Rally Australia Winners' Conference

With:

1st - Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Motorsport1st - Julien Ingrassia, Volkswagen Motorsport 2nd - Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Motorsport 2nd - Miikka Anttila, Volkswagen Motorsport3rd - Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Motorsport II3rd - Ola Floene, Volkswagen Motorsport IIJost Capito, Team Principal, Volkswagen MotorsportQ:Win number 22 of your career and your sixth win this season, congratulations! Plus the fact that Volkswagen has sealed the manufacturers title - that is a good weekend Seb!SO:To be honest, of course it’s a great feeling. I was saying on the podium that as a rally driver we tend to be a little bit egoist, but first we work for a team and a manufacturer and we have a great one in Volkswagen. I am really happy to be on this podium today. This is the first one-two-three and we fight for it. We knew there was a possibility. We are three great crews in this team and from a personal point of view this was a great one and one that I have to fight very hard for. I congratulate my mates Jari-Matti and Miikka, they kept the pressure on us all the time and we had no time to react. And it’s great to celebrate with Andreas and Ola as well, without them we wouldn’t be able to make the one-two-three. They have been really strong, okay today they were able to be in cruise mode a little bit, but before that they were very strong. This is a great achievement for the whole team.Q:An intense battle throughout the weekend, very close competition between many drivers - how would you rate this victory?SO:That was a really good one. The pushing started on Friday morning. Fortunately the first day was not too long, it was less than 100km and one of the stages was part of shakedown – that made a difference, on the first day that one [stage] saved the first day for me. And then, in the mud, I ended the day as leader – I was a bit surprised by this. Day two was really good. I made a better tyre choice than Jari, still not completely right but at least better than him. We struggled with the meteo forecast. I managed the gap, but this was not an easy job. Jari was in a strong rhythm and I needed to keep the pace high. I did what I had to do. I am really proud of this one especially after some difficult weeks which I mentioned at the press conference. I did some work on myself with my motivation, which was not so strong. I had more ambition and motivation than in the last few weeks. I want to thank some people who helped me, especially some people in the team. And I want to take this moment to dedicate this win to Jost, who was the person who helped persuade me back. So thanks Jost, it’s nice to be back on the podium.Q:And it’s good for the Championship…SO:Of course. I mentioned the manufacturers’ and we can celebrate this, but personally this is a great step for the drivers’ [title]. We are 50 points ahead and one victory will be enough. That’s the plan in France, but first I want enjoy this one and then focus on France. I have fantastic memory from last year and it’s possible again – but this time I need the victory. Let’s wait and see. I will have the same approach and try to stay clever and be fast and strong. I will not have to give absolutely everything to win, a podium will be good.Q:This is a great result for you and Seb in the Championship?JI:Yes…Q:But it’s been a tough weekend after the crash in Germany?JI:Yes. Seb mentioned it; after the crash I was a little bit shaken, it took me some time to recover. We had for 10 days before coming here. Then I arrived here perfect. You know when you fit yourself inside this race car then you can’t have the fear inside of you. Everything has to be perfect. On the first loop of shakedown, there was a strange feeling – but I expected that and I was aware of my sensations. It went very well for the whole weekend. I’m very happy.Q:Jari-Matti, would you say the tyre choice yesterday afternoon was the pivotal point in this event?J-ML:There were two moments on this rally, the first was when we had a problem with the brakes and we lost over seven seconds to Sébastien on the first stage. Then on the second day, I took the wrong tyres. We had the same meteo inside the team, but all three drivers went with different choices. Sébastien drove perfectly on those stages, he did a brilliant drive and I couldn’t match him with the soft tyres at the rear. Maybe I should have thought a bit more. I can’t change though, it’s history. This is a big boost from this rally last year though. Last year we were fourth and one and a half or two minutes down.Q:What do you think of the Championship?J-ML:The chance is getting weaker, but nothing is over until it’s over. As long as there’s a chance then we keep the fight on. I’m really looking forward to going to France. I like driving on tarmac and I like Rallye de France. The performance here with Miikka worked really well. Miikka had a fantastic rhythm and if we can maintain that and take the same feeling then we have a good chance to challenge again.Q:You didn’t have splits in the car today. Why not?J-ML:Today I didn’t take the splits. I told the team I would concentrate on my driving. If we don’t have splits next year, maybe it’s good practice! It was good for me to mentally do my best and only concentrate on the driving – it’s good to do this. I didn’t think about the performance of Sébastien or anybody else, I just focused on my own performance.Q:Second is a great result Miikka, but are you a bit disappointed?MA: Like Jari-Matti was saying, last year second would feel like a win, but yes, I am slightly disappointed. But if you try your best and have all the chances in your own hand and you don’t take them out, then you have to be disappointed. I am disappointed, but I’m really happy for the whole team. Jost and all of us, we have done a fantastic job.Q:There was a great atmosphere in the service park…MA:This is one which will stay in the memory for a long time – it’s a great feeling to be part of such a great team.Q:Andreas, third position here and a podium ‘lock out’ from Volkswagen, quite a change from the last round. Happy with the result?SO: He was there the rally before – it was us that were not!AM: Coming into the weekend my aim was to strengthen my third place in the championship to help manage that gap to fourth place. At the same time being on the podium with my four team-mates is an amazing feeling. It has been a difficult event and difficult tyre choices, but overall the energy behind the team is just amazing. If we can show this with a one-two-three and sign off with the Manufacturers’ Championship then you can’t ask for more than that. Q:Were you happy with the pace? AM:On day one and two it was really good and I looked forward to fight with Kris Meeke today. I