WRC

Swedish Rally: Pre-event press conference

FIA World Rally Championship Uddeholm Swedish Rally Media FIA Pre-event Press Conference 10.02.2005 Present: Francois Duval -- Citroen Mattias Ekstrom -- Skoda Harri Rovanpera -- Mitsubishi Henning Solberg -- Ford Marcus Gronholm --...

FIA World Rally Championship
Uddeholm Swedish Rally
Media FIA Pre-event Press Conference
10.02.2005

Present:
Francois Duval -- Citroen
Mattias Ekstrom -- Skoda
Harri Rovanpera -- Mitsubishi
Henning Solberg -- Ford
Marcus Gronholm -- Peugeot
Petter Solberg -- Subaru

Interviewer: Welcome to the press conference. Joining us are Francois Duval and Mattias Ekstrom. Francois, you retired in Monte Carlo how well prepared are you for this event, is the car easy to drive?

Francois Duval: Too early to tell. The car is going really well, but the conditions have been changing since I came here, so it is difficult with the settings. But I hope it goes well.

Interviewer: Mattias, It's is your first time in a world Rally car. How well prepared are you?

Mattias Ekstrom: I did some testing in Finland in December. And done some testing here in Sweden before the event. And I think I am quite well prepared. I have lot of new things to learn but I think I have a good chance.

Interviewer: Francois, last year your teammate Sebastian Loeb showed that the Xsara could be a winner on the snow. Do you think you will be challenging for victory yourself?

FD: I don't take to many risks it is not necessary. The road conditions are quite bad. I prefer to take some points for Citroen.

Interviewer: You have some experience from this Rally in a Group N Car. How relevant is that experience is that to driving a world rally car?

Mattias Ekstrom: It is good some experience but you can't compare a group N car with a world rally car. It's a big difference in handling the car and the power. I think you need to collect kilometres to get a good feeling of the car.

Interviewer: We welcome now Harri Rovanpera and Henning Solberg. Harri, you have driven in the past in this event. How are the conditions as you can se from the recce comparing from the past?

Harri Rovanpera: It is the first time there was no snow at all. It is difficult for the tyres of course. But now it is coming soft snow and I hope it will be freezing, that would be better for everybody.

Interviewer: Harri, to keep the studs in the tyres, will that be the biggest problem?

HR: Yes, and after that to keep the car on the road.

Interviewer: Henning, What do you expect to achieve from this event?

Henning Solberg: It's my first time in this New Focus so it was a good experience for me to go to the shakedown. I had a good feeling immediately about this car. It was very difficult; it was a lot of snow. But the car works well and the tyres is good.

Interviewer: Harri, Podium at Monte Carlo for Mitsubishi, does the same possibility exists here?

HR: I really hope that, we had a good testing just before Christmas. First time with a new kind of suspension here. But I can't say how it will be this weekend and this weather. We will se tomorrow.

Interviewer: Henning, It will be a lot of attention on the fight between you and your brother Petter, Do you think you can beat him?

HS: I don't know. I have to wait and see. I didn't have so much time to test. I think everything can happen this weekend.

Interviewer: We now welcome Marcus Gronholm and Petter Solberg. Marcus, The biggest issue before this event is the amount of snow. Do you its going to be a problem, is it going to be acceptable?

Marcus Gronholm: It was snowing during the night and it looked quite good in Hagfors and I hope it will be some minus degrees tonight. It can be quite ok I think.

Interviewer: Petter, What are your impressions, will it be a normal Swedish rally or do you think there will be problems?

Petter Solberg: Luckily it started to snow, but we don't actually don't know how the stages will be. But I think it will be good.

Interviewer: Were you worried during the recce? Would you think that the conditions would be a problem?

PS: No not really. Nothing is a problem we just have to deal with every circumstances on each event.

Interviewer: Marcus, you have quite a record on this event. Why do you have so much confidence on this event?

MG: I don't know. I like this rally. I have been here many times as a private driver so I know this rally quite well and than we have the first win in 2000 and since than it has been a good rally for me. I think my chances are good. The feeling is quite good.

Interviewer: Petter, you have always wanted to improve on snow. Do you think you can still improve in this area or are you happy with the way things are going?

PS: I have a quite smooth driving style compared to Marcus. But obviously I have been improving over the last few years. And it is just something I have to learn. I have a good feeling now. I think I have a good chance to win.

Interviewer: One thing that's new here is that Peugeot and Subaru has three cars. Marcus, is that good or is it to push the resources to far? Should all the teams have three cars all the time?

MG: I think it is good for the young drivers to get the opportunity to show what they can. It is also good for the people. It will be more cars. It is a good idea. Yes, I would like to see all teams with three cars. But it is a question of money. It is difficult.

-fia-

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Series WRC
Teams Citroën World Rally Team