Rally Sweden Pre Event Conference


Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen MotorsportMads Østberg, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally TeamOtt Tänak, M-Sport World Rally TeamHayden Paddon, Hyundai Motorsport Q:You’ve had such success here over the years, are you feeling confident Jari-Matti?J-ML:It’s a rally I really enjoy, I like this event. It’s always nice to come to Värmland, it reminds me of home with all the snow. There are good conditions, although it may be a bit warm right now, but hopefully it will get colder over the night.Q:Just one WRC event we have on snow, how much do you enjoy driving here?J-ML:It’s a combined event between Sweden and Norway, the only one of its kind in the world. Basically it’s like driving on gravel in Finland, but you have snow on the side, which makes it a bit safer.Q:You had a specific goal in Monte-Carlo, which was not to win the rally – what is the tactic here?J-ML:Monte Carlo was a tactical race. I only focused on getting the points and ended up in second and it was fantastic. Here you can’t really start driving tactically. Then you don’t fight for the victory. But you also have to think about the championship, so we’ll see how fast it will be.Q:If it does snow tonight, how would it be – and if it didn’t, what would be the difference?J-ML:At the end of the day, you can’t choose the conditions. You just have to drive according to them, so we’ll see.Q:Mads, I’m sensing that you are feeling good, good preparation, good testing – are you feeling good?MO:Yeah, definitely. I’m feeling very good. I always look forward to it, but this time it feels a little less serious and more fun. The preparations feels good and we have a really, really good car. It was nice to actually see that what we thought was the best, was the best [at shakedown].Q:What’s the difference with the new car you have this weekend?MO:We have a new engine, which is a big step forward, and we have the paddle shift and some small aerodynamic changes to the car. We also have new rear geometry. You have to drive the car a bit differently, find some new setups, but for me it feels really good.Q:Do you feel good enough to go out there and challenge for the win this weekend?MO:I feel good enough to do my absolute best and I believe that my best is enough.Q:In terms of the conditions, is there any day that is stronger than the others, in terms on the level of snow on the stages?MO:I think to be honest the conditions are pretty similar on the stages. Basically I think it’s down to the weather on the day we are driving.Q:How are you feeling ahead of this weekend Ott?OT:Last year it was a good feeling to come back, the stages are really nice and fast and flowing. You just enjoy it and when it feels good it’s not that hard to do a good result here.Q:In terms of preparation, did your test go well?OT:I think we made a really good test, two days testing, quite different conditions on both days. The feedback we had was really good.Q:Now that you have returned to the WRC with a manufacturer, do you have a different perspective this time?OT:I try to do my best. The support you get from a big team like M-Sport is a really good feeling; the guys are helping us a lot. It’s really nice to be able to drive like this.Q:You tell us you’ll be doing your best out there this weekend, does that mean you’ll be challenging for a podium position?OT:It’s difficult to say. I don’t like to put too much pressure on myself but I feel really good.Q:Welcome to Sweden Hayden. How are you feeling ahead of the weekend?HP:We were here 2012. My memories from then obviously aren’t that great but I really enjoy the stages here. Some of the roads on the stages would be my favourite stages in the world if it weren’t for the snow. It’s a really nice rally.Q:Before the event, in terms of preparation, what were you able to do?HP:Obviously we did some small testing, unfortunately we only were able to do half a day, but we are planning and have goals for the whole season so it’s during the second half of the year we will put the foot down.Q:What will be the strategy for this one then?HP:These stages will hopefully suit us; we will have to make the most out of this race as possible.Q:Scoring manufacturer points, does that put extra pressure upon you?HP:Not at all. Our goal is always to finish the rallies first and foremost and it’s the same thing here.FIA WRC 2 CHAMPIONSHIPPresent:Yazeed Al-RajhiPontus TidemandQ:It has already been a busy 2015 for you Yazeed, starting the season at the Dakar – how did you find it there?YA-R:It was a long race, not easy to prepare but I was lucky. We did very well, had a very good team but unfortunately we got a technical problem and had to quit the race two days before finish.Q:WRC 2 and a full season ahead. But also the Middle East Rally Championship, cross-country events, local events – are you ever going to be home?YA-R:Sure we are busy, we do around 24 races so 2015 is a busy year, but it will give us a lot of experience.Q:You have won this event in the past – how are you feeling about competing this year?YA-R:We are ready to do a good result; hopefully we won’t have any problems. It’s not an easy race here in Sweden, I’ve only done it three times before, but I think we can have a really good result.Q:What’s the aim of the season for you Yazeed?YA-R:To learn a lot and have a good time to learn everywhere. I want to finish on the podium in every race and hopefully be able to win every race.Q:There is strong competition in this category – how do feel you compare to your rivals?YA-R:As you say, the competition is very tough, but with our experience now I think we have a good chance of winning.Q:Pontus, Rally Sweden I am sure is special for you as your home event, how are feeling ahead of it?PT:I feel good. It’s a great competition with a lot of good drivers so we need to be really focused all the way. I think the package we have with the car and the tyres is the strongest of all this week so I’m really looking forward to it.Q:Experienced co-driver Emil Axelsson is back beside you in the co-driving seat, you have been partnered before – glad to have him back?PT:For sure, Emil has a lot of experience and the aim of the season is to win all of the WRC 2. It is really important to have an experienced co-driver so it feels good to have him back.Q:You have tested ahead of the event, how did it go?PT:We have been doing two races in Sweden, and then we had the last test Monday. It feels good so we’re happy that the time is finally here.Q:What about the rest of the WRC 2 season for you? Will you do a full season?PT:We don’t have anything in place yet, but that’s the goal. It will depend on the results as we go along, so every rally is important.Q:We hear that the stages are in good condition? What are your thoughts?PT:This is my favourite rally; I like the character of the roads. If it gets a little warmer it doesn’t change anything; it’s the same for all of us.FIA WRC 3 CHAMPIONSHIPPresent:Ole-Christian VeibyQ:Ole-Christian, we saw you compete in Monte Carlo as part of the Junior WRC and now you are here as the sole WRC3 entrant. Firstly, how did you find Monte?O-CV:Monte-Carlo was quite an experience. We came there with no earlier experience from there, we made it to third place and were extremely happy with that.Q:What preparations have you been doing ahead of this event?O-CV:We don’t have any competition in the WRC 3 here, but we decided to enter anyway because we wanted the experience that it will bring to us. This is my home rally; fans, friends, everyone is here. I’ve been looking forward to this rally for a long time, and it’s going to be a lot of fun.Q:How much experience do you have driving on snow?O-CV:Snow is my best surface so far, but I can’t say I have that much experience of it.Q:Have you been taking any advice from others before coming here?O-CV:I’ve just done the same preparations. I have got a lot of advice from others but I think we’ll just do our own race, try to make a good result and be as fast as possible.

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