Rally Turkey | WRC

Rally Turkey – Final Event Press Conference

Post event Press Conference
16 September 2018
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Present:
1st – Ott Tänak, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT
1st – Martin Järveoja, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT
2nd – Jari-Matti Latvala, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT
2nd – Miikka Anttila, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT
3rd – Hayden Paddon, Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT
3rd – Sebastien Marshall, Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT
Tommi Mäkinen, Team Principal, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Q:
Ott, an incredible rally and a brand new one on the championship calendar. You take the win after a Friday when we thought you may not be going to do anything. The third win in a row. It’s all changed around and now it’s changed your chances in the title race. How are you feeling?
OT:
I feel quite exhausted. It’s true, it was the biggest challenge we have in all the season. The event was tough as we expected. We did not expect anything like this. Many times it was like a lottery to get through without any problems I think the punishment these cars were taking was crazy. Every car that managed to finish without Rally 2 or without stopping in the stage, the teams did a great job. On Friday, it was not looking so good. The feeling was not there from our side and we were struggling to match the speed. It was a bit stressful but we knew before the event that this would not be one where the fastest driver would win. We kept our speed and managed to pick up our speed. It was not so bad anymore and we just managed to do our job.

Q:
You said at the end of the first stage of the morning that you thought Jari-Matti [Latvala] was not slowing down. Tommi [Mäkinen] was hoping you would both be sensible. Were you feeling the pressure from Jari-Matti?
OT:
I believe the pressure was coming in a smart way. We were definitely looking to keep the tyres for the Power Stage. It was a one-two for the team so we are very happy.

Q:
It is a perfect result and opens the door wider now to your World Championship title hopes. What are you feeling about this now?
OT:
We are in the fight now and we need to focus on this. All the team need to keep their heads down and keep working and focus on the next events. We didn’t have the speed at times and we need to keep improving if we want to stay in this fight. The coming events are different challenges. All the people in the team are so motivated to do well. We hope we have enough. I have no doubt that everything is possible. It’s difficult in this moment when you are used to fighting at the top and we did not have the pace and this is, maybe, our lowest event of the season. But now we have a one-two and it’s been a history-making result for the team. That’s how the life is sometimes. We need to carry on like this. We had some weaknesses in events like Sardinia and it’s good to see that the engineers have been working on some improvements. This was definitely the hardest event for the car.

Q:
Martin, a brilliant result. Did you imagine that it would end like this after the situation on Friday?
MJ:
Yes, for sure, I never give up. The prize (Bebe – yacht holiday) is fantastic. It was not the incentive really, I would say it was a bonus. As Ott has already mentioned we were struggling on Friday. We were going on our own rhythm and it worked.

Q:
Can you start to believe now that you can become World Champions?
MJ:
Yes.

Q:
Jari-Matti a great drive to second place on the podium. Are you happy with your drive this weekend?
J-ML:
Yes we are very happy. Like Ott mentioned, we got one-two for the team. I think it’s the first time this is happening in the team’s history and that is special. From the beginning, the thing was to stay consistent and not take risks. The plan was working well. I would describe this rally a bit like a Monte-Carlo. You know that in Monte you can make big differences when you attack, but you know the risks. This was working the same way. The punishment is coming very quickly if you try to push hard.

Q:
We saw you at some stage ends on Friday, in particular, looking at the timing boards and you could not understand why your times were slow. But that changed?
J-ML:
Yes, some stages, one second per kilometre you cannot be happy. I could not understand where the times were coming from. I actually had a better driving position. I realised what I did wrong. Still, some stages the performance of Seb and Thierry was amazing. I could not be driving at that speed on this event. We spoke with Kai Lindström yesterday and he had spoken with Tommi. It is not the first time I have been in this situation. On a personal level, my championship has already gone. You are risking if you start to fight with each other and I understood the situation. I knew what was the name of the game. Dropping the speed a lot is also tricky for the concentration. Driving slower, I could feel immediately it was affecting my concentration.

Q:
Miikka, you have a wealth of experience. How does this event compare in terms of a unique challenge?
MA:
After the recce I said I had not seen anything like this. It was so rough. Normally it is compared to Greece. But that is a hard surface, a bedrock. This is rutted with lots of loose rocks everywhere. On Friday, on the second time through the long stage, that was completely crazy. It was so rough. All the cars coming through without a problem should have a trophy.

