Acropolis: Post-race press conference

Anthony Peacock introduced: Markko Martin/Michael Park (Ford) Carlos Sainz/Marc Marti (Citroen) Petter Solberg/Phil Mills (Subaru) Malcolm Wilson (Ford) Peacock: Markko, congratulations on your first win. After everything that has happened in...

Anthony Peacock introduced:
Markko Martin/Michael Park (Ford)
Carlos Sainz/Marc Marti (Citroen)
Petter Solberg/Phil Mills (Subaru)
Malcolm Wilson (Ford)

Peacock: Markko, congratulations on your first win. After everything that has happened in the past, how nervous were you today?

Martin: Thank you. To answer, I wasn't that nervous at all because luckily I had a quite big gap to the second place. Already these two guys were fighting quite hard so I had to make sure I still had a good speed. It wasn't too bad actually.

Peacock: Michael, it is obviously your first win too. What does this mean for you and for Ford? Is it the first time of many?

Park: Personally for me is absolutely fantastic as a dream come true and for Ford and everybody at the M-Sport I can only imagine how happy they are because it's a new car which is require a large investment, they put a lot of faith in young drivers and Christian Lauriaux and his team have made a fantastic car to win in only its third rally. It's a great achievement. So, I can only say, thank you, to everybody.

Peacock: Carlos, congratulations. Second and also second in championship, only 3 points behind Richard. Petter passed you on the last loop of stages, but was then delayed in Colin's dust. Do you think you could have gone in front of him again?

Sainz: Obviously it didn't go very well for Petter. He was pushing very hard took a lot of time this morning in the first stage. We used tyres with hard compound this morning but it didn't work, but after it wasn't too bad and I know from my experience that rallies are over only at the last stage.

Peacock: Petter, do you think that dust cost you second place? What happened?

Solberg: No, I had a small problem also early at the stage, but actually I didn't lost so many seconds. When I came behind Colin just before the finish I couldn't pass him and after a few seconds I just smash him into back in order to make him move away, but... That happens... That's rallying.

Peacock: Markko, the new Ford here appears to have been dominant. Do you think it is the best car to have on hard surface rallies now?

Martin: I must say, if you look at the last three rallies times that we have been competitive everywhere. I think that the new Focus is competitive everywhere and we will see it on tarmac too. Our team has done absolutely fantastic job. It took a while to get reliability but at this rally we have sawn that our car is extremely good and also very reliable. We didn't have any problem this week at all, so it looks good for the rest of the season.

Peacock: Marc, you're nearly half way through your first season co-driving Carlos full-time. How has your relationship developed? Do you know each other well?

Marti: From time to time I need to learn more from everybody. Until the end of the season not only the relationship between us, but also with the car will be even better. We are learning, we are pushing and we are trying a lot of things. I am confident for the rest of the season.

Peacock: Phil, you and Petter are in a stable environment having signed until the end of 2006. How much does this help you achieve results like this?

Mills: It helps quite a lot actually. In this side of the business you just have to concentrate on your job, and on what's going on what's going on out of the windscreen for the next three years, so that's very important.

Peacock: Carlos, you last drove the car under these sorts of rough conditions in Turkey, where you won. Has the car improved since then? Is there still some work to come on rough gravel?

Sainz: I think everybody can see how tight the championship is this year. We have four manufacturers here battling absolutely with a lot of possibilities for everybody to win, tree different cars on the podium, Peugeot was also very fast, and to win a rally is not so easy. So, Citroen is works very hard to get the car as good as possible and as you can see, the rest do the same.

Peacock: Petter, yesterday at one point you were just 6,7 seconds from the lead, after stage 10 then a transmission problem. Do you think you could have won this event?

Solberg: My plan for the rally was to start quite sensible the first day, push hard on the second day and to come close to the lead, but unfortunately we broke a driveshaft and we lost over one minute and the third day go flat out. It was a nice plan but it didn't work exactly how I planned it. I must say I am happy and got some points. That's very important for the championship.

Peacock: Michael, probably one of the most spectaculars moments on this rally was on SS5 when the bonnet flew open. Did you think Markko would still be able to drive? How much can you actually see from inside the car?

Park: When the bonnet initially came up it was quite a surprise, but we never thought about stop and put it down. There was not a lot of visibility out of the car, but thanks to Markko we managed to do the stage and only lose 6 seconds to the fastest time. I think that's quite an achievement.

Peacock: Phil, there has been some criticism on the way the superspecial stage was handled on Friday night. What happened? What sort of things can be done to stop problems like this happen in the future?

Mills: It was handled differently I must say. It was obviously fault to put water just a few minutes before the start of the stage. We started the stage as instructed, and then it was cancelled immediately behind us. I think we all have to be rewarded for this, and since many have run the stage their times had to be count -as they normally do with canceled stages- so the night overall would be different. But, these things happen.

Peacock: Malcolm, this must be a very emotional moment for you. What is the secret of the remarkable speed of this new Focus?

Wilson: I think Markko has already mentioned the speed of the car. We saw the performance also in New Zealand and Argentina. I always predicted that this would be our first victory with the new car. We had a very good test here thanks to the recces and we managed to solve most of the little technical issues that hit our progress on both previous events. In one sense, I am very happy for Markko, but I am also sorry that this win came twelve months behind the schedule. I think everybody knows that he is the true winner of this event last year.

Peacock: You told Francois at the start of the rally that he was free to go as fast as he liked. Do you regret that decision? Could it have been o Ford one-two?

Wilson: No, Francois on the last few rallies is trying to get the feel of the car and to gain experience. This event we felt that it was a good opportunity to basically let him drive how he wanted to drive. I think the performance was there for all to see. From my point of view, OK, it is disappointed that he didn't finish, but I am quite pleased it wasn't an accident; it was due to a mistake in pace notes, so I believe that the youth policy is starting to pay off and I think that we will be in a very strong position with these drivers next year.


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About this article
Series WRC
Drivers Carlos Sainz , Petter Solberg , Michael Park , Marc Marti , Malcolm Wilson , Markko Martin
Teams Citroën World Rally Team , M-Sport