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Best of FIA Press Conference Post-Event
17 April 2024

Best of FIA Press Conference Post-Event

They were the main actors of this 2022 edition which will remain in the memories of all. Discover their reactions during the FIA Press Conference.

Sébastien Loeb (M-Sport Ford WRT), 80th wins in WRC
“Really happy for sure. I didn’t know what to expect. I had a good feeling since the first test and this give me some confidence. But then to know which level will I be? I don’t know. The level in WRC is sometimes really, really high but we decide to come here and the result is amazing. It’s more than we expected, but the team, and with Isabelle [Galmiche] – everything has been really amazing with our first rally together. It’s really great. »

About Isabelle Galmiche, his new codriver:
“She did it really well. It was just one or two times she went a little bit late, but then it was just a little bit. This car is really difficult for the co-driver, we are flying in the stages and she had a lot to say. She was in the perfect rhythm and she understands how to do it really well. There are a lot of things to check and she did it all really well. She has a lot of experience in French championship, but in the WRC you have a lot more to do around [the car]. She did a great job. »

About the Ford Puma Hybrid:
“ It wasn’t difficult to manage. It was a lot of power. You can really enjoy it in the exit of slow corner and when you don’t have it, you understand how much it gives you an extra boost. Some drivers said these cars were a bit more heavy, it’s true, but I wasn’t used to drive in the WRC a lot [recently] and when I sit in a car like that, I enjoyed it a lot.”

About SS17 Powerstage:
« I was feeling OK. Then in the stage I felt I was losing the front tyres. Still the feeling was OK, then I saw his time and I was quite surprised how fast he has gone! It was a relief to win the rally. »

 

Sébastien Ogier (Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT), 2nd

« First, you are completely right, we need to celebrate our teams. They have done a fantastic job building completely new cars that are completely different from the other ones. I was expecting more issues, there were some here and there, but we could fight like in the good old days and you would not think it was the first time for these cars. It was really enjoyable and a good show for the sport. I was targeting first place not second, so I can’t say I am 100% satisfied. We can keep smiling, we gave everything out there, but fate decided differently today and we had to settle for second. But it’s been fun in the car and now we have a reason to come back next year – I’m not sure my wife will enjoy that sentence! »

ABout Benjamin Veillas, his new codriver:
« He did well, honestly. We need to admit it’s never easy to jump in the car, they really fast. And when you have never done this job at this level, it’s a huge pressure on your shoulders. In general I am very happy with what Benjamin has done at the weekend. Of course there is any details he can improve and it wasn’t 100%, but nobody can jump in and do the perfect job. I’m pleased with what he has done and we made a good step together. Today was almost harder for him than me. I had the chance to enjoy many success already in my life, my career. It would have been amazing for him to win Monte Carlo, but it was still a great achievement and something special like for Isabelle. They have both done a great rally, but only one can win. Today luck was not on our side, but I’m sure we will win some rally together.. »

About SS17 Powerstage:

« I feel it was on the limit. Surprisingly, the engine strategy started to sound different two seconds before it was time to go. I thought it was like it was dropping RPM or losing pressure or power. It disturbed me. I wanted to try to start sharp. I knew I had to start sharp when I had to make nine seconds, I knew it would be hard. To take this nine seconds to Séb, I think it was quite a performance. I had to give it everything. It was over the limit in a couple of times, but we managed to keep the car on the road. But in the end maybe it’s better to have this jump start – without this, the gap would be only 0.5s and if it was like this then I would be even more frustrated! »

About his frame of mind before the Monte-Carlo 2022:
« A little bit more relaxed, even if I think I’m a bit more relaxed for a while, like you notice. I wanted to enjoy the event, it’s great. Somehow, I didn’t feel differently. I wanted to give my best and try to win this event. There were so many questions before the start with the car and reliability and who would be able to fight for the win – we were joking in the test that maybe we would be better to start in the R5! The team did a great job. The hybrid feels a little bit like the first time sex: very intense, then one second and gone. It’s a good start!»

Craig Breen (M-Sport Ford WRT), 3rd
« Good. It’s been a good weekend. It still feels a bit surreal to be sitting here sharing a podium with these guys – I hope it’ll not happen again! If they’d not been there I could have won the rally! It’s really amazing, we share 17 world titles between the three of us…»

“It’s a really high-level podium. I knew before the start it would be a difficult one for me. I’ve not done the event for four or five years and this in only my fourth time here. To come away from here with a podium on most difficult rally of the year, I’m delighted. This is mainly thanks to the team – they have done an amazing job, given us all the tools to perform. Myself and Paul have learned with every kilometre. »

 

Richard Millener, Team Principal M-Sport Ford
« I can’t put it into words. It’s been difficult for the last couple of seasons we knew that we would put everything into this year and we had a very competitive package and the whole team has worked incredibly hard. This is at the forefront of what we want to do, we had the complications of competing last year, but we knew we could get these results. Everybody worked so hard up to and through Christmas to get cars ready. We’ve ended up with a fantastic team, great drivers and a result we could only dream of.»

“It’s obviously very unfortunate to see what’s happened to this Séb, but in terms of the rally we could not ask for a better start. And it’s been so exciting to watch, I’m just glad this one went our way. It’s a very nice feeling. »

Andreas Mikkelsen (Škoda Fabia Rally2), WRC2 Winner
« It wasn’t very straightforward. There were a lot of dramas in Rally2 in general. We tried to be very clever, we stayed out of trouble. The conditions, for me… it was a little bit opposite, even though there was not a lot of snow it was really difficult black ice. It’s really difficult to drive on that, difficult to push. When you see the snow you know about the grip. I found it difficult. We had an approach to try to win but risk as least as possible we managed that. The Citroëns were fast, we knew they would be in dry conditions. [Yohan] Rossel and [Stéphane] Lefebvre were my main competitors and they fell off. They crashed, I had a puncture yesterday and thought I lost the win. We all had issues. Today Erik Cais was the closest one to the challenge – we put up a good pace on the first stage this morning and we managed to get quite a good gap. It was a good rally to know how much we should push. »

“It was a little bit like I expected– I thought the Toyota would be fast with all their [hybrid] category experience and I was interested to see the Puma. I was not surprised it was like a rocket – M-Sport are good at new cars. Hyundai struggle a bit and they can improve for Sweden.”

 

Sami Pajari, (Ford Fiesta Rally3), WRC3 Winner
« It’s quite clear, if you imagine about Monte Carlo, the ice and snow make it really special. As Andreas [Mikkelsen] mentioned it wasn’t easy to see where the ice and snow was. For me it was a difficult to see – that made it a huge challenge. Maybe I was too cautious where I was expecting the ice, but we didn’t do any crazy mistakes, so I need to be happy. »

 

Raphaël Astier (Alpine A110 RGT), R-GT Winner
« It wasn’t easy especially being here in a two-wheel drive car. There were a lot of tyre choices and a big Tarmac section. Globally I am very happy with the crew and with the team. It’s been a fabulous event. »

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