felt comfortable and felt ready for that, but sadly when he was gone from the fight our day became about bringing the car back and we managed that quite well.Q:We saw you fighting with Seb in Poland, are you ready to fight at the front regularly?AM:I feel more and more ready. Looking back to last year, I had to fight like crazy to do the stage times that now feel normal. The next thing I needed was consistency and I feel we have that now. When you have that then you can push a bit more and then stay constant there and then push some more – building it step by step. We have been close some of the time this year, but my main aim has been to make third in the championship. If I can do that then after that I will go all out to catch these guys.Q:Ola how do you feel?OF:It’s good. I should have the big smile, I don’t know what to say. Since Kris [Meeke] end up in his position yesterday night it was a bit disappointing to wake up with a one minute gap – I don’t like it like this. I like to fight. But, for the championship, it’s great. We have to think about the position and I am very proud and very happy.AM:Ah, I do have fight for something. Ola is not third in his championship – I will fight for him.Q:You have been mean to him this weekend Andreas… the snakes? Ola what happened?OF:The mechanics made a joke and did it perfectly. I went into the car after the start ramp – it was dark and we started the car and I was opening the road book and concentrating on the paper. He was screaming and I saw the snake coming though the dash, with the lights on it looked like it was alive… nobody opened the door so fast. Ever!AM:It was perfect!Q:Jost, Volkswagen seals its second Manufacturers’ Championship and its first 1-2-3 here in Australia - you did it in style this weekend!JC:Yes. It’s really overwhelming. I can’t find the right words, but nobody is prouder than me – I just love you guys, I really love you guys. We are such a great team, with such great team spirit. These guys are friends, you know they are sitting down for breakfast and then lunch and dinner together and then you go and fight each other very fairly. We don’t have to give any team orders and I have never seen a team like that. I am so proud of you all.J-ML:I have to say thanks to Jost. I gave him a very hard time in Germany, putting the team in a difficult position at home when I crashed with one minute in the lead. This is a hard time for the team, but I am really happy now to see this result, it can change the feeling. It can completely turn it around.JC:I would like to dedicate this one-two-three and the manufacturers’ title to the over 500,000 Volkswagen employees globally who support us and help us to make it possible that we can be here and do not envy that we spend the money to be successful. We dedicate this one-two-three to them.QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOORJost, how big a contrast is this to Deutschland? JC:I can’t say the contrast was bigger. We were very happy Andreas and Ola were on podium, but that was the first rally with zero points from the team with Seb and Jari-Matti which was disappointing.What pressure was there on you after Germany, Jari and Sébastien?J-ML:After the mistake it was very hard, but I did a lot of work with my mental coach Christophe Treier and I was over it soon. Coming here I thought about the mistake, I was really motivated. During the recce I was a little uncertain – it was a corner I went off when I made a change during the recce and my mind was not right. I knew I had to focus a lot more on the recce. It was a little excitement on the first couple of stages, but it felt really good to drive. I felt the concentration and focus was a lot better. Sometimes you have to have these wake-up calls.SO:It’s never easy to be back after the big crash. Luckily we have the test and that brought me the chance to get the rhythm and find it again. But the best way is to drive again flat out, put that behind you and do the normal job. I was really focused and we made it again with Julien. FIA WRC 2 CHAMPIONSHIPPresent:1st - Nasser Al Attiyah1st - Giovanni BernacchiniQ:Nasser, congratulations on the win here in Australia! Great points for the Championship, tell us about the weekend?NAA:I am so happy to be here in this rally. This is my first time here. It was not easy. When we came for the recce, it was looking really difficult, but we started well and we found good pace. We kept that with no mistakes and after we started to plan every stage. I am really so happy, it helps our work with the championship.Q:Many of the Championship contenders were here this weekend and competition was very close, there were some great battles. Were you feeling any pressure to achieve the win?NAA:Actually, when we came there is no pressure, but okay you know always it’s so difficult when you come first time and make new notes. It’s totally different from when you know the rally. But okay, we tried and the plan was really good. I am quite happy to win this race.Q:How much were you on the limit this morning in the battle with Yazeed Al Rajhi?NAA:No actually, you know Yazeed did a good job and I feel sorry for him – he retired. But you cannot go maximum from the first time. In the morning we changed our work with the pace notes to at least have better notes for the second run. Really we were careful not to do any mistakes – if we stopped in this race it would be game over in the championship.Q:Which events do we see you on next, how are you feeling about the Championship itself?NA:I have good feeling. We have good experience in Spain, we have been there two or three times and I love the GB rally – this is a very special rally. We must be clever in Spain rally and finish in the top three; this will help our work in the championship.Q:Giovanni how do you feel coming here for the first time?GB:I am very, very, very happy. For both of us, it’s the first time here. We tried to make as many points as possible for the championship and to try to win. It was very difficult as there were many strong competitors here fighting at the top of the championship. But we won and that’s a fantastic feeling. This is out third win and the chance for the championship is quite high, but we still have a big fight. We cross out fingers.Q:It’s been a great fight, looks like it’ll go down to Wales?GB:Honestly this is the perfect season – four or five drivers can still win the championship, everything is open and possible. For the people and the spectators this is very exciting.Q:What do you think of this rally?GB:I like this place very much. This is the second time I have competed here in Australia. The first time I competed in Perth, but that was totally different. The stages were very nice and the place and everything is fantastic.


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