WRC

Rally Argentina: Post-event press conference

Drivers: Carlos Sainz and Marc Marti, Citroen Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena, Citroen Francois Duval and Stephane Prevot, Ford Team principal: Guy Frequelin, Citroen Q: Carlos, you are now the most successful driver in WRC. Can you explain ...

Drivers:
Carlos Sainz and Marc Marti, Citroen
Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena, Citroen
Francois Duval and Stephane Prevot, Ford

Team principal:
Guy Frequelin, Citroen

Q: Carlos, you are now the most successful driver in WRC. Can you explain what that means to you?

CS: First of all I would like to thank everybody. I felt everybody was very kind to me. Thank you. The record is important, but more important than that is the victory and the way it came. On the last rally I didn’t feel so well and after that rally I wasn’t very happy. It was not my fault. Before this rally I thought I had to make a good rally and I did that. I won here 13 years ago, two years ago and I am winning again here is more important than the number. I would like to thank the team and Michelin. The car was great. I’m really happy to be part of this.

Q: Carlos, is your win here enough to keep you driving next season?

CS: That is something I have to discuss with my boss, something to discuss with my wife, which is my boss as well. It’s something I have to discuss with myself as well. I think, it’s something I don’t want to talk about now. We will see later in the year. We will see in September what is happening.

Q: Marc, you seemed to have everything under control, were there ever any problems?

MM: No, there were no problems at all. Of course I remember a lot last year. You never know in your life what can come again. In Spanish we have a saying which is: always come back. And now we have the victory which was close last year; I am happy for that.

Q: Seb, did you think you had any chance of beating Carlos here, or were you thinking more of the championship?

SL: Before the race I thought I had a chance, but during the race it was not possible. At the start of day two we tried to come back, but it was not possible. I was driving very well, but I did the same time as Carlos, not better, so I decided to save myself and get the points for the championship.

Q: Daniel, were there any problems for you. Was your 20-second penalty a worry?

DE: The car was perfect through the race. The 20-second penalty came leaving the service park, because they change something in the engine. It was better to do this because Carlos was a minute in front and Francois was two minutes behind, so it was batter for the safety.

Q: Francois, you’ve not got much experience of Rally Argentina. Did you have a plan when you started this event?

FD: No. my plan was just to finish. It’s only my second time here and 70 per cent of the stages were new for me, so third is good. After the accident for Markko it was important for me to finish in the championship points. I did that and made a small change to the championship.

Q: Stephane, what was the most impressive thing about Francois here?

SP: The stages near Santa Rosa are the fast ones, ones we hadn’t done last year, but we set some fastest times, which shows that our pace notes are really working well and that we have the trust in each other. We had the pressure to bring the car back to the finish and on such a tough rally he did very well to do that. I was very impressed with Francois.

Q: Francois, Markko’s accident was very bad. Do any of the drivers think anything can be learned from the crash?

FD: Just from the difficult stage, the crest said keep left and maybe Markko passed in the middle. The big stone hit the diff guard and put the car off the road. It was very fast, but the car showed very good resistance after a crash like that in sixth gear.

Q: Carlos, do you think anything can be learned from Markko’s crash?

CS: You can learn what everybody knows: motorsport is dangerous. Something can happen, we are very close to the limit and very fast. It’s nothing new, sometimes you forget that things can happen, but this is a dangerous sport.

SL: What we can see is that the notes in the recce are very important. He didn’t have the stone in the notes. We drive at 70 in the recce, but then we come at 180 in the race so it’s important to concentrate as much in the recce as it is in the race.

Q: Guy, you must be feeling quite confident about the manufacturers’ championship now…

GF: I’m very happy from this rally. First for Carlos and Marc, because they won the rally. Carlos is a very good emperor for us, for the team, to develop the car. He was very unlucky last year and I’m very happy for him now. I am very happy for Sebastien and Daniel, they have eight points more in the championship for the drivers and I’m very happy for the team because we are scoring 18 points for the manufacturers.

Q: Guy, do you think Carlos’s record will ever be broken?

GF: For sure it’s historic victory for him and also for us. We try to give him and give them a good car to do it. I hope for him it’s not the last one.

Q: Here’s a question for all the co-drivers. The rally was in winter not spring. What were the biggest differences and should we move back to the old date?

SP: I don’t know about coming at this time of the year. The stages near La Cumbre were more destroyed than last year, but I really have to say this rally has kept the same character from the first time I came 10 years ago.

Q: Daniel what did you think of the road condition and the route?

DE: This year there were not a lot of watersplashes, not as much as last year, but there was a lot of dust and this morning the sun was difficult for the drivers. Otherwise it’s not a lot to say.

Q: Marc, what did you think of the organisation?

MM: On a rally like this there are many, many people and to try and keep them off the road is difficult. I think the organisers made a great effort to keep the people out. It’s very difficult, but you must understand that it’s not like this in Germany or Sweden, we must understand that it’s impossible to control the people on a rally like this one.

Q: Carlos, you have been winning in Turkey last year, Argentina this year. Argentina was full of spectators, in Turkey there weren’t so many. Should we only go to the rallies with a lot of people, or is there a way to get rallies like Turkey to learn from this one?

CS: I think all the family of rallying, we are looking for a good championship. To have a good championship you need good rallies, not a lot of rallies. Part of what makes a good rally is the ambience. Obviously the market for the rally and the manufacturer is as important as the organisers. It has to be in a good market with a good organisation and a lot of people. The event itself needs to mean more to the people. Here in Argentina it’s a good market, organisation and with a lot of people. When you are talking about Turkey, Greece or Cyprus – they are in similar areas and maybe there’s not so much interest in the market, but there are other areas where there is the interest. The market is more important for the manufacturer and it has to be done by putting all of these things together. The future of rallies is maybe going to 18, but for me the most important thing is the quality not the quantity.

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Series WRC
Teams Citroën World Rally Team