and keep going like that."
Q: Carlos, your team mate Sebastien Loeb is leading the championship, but this is the second rally in a row that you've been quicker than him. Do you see that continuing for the rest of the year?
Carlos Sainz: "Well, at the moment I'm worried not just about beating Sebastien. I'm worried to beat everybody! I don't care what has happened in the last two rallies. We are looking to have good results for the rest of the year, to continue working with the team through the year, continue scoring points in both championships, and continue helping my team lead the World Championship and to try to catch up with Sebastien. But I'm not just running against Sebastien, I'm against everybody."
Q: Marc, What do you think Carlos's chances are of winning in Germany?
Marc Marti: "Last year it was not easy, but we did a good test this year. And last year each asphalt or tarmac rally was good for us, and I hope that in Germany we will stay on the top."
Q: Corrado, how does it feel to have finally achieved the first victory for the Peugeot 307 WRC?
Corrado Provera: "It's a feeling of justice. What I mean is, in spite of what has occurred to us technically, or with accidents, we knew that the car was good. We just needed the confirmation. We thought that we had it a couple of months ago, but in the books what will be written and said is that the first 307 win was in Finland. It's very, very important. Our mechanics were telling me that they had exactly the same feeling as they had in Sweden in 2000, for the first win of the 206. In a way this is exactly the same thing. Let's not exaggerate, it was well born, and we were suffering some stupid things, and some excessive enthusiasm of some of our drivers, as we have suffered here with Harri and Sebastian. OK, we have lost our opportunity of winning the title in 2004, and this was after the first eight rallies, where not everything worked as we wanted on many sides. But I said in Argentina that in spite of it we would attack the second half of the season with a lot of commitment to try to win. And we have started wining. I really believe that this car deserves more wins, and it was important for Marcus and Timo, important for the team, important for Peugeot, for all of us. We have never been lost, but please be aware that we are back."
Q: You said in Argentina that the championship for Peugeot is gone. Do you still believe that?
Corrado Provera: "I still believe it. It's true. Mathematically it's always possible, but I don't wish to imagine any bad things should occur to our competitors, who deserve the positions they are currently in. Marcus and Timo still have some real chances of becoming World Chamions for drivers. So we will be doing everything in order to help them. I think this is a glorious target, even though the major target, which is the Manufacturer Championship, cannot be reached. In any case, what we are aiming to do is now that we have started winning to keep doing so, as many times as we can. The target could be to win eight rallies in a row. OK, we are not Ferrari, but I think that Marcus is as good as Schumacher, and on top of this we are dressed in red!"
Q: Markko, from a personal point of view, rather than your car and tyres, do you feel you will feel fully competitive, on the basis of what you know at the moment in Germany?
Markko Martin: "I think we will see in two weeks time. I'm not a doctor, so I can't tell you that."
FIA Junior World Rally Championship Press Conference
1st Per-Gunnar Andersson/ and Jonas Andersson
Q: Did winning in Turkey give you a confidence boost?
Per-Gunnar Andersson: "Yes, for sure. And something in my head told me before the rally that I could win in Finland. Luckily this turned out to be true. We had a good, clean and friendly fight with Kosti Katajamaki and we were both attacking all the time. We had no worrying moments. Beating a Finnish driver at home was very satisfying and, so far, it is one of my best and most enjoyable victories."
Q: Can you make it three-in-a-row in Wales Rally GB?
Jonas Andersson: "Yes for sure, we will try."
Per-Gunnar Andersson: "Last year we did not have a successful rally in Wales, but this year I am sure we will do much better."
Q: Is it fair that you have to run behind 4wd cars that have re-started under SuperRally rules and damage the roads?
Per-Gunnar Andersson: "No it's no big problem."