Cyprus Rally: Post-event press conference

1st Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena--Citroen 2nd Manfred Stohl/Ilka Minor--Citroen 3rd Markko Martin/Michael Park--Peugeot Guy Frequelin, Team Principal, Citroen Q: This is your third win in three rallies. Your fourth win this season. Was this more...

1st Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena--Citroen
2nd Manfred Stohl/Ilka Minor--Citroen
3rd Markko Martin/Michael Park--Peugeot
Guy Frequelin, Team Principal, Citroen

Q: This is your third win in three rallies. Your fourth win this season. Was this more difficult ?

SL: It was difficult for the mechanics. I was very happy not to have any problems. The Xsara is very strong. You can see that, with Manfred in second place. It was a difficult rally. You needed to be careful with the car. It was not the most exciting rally for me, but not easy to finish.

Q: What was it like with a good lead? Was there more pressure than a close fight?

SL: It is always difficult when you are alone and leading the race. The manufacturer and the boss here (pointing Frequelin) hopes that you just finish the race. It is not the same pressure, but it is not easy.

Q: Is this the hardest of the rallies this year?

DE: No, it was not too bad for the pressure and the temperature in the car was okay this year.

Q: What about the work of a co-driver here in Cyprus?

DE: Not too difficult, because the stages are very slow. The more difficult ones are the fast rallies like Australia or Finland, where you need a maximum concentration. One mistake in the notes in Finland means you go out of the road.

Q: It is a very long time since a private driver was on the podium. How different is your car to Sebastien's.

MS: I cannot answer this question. Ask Mr Frequelin.

Q: Were you expecting to finish second here.

MS: No, I did not expect to finish second. But I think we had a fantastic tactic to save our car in the rough places and push in nicer places. That was good.

Q: Did you feel you had a chance to win?

MS: No, I wanted to keep my position and not destroy the car.

Q: When you thought it was possible to take second place was there more pressure?

IM: Yes of course. We thought: please let us get the car through the stage at every start of stage.

Q: Did you have any problems?

IM: There were no problems on the second day. We got the problems on the first day, but fixed them.

Q: You had quite a fight with Henning Solberg over the last two days. You passed him today. Why today and not yesterday?

MM: I think if you look there was no difference between yesterday and today. We tried really hard today. We managed to get Henning today. It was too late to catch Manfred, he had too much advantage

Q: You were one of the few teams not to hit serious mechanical problems. Was this part of the plan?

MP: I think losing 1m 40s on the first stage was a problem. Peugeot gave us a reliable car for the weekend. To lose one car on the first stage with Marcus, put us on the back foot and we really had to protect the eight points we gave them today. With Sebastien and Daniel taking 10 points they have reduced our lead (in the Manufacturers Championship) by two points.

Q: You mentioned a puncture. Was there any warning?

MP: Yes it went bang! These things can happen.

Q: Another win for Sebastien and Daniel. What are your feelings?

GF: I am very happy for the team. They showed me it is the third time they have won. It is difficult to beat them and the Xsara. I am also very happy for Manfred and Ilka. They showed that they can finish a rally in second position. With a little luck, why not win a rally.

Q: You have a two-car team, but the second one is not bringing a lot of points. How disappointed are you with the Francois accident?

GF: The accident like every accident is so stupid. I am disappointed. It is difficult to do a very rough and difficult rally. But in this position he was on the second leg it is normally easy for Francois to finish in the fourth Manufacturer scoring position and I am disappointed about this.

Q: Seb you won this rally by a big margin. How would Petter and Marcus have pushed you?

SL: This is difficult to know. We have no reference, We have a very good car, very good tyres and a good team. We will know more in Turkey.

Q: What do you think of the team's chances of the championship now?

DE: Why not. We won here. Not bad for the moment.

Q: Manfred. Tell people about your programme this year.

MS: This was my first event in a Citroen Xsara and I will make another six events. My next one will be Acropolis.

Q: You heard from Guy that a private entrant could win a rally. Do you agree?

MS: For sure the car has the potential to win. I am optimistic.

Q: You drove with Manfred in a variety of cars. How has Manfred developed as a driver and what's the difference with his driving in other cars?

IM: He is very strong in the head now. When we realised we could get second place, he was only concentrating to do that. Group N cars are a different world.

Q: You are second overall in the championship now. How far away is your first win with Peugeot?

MM: I don't know. We are still working with the engineers to come up with some solutions.

Q: What about your chances in Turkey and Greece?

MM: About the same as here. My main priority is to do a good job for the team and see what happens after that. I do not want to look too optimistic.

Q: What about the organisation of the event this year?

MP: The organisers are very good and Takis (Clerk of Course) and the team have worked very hard. They tried their best to run a good rally. The service park was a little cramped, but all in all it was a good effort this year. HQ are OK from what I have seen, so I think it was a good event.

Q: What is the future for Duval with Citroen Sport at the moment?

GF: It is sure that Stephane (Prevot, Duval's co-driver) does not want to continue with Francois. I have to think about this situation and cannot tell you more.


1st Brice Tirabassi/Matthieu Baumel-- Subaru

Now, for the final press conference of the FIA PWRC, we have the winning crew: Brice Tirabassi and Matthieu Baumel

Q: This was your first win. Did you expect to do this so soon ?

BT: It was a difficult rally. The objective was to take as many points as possible. I knew it was an event with many retirements.

Q: You had the lead for two days. Was there any pressure?

MB: The pressure was not so much getting the lead but keeping the lead. That was the hardest part.

Q: How difficult was it to avoid punctures?

BT: It was very hard to avoid punctures. I would like to thank Pirelli for making a strong tyre and I tried to avoid the biggest rocks.

Q: Are you both confident now about the championship?

MB: Our objective is to take 10 points on all rallies. Our first rally was New Zealand and that was not possible. Now we are fourth in the championship and we hope to move further up now.

Q: How do the Junior (JWRC) cars compare with the Production cars?

BT: The two extra driven wheels pout more demands on the brakes. We can drive more sideways than we could in a Super 1600 cars which requires a neater style.


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About this article
Series WRC
Drivers Sébastien Loeb , Guy Frequelin , Michael Park , Manfred Stohl , Brice Tirabassi , Henning Solberg , Ilka Minor , Matthieu Baumel , Markko Martin
Teams Citroën World Rally Team