WRC - Rally Poland - Press Conference

WRC - Rally Poland - Press Conference

Press Room

WRC - Rally Poland - Press Conference

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Present:
Craig Breen, Abu Dhabi Total World Rally Team
Hayden Paddon, Hyundai Motorsport
Mads Østberg, M-Sport World Rally Team
Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Motorsport

Q:
Craig, welcome back to the spotlight of the WRC. There have been several events since we last saw you in Sweden. But you’ve been very busy away from the WRC. Tell us what you have been up to?
CB:
Yes it’s been a long time since Sweden, many months and the other guys are driving all the stages all the time. But I have a golden ticket to be here and I have to take it as best I can. I just cannot wait to get started in competition.

Q:
The win on the Circuit of Ireland, how important was that for your confidence coming into this weekend?
CB:
I don’t think tarmac stages prepare me for being here, but at least in my mind it’s a huge deal. I grew up and the Circuit of Ireland was my WRC as a child. It was great for me to win and I have taken confidence from there and I am looking forward to the weekend.

Q:
What is the realistic goal for Rally Poland? Will you be pushing hard or using the event as a learning curve?
CB:
It’s going to be difficult. All these guys have been competing all the time and I am fresh behind the wheel. I think the goal is to move the speed up during the weekend. The test and the shakedown shows we are on target and now I have to try and show that we are more than capable and we need to show the car is capable.

Q:
You came here once before for a round of the FIA European Rally Championship. Tell us about that experience?
CB:
Not very good at all. It rained and rained and never stopped since we arrived. A lot of the stages were cancelled. It was just horrific rally stages. This year not one kilometre is the same. Back then I had good memories that the fans were nice and I was with you (Jon Desborough) in the commentary last year and I had good emotions from that version.

Q:
Hayden, you have made a strong start to the season and hold fifth place in the championship after six rounds. You’ve had a couple of difficult events though, so what is the target for this weekend?
HP:
The target is to get back on track. Luckily the next two rallies are ones that I enjoy. They suit my style of driving and there is not too much pressure on me. I need to lower the expectations and go back to basics. I enjoy driving on roads like these.

Q:
Obviously winning in Argentina must have been the highlight of the season so far. Once you win one event, does it make it easier to target another? And can you do it here?
HP:
Argentina seems a long time ago. A lot has happened since. You cannot focus on previous results. I need to focus on the future and we want to get back in to a position to fight at the front.

Q:
What additional preparations have you and the Hyundai team made for Rally Poland?
HP:
The technicians have been working hard. We have a strong car on fast stages and we have to use that advantage. The stages are nice and fast and we have done our homework before the event and it will be business as usual.

Q:
Mads, you openly admit that you like the faster gravel rounds of the championship. How are you looking forward to Rally Poland?
MO:
Yes absolutely. Poland is one of the fastest rallies of the year. Almost all the stages are equally as fast and it’s a nice event. I look forward to coming here and I am happy to be here again.

Q:
The team has been testing in Poland recently. What have you learned from those tests and what changes have you made?
MO:
It makes sense to do adjustments from Sardinia. We changed the car to suit the high speed and sandy and rough stages that you can often get on the second pass through.

Q:
Your team-mate Eric Camilli has not been here before. Have you been able to offer him any advice or tips to succeed on these super-fast Polish stages?
MO:
He has not asked me. I have not told him anything. It is important for him to focus on his own things and find the difficult places himself. I may try to explain and share experiences on how rough it can be on the second pass, but the team also has the experience. He is working by himself, like myself.

Q:
You are fourth in the championship, but just a point in front of Hayden Paddon and only 10 points off second place. What is the realistic goal for the weekend?
MO:
We will definitely be hoping to be in the fight for positions. We were happy with Sardinia and it came together. It ended up being my mistake. I hope to have the same pace to fight for a good result and that is my target

Q:
Seb, firstly, many congratulations to you and Andrea on the birth of your son Tim. You have a commanding 64-point lead in the Drivers’ Championship and find yourself in a similar position to 2015, but you have not won a rally since Sweden. You have, however, increased your lead event- by-event, so how are you feeling?
SO:
Thank you, of course, so far this season has been good for us. We managed to improve the gap every single rally. The most important target is to win the big trophy at the end of the year. I am pleased with my position but, since Sweden, I miss the taste of victory. There is not too much chance to go for it, but I would like to be able to fight for the victory this weekend. No rain coming will make it difficult. If it rains, then you never know. I will have the same approach to the race. I will give my best to score points.

Q:
What are your thoughts on the route for Rally Poland after the recce? What is your plan of attack this weekend?
SO:
I think the route has changed a little bit, but it is still the same profile – more or less fast everywhere and always with a high speed average and a lot of fun in the car. There are some beautiful sections for us and we hope to give the spectators a great show again. Saturday’s stages might be ones with loose gravel. It will be difficult, for sure. Let’s see after the first stage of the day. We will need to be well awake – it is extremely fast with big jumps.

