FIA WTCC Race of Argentina Post-qualifying Press Conference

With:

José María López, Citroën Total WTCC, first position

Yvan Muller, Citroën Total WTCC, second position

Sébastien Loeb, Citroën Total WTCC, third position

Tom Chilton, ROAL Motorsport, fastest Yokohama Drivers’ Trophy contender

Q:

You finished 2014 as the champion and you now start the first race of the season from pole position. How are you feeling?

JML:

It feels great to be honest. It doesn’t matter how you finish the year, it doesn’t prove it’s going to be the same the year after. Everybody work hard, everybody is competing but we arrived to a track we knew. The only thing I can say it’s a track I wish to begin the championship was this one because it’s the one I know the most and the one I can give my 100 per cent. It was difficult, very hot and we didn’t have too much time to work on the car because of the rain yesterday. So it’s very important to start like this.

Q:

Pole position gives you first place on the grid for the first race tomorrow. How will you approach it?

JML:

The approach is the same as today, to do my best, to work with the car and see how is going to be the weather. It’s always important the start and it’s going to be especially interesting with the heat. You can really feel the heat in the car in qualifying and that will be the main concern.

Q:

Second place Yvan but are you happy or frustrated?

YM:

Happy yes and no. Yes because after Q1 I was only P8, I was really not happy with the balance with my car, the track has changed completely and I was really struggling to find the balance. And no because second place is good but it’s not as good as first place. In the end it’s good but I would liked to have been better.

Q:

What’s the plan for beating your team-mate tomorrow?

YM:

We try to do a better start than him and then keep him behind but it’s much more easy to say than to do.

Q:

A Citroën top-four lockout in qualifying, what does that say about the performance level of the C-Elysée WTCC?

SL:

It means that the car is really good. We started the year again with everybody at the same weight and it seems it’s strong and this is a very good point for us to start the new season, it couldn’t be much better to be top-four in qualifying.

Q:

You had a slight moment in Q3 when you got on the grass. Can you explain what happened and was that the moment that cost you pole position?

SL:

I didn’t lose the pole position there, maybe I lost one place but I think Yvan made a mistake as well. I know in Q3 you need to try really hard if you want to get a good position. It’s what I did but I lost a little bit the rear in the fastest corner of the track in Turn 11 so I went wide and finished with four wheels on the grass. For sure it’s not the best way to do the best time. Okay it’s like that, I tried but it was a little bit too much.

Q:

Given your lack of pre-season testing how pleased are you to be the fastest Yokohama Drivers’ Trophy contender in sixth overall?

TC:

P6 is the worst place on the grid to be. You get no points and you get no benefits from the reverse grid so I’m very upset with P6! We had very limited testing because it took a long time to get the car back from Macau, which was the last race of last year. But we did a lot of set-up changes today and I progressed the car through the course of the weekend and I feel like we did really big changes actually today to the point where I was 1.6s faster than any other Chevrolet, which is quite a big chunk. But I’m frustrated because we used three sets of tyres in Q1 so I only had one run effectively in Q2 and because of the red flag with [Mehdi] Bennani in the gravel, when I came back in I effectively did my fastest lap on used tyres because I actually pushed quite hard so I was happy to do a 1m46.7s on old tyres but sadly it’s P6, which I hate.

Q:

José mentioned the heat out there in qualifying. How much strain did that put on you and the car and what about tomorrow if we have similar conditions?

TC:

In qualifying on my lap on new tyres the heat is not a problem, the circuit was the problem. It was very dusty with lots of sand on it, which affected the performance of the car and the tyre. Tomorrow in the race the heat will then become a problem because it’s not just one lap. We have a lot of set-up changes for tonight to make the car better for the race and with everything I’ve learned today I’m fairly confident.

Q:

Finally a word from our pole position driver: what would winning tomorrow, on home soil, mean to you?

JML:

It would mean the world to me. It’s something not many can experience. It’s very emotional in front of your people. We will see. The conditions are different to last year when we arrived more in the middle of the championship with more pressure. It’s always very important and it’s something amazing.”www.citroenracing.com - www.citroenracingmedia.com


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