Feelings and comments of the 3 drivers in line for the victory in the Rallye Monte-Carlo.
Thierry great start…
TN: I have to say it’s a pretty good feeling – we weren’t expecting that. Everything is new with a lot of changes with the drivers and the teams. We expected it to be interesting but that interesting, we couldn’t imagine. I felt comfortable with the car straight away even in the tricky conditions. Our route note crew did a really good job and we were able to build the lead. Seb made a mistake as well, but it’s been very, very tricky and easy to make a mistake.
Confident you can keep the lead?
TN: I would not say I am confident, but a bit more comfortable. I feel well in the car to drive and we have had good feedback and everything has worked well so far. I have a 45s lead, which is much, but also not much on this rally especially when tomorrow can be a different tyre choice – that can make a difference tomorrow. It will be a tough fight tomorrow, but let’s see who has upper hand in the evening.
Seb how tough was this morning?
SO: I feel well to be there on the podium at the moment. It’s been a tough day and the conditions were quite horrible, it was very, very slippery and hard to judge the grip for the whole day. I was not comfortable in the car and I made a silly mistake to lose 40s in the ditch. The day started to have a different feeling, I was not having a good balance, so we decided to wait for the service park. We made some changes, but I cannot say I am fully happy. It’s way too early to feel perfect in the car. I feel better and the time was following and I can trust more the car more as well.
How are you getting on with the team?
SO: Very well. Like I said before, it’s a great pleasure to join the team – they have all made me feel very welcome. I want to deliver now and make our part of the job. The guys have worked incredibly hard to finish everything on time for Monte Carlo. I’m happy that we are both on the podium, with Ott. We need to keep going like this.
How determined are you to hunt Thierry down?
SO: So far it’s been more of an elimination race than pure performance race. Thierry has been driving very well with no mistakes on the high speed. For sure the gap of 45 seconds – even if its Monte Carlo – it’s better to have this than be behind. But nothing is impossible especially with the tyre choice. I will focus on myself and try to drive well, get comfortable in the car. At the end of the day I would be happy to be in Monte Carlo with the podium and I don’t want risk it all for victory. Monte is special and especially for all the guys here I want to give my best.
Are you pleased with the day Ott?
OT: It’s been a really tricky Monte, as everybody has said. I was not expecting to be so high level in the rally. My plan was to have a good rhythm and safe speed, but so far I have been quite comfortable in the car. The handling is quite close to where I like, it’s been nice to far.
What’s the plan tomorrow – will you fight with Seb?
OT:Obviously I imagine he’s close to home, so maybe he knows some tricks here. The plan is still not to go in the fight. I want to carry on with the speed we have. Seb is really fast this afternoon and I was nowhere close to him – let these two guys fight and let’s see how it goes.