Cyprus Rally: Post-event press conference

Corrado Provera (Marlboro Peugeot Total) Marcus Gronholm and Timo Rautiainen (Marlboro Peugeot Total) Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena (Citroen Total) Markko Martin and Michael Park (Ford Motor Co) Q: Marcus. Congratulations. This is the first...

Corrado Provera (Marlboro Peugeot Total)
Marcus Gronholm and Timo Rautiainen (Marlboro Peugeot Total)
Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena (Citroen Total)
Markko Martin and Michael Park (Ford Motor Co)

Q: Marcus. Congratulations. This is the first win with the Peugeot 307 WRC. Is this the first of many?

Marcus Gronholm: "I hope so. It looks quite good now after the first win. The fight is hard and it is never easy to win. We are going to try and win many times more."

Q: You were close to winning in Sweden and New Zealand. What made the difference here?

Marcus Gronholm: "In Sweden we had a problem with the car and in New Zealand I had some troubles. I was on the roof sometimes. We had no clutch for two stages, but it was not too bad. We had less problem this time."

Q: Timo. Tell us about those problems that Marcus mentioned?

Timo Rautiainen: "We were quite scared about the clutch at the start of the stages. We did not know how to do it. We started with the starter engine and then had neutral in and had high-revs and first gear. We were afraid that the gearbox would not handle the problem. We took the first choice, but were quite scared to admit."

Q: When you saw two stages uphill you must have been worried?

Timo Rautiainen: "We knew they were uphill from the recce."

Q: Sebastien. An excellent second place, but do you think you might have been able to fight for victory here?

Sebestien Loeb: "If it difficult to say no. It was difficult to come back. We lost a lot of time, but after this morning it was imposible to come back."

Q: Daniel. You had problems with the first gear. Anything you were really scared about?

Daniel Elena: "Yes this morning the car started to burn at the end of the stage and he had to put out the fire."

Q: So you are pleased to be here?

Daniel Elena: "Yes..."

Q: Markko. Third place. Are you pleased by that because some people said that you might win the event?

Markko Martin: "I'm definitely happy with third place on this rally. I was leading the championship and was first on the road. It always looked like I could take a good position, but I was not quite quick enough to take victory. We had good reliability.

Q: Michael. A lot has been said about how tough this rally is. What about the event from a co-driver's side?

Michael Park: "I don't think it's a particularly tough rallly on a co-driver, but I will say it's quite boring reading the notes here. You don't get any excitement like you do on a fast rally it's the same 2L, 2R, 20, 3L, 2R and it goes on. Every now and then Markko has to give me a nudge to wake me up to get the next notes out. It's a little like that for the drivers as well."

Q: Marcus. You have a one-point lead in the championship. How tough is it going to be to stay in the lead?

Marcus Gronholm: "You cannot take a big gap now with the new points system. You need to finish and be reliable and sometimes make good times and you can fight for the championship."

Q: On the last day you had an advantage. How nervous were you?

Timo Rautiainen: "Actually before the two last stages we were quite confident. We were talking and we thought the team personnel were more nervous than we were. To the last stage the car was working fantastic and we heard no extra sounds. It was easy to start the last stage with a 50s lead."

Q: Seb. Cyprus is the first of the rough rallies. Now you have had chance to see the performance of the Citroen here, what do you think of your chances on the next two rallies?

Sebastien Loeb: "We had a good result here and were really fighting with Marcus and Markko. We were third. The car seems to be good. I think the car is not bad. We had no problems on this race and that is the most important. It will be important to finish. We retired in Mexico and lost a lot of points. Now we have to finish."

Q: How hot was it for the teams?

Daniel Elena: "This year it was better than last year, because it was one month difference. I prefer this, because for the driver and co-driver it is very hard."

Q: Markko, how confident are you of winning Greece again?

Markko Martin: "Third place here gave us a better chance. It will be a good fight, for sure, but you cannot be too confident. It will never be easy. I cannot see anyone running away with it. It will be as big fight for three days."

Q: The series is close. Do you see it staying like this all year?

Michael Park: "I really believe it will stay close. These three drivers and Petter have been at the top of all the rallies so far. These four drivers I believe will make up the podium for the majority of the rallies to come. This was one of the toughest rallies in the calendar, because of the road conditions and the heat. Reliability is fantastic now. You really struggle to get retirements."

Q: The start of the season wasn't easy. Is this the start of a long series of victories for Peugeot?

Corrado Provera: "We hope. It took us eight rallies before winning with the 206. It only took us five with the 307. It showed the experience has been used by the engineers. We knew the car was faster, but we needed it to be reliable. I am not satisfied. I am pleased that Marcus won, but I am not pleased with the minor problems we had and it would have been nice if he could have driven more comfortably on Saturday and Sunday. Harri, perhaps, could have finished third. So it shows we still have a lot of work to do. We have to keep working. We aim to win more rallies this year. Our target is for Peugeot to win the Manufacturers' title, but I would also like to tell you about my personal target for Marcus to win the Drivers' title. We will try hard."

Q: These rough rallies were the weak link with the 206. What do you feel now?

Corrado Provera: "Even here the under engine protection was not tough enough. In spite of the experience we have, we made mistakes and we will try to solve them. But this shows that we still have something to do. These guys around will try to catch us again and the battle is to stay ahead."

Q: Marcus, was it more important for you to finish the rally or win the rally?

Marcus Gronholm: "To win was more important!"

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About this article
Series WRC
Drivers Marcus Gronholm , Sébastien Loeb , Timo Rautiainen , Michael Park , Daniel Elena , Corrado Provera , Markko Martin
Teams Citroën World Rally Team