Q:
You have won 19 of the 59 stages in Rally Poland since it returned to the WRC in 2009. What is the secret to winning fast gravel stages?
SO:
No real secret. It is important to be committed and have a lot of trust with the pace notes and go for it. If you are not committed on a previous corner, you carry a slow speed into the next one. Most drivers tell you we love high speed and the adrenaline in the car.

Q:
Spectators turn up here in thousands to see the action and rallying is very popular in Poland. How does the atmosphere compare to other rounds of the championship?
SO:
For sure, it’s great, but I will send a small message to the spectators. Please stay in a safe position and respect the safety zones. Already we had a problem in shakedown. People are enthusiastic and want to see us but don’t forget the safety places, otherwise it will be problematic for the weekend.

FIA WRC 2 CHAMPIONSHIP

Present:
Hubert Ptaszek, The Ptock
Kajetan Kajetanowicz, Lotos Rally Team

Q:
Hubert, this is your home event but tell us, first of all, about the condition of your co-driver Maciej Szczepaniak after his back injury in Portugal?
HP:
One week before we did Rally Warminski and everything is fine now. We checked his back condition after a lot of jumps and how it worked. Hopefully everything will be okay.

Q:
You are fifth in the FIA WRC 2 Championship after six rounds and two good finishes in Mexico and Argentina. How important is it that you reach the finish in a strong position on your home event?
HP:
This year it is not my point of view the overall position, I have to catch the experience and get to the finish line and that is my priority in WRC 2 now. That is most important for me. A podium is good for sponsors and me but I need the experience. This is my first time in WRC 2.

Q:
Do you think competing at home in front of all these spectators puts you under a little extra pressure?
HP:
I want to say no but there is a nice atmosphere to be here. The Polish fans look impressive and I have to focus on the roads to not make stupid things. That is the plan.

Q:
What extra preparations have you put in place for Rally Poland?
HP:
I just want to catch the experience and that is the plan – nothing special. Rally Poland is from the sports side for me and that is the main thing – experience.

Q:
Kajeten, you have already proved your potential here by winning three times when it was a round of the FIA European Rally Championship. How different will it be this week now you are in the WRC?
KK:
Yes, it’s funny because someone said to me ‘Kajetan it’s simple for you because this is your home rally’. This is not my home rally. I live 600 kilometres away from here and 90% of the stages are new for me. This is my debut, my big debut in the WRC. It is a different rally and longer than the ERC and I hope to enjoy it. For me it is the same as ERC. I can sit in my car three days now and not two days. It is good for experience and I am happy to be here.

Q:
What are your impressions of the Ford Fiesta R5?
KK:
I did many kilometres before in an R5 – a fantastic car as is the Skoda, but this is also fast and I know that. I don’t want to say anything more. We will see what we can do. It is a strong car and has fantastic suspension, so we see.

Q:
Are you seriously looking at winning WRC 2? Who do you think will be your main rivals this weekend?
KK:
In this situation it’s not hard to say. The competition is very strong. I have said many times before that I have big respect for my rivals. They are very fast and have lots of experience and are working hard to be here. I want to beat a few of them because I am a rally driver and I always want to win. I must be clever and I have to wait for the future. But I want to be fast here.

FIA JUNIOR WRC / WRC 3 CHAMPIONSHIP

Present:
Lukasz Pieniazek

Q:
Lukasz, one rally so far in the FIA Junior WRC Championship and an unfortunate retirement for you. How important is it that you put some points on the board here at home in Poland?
LP:
We managed to finish Portugal but had to use Rally 2 regulations, so it was not good for us. On the very first real stage we could not see anything and we crashed. Now I hope the car is rebuilt and everything will be fine. WRC rallies are tough for two-wheel drive cars with stones and big holes and we have little two-wheel drives, so we will see.

Q:
Have you worked on a strategy for the weekend?
LP:
We will try to have a stable pace and, of course, we want to push, but we need to be calm and realistic and keep our pace. I am quite realistic. I would like to push for the Polish fans, but the result is the second priority. I want to finish this rally.

Q:
This event always attracts thousands of spectators. How much of a boost is it to a local driver to see all the support on the special stages? Does it put you under more pressure?
LP:
It’s a very good positive pressure for us. You see those people on the stage. It helps you to keep concentration and to keep pushing all the time and to help us be faster on the stages.

World Rally Championship

 

Rally PolandWRCSEASON 2016SportRallies1SportWorld Rally ChampionshipRalliesWRCSEASON 2016Rally Poland01Thursday, June 30, 2016 – 3:13pmThursday, June 30, 2016 – 3:13pm

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