Q:
You are on the podium, a sense of achievement?
MA:
We had one puncture on this rally, where the tyre was pushed out of the rim. Puncture is not my concern. The loose stones under the car make this rally so unique.

Q:
Hayden, third position on the podium. Tell us about your event?
HP:
I’m looking forward to going to a rally where we can drive fast for a change! It was almost painful today having to drive so slow. In the same time you knew you had to take that approach to look after the car. We had a plan and we drove to that plan. We were surprised on Friday that no one was really falling by the wayside. But that all played out as the rest of the rally went on.

Q:
We have spoken about the strength of the cars. How was your tyre experience here?
HP:
It is quite astonishing the punishment that everything can handle especially on that first stage on Friday afternoon. I have never seen anything like it. You are getting thrown around in the car so much. You feel like you are breaking the car and the tyres. It’s amazing what they can handle. We didn’t have any tyre problems.

Q:
I know you want to remain where you are next season. Can you give us any more news on that?
HP:
I am just focusing on driving the car at the moment and trying to let that do the talking. Naturally I would like to be doing a full season again. When you are not doing all the rallies that last piece is not naturally there. I want to be back full-time. The ambition is to get the consistency back. I know we can go faster going forward.

Q:
Sebastian, a brand new event on the championship calendar. What has your experience been in Turkey this weekend?
SM:
It’s always nice to come to a completely new rally. The fact that we have all new stages and everyone has a level playing field makes it a big challenge. It’s great to see the championship bringing new events in.

Q:
And a podium for you here…
SM:
Yes, it’s great to be back. It’s the first time since Australia last year. This rally has been an incredible challenge, almost the tortoise and the hare really. Our strategy paid dividends in the end.

Q:
Tommi, a Toyota one-two in Turkey and the Manufacturers’ Championship is looking good and the Drivers’ Championship looking stronger for Ott Tänak. It’s been a successful weekend?
TM:
Absolutely brilliant and I must say a big thanks to our drivers. They have been brilliant for this event. We knew we would meet big challenges and we met them. These stages were very technical and they made no mistakes at all. The team also seem to have sorted out the cooling issues and it makes us very confident for the future.

Q:
What else would you say you have learned from the weekend?
TM:
I would say we haven’t done much testing on these very loose rocky stages. Mostly we have done hot conditions, but this has been a rough, hard surface. I am sure that we have to concentrate a bit more on these conditions and we can find a bit more.

Q:
Do you believe that Ott can seal the championship title in 2018?
TM:
Well, I think if you look at the last three rallies, everything is looking very good at the moment. I am sure it is going to be very exciting to the end of the year. I am sure we will see some very fast cars, absolutely flat out on the next rallies.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Thierry Wilmotte
Le Soir, Belgium

Q:
Ott, can you tell us on the last three rallies of the season where you think you will be strong and less strong?
OT:
For the moment we are performing well on all the rallies. Let’s see how it goes on the next one.

FIA WRC 2 CHAMPIONSHIP

Present:
1st – Jan Kopecký, Škoda Motorsport II
1st – Pavel Dresler, Škoda Motorsport II

Q:
Jan, it seems you have a little bit of drama on every rally, it never seems easy. But you have extended that championship lead with the win. How are you feeling right now?
JK:
The feeling is very good that we won this rally. Honestly, this rally, I am used to going fast all the time. Basically, it was very difficult for us and also for Pontus [Tidemand]. On the same stage we had two punctures and we were lucky to come to the finish.

Q:
The result means that only a Škoda driver can win the WRC 2 title now. What does that mean for you?
JK:
I think that Pontus is doing Wales and we have to wait for that result and then we will see what is the decision on what other rallies we may do.

Q:
Talk to us about the event itself.
JK:
I had some dramas on this rally. This is all part of rally. The feeling was not good because we had two punctures at the same time. Basically we were just keeping in the lines. Then Pontus passed us and I saw that the dust was not going away and we saw him standing on the side of the road. I thought, ‘what is going on’. It was a really crazy weekend.

Q:
Pavel, talk to us about it from your seat.
PD:
We have some funny situations in the car from the ventilation. Quite a lot of dust. It was very hard to read and I was shaking my notes to take dust from them. I was not able to read. We were smiling. I would say the roads are very technical and very slow. It was the same for everyone. Some stages were very enjoyable. But these rough places were not enjoyable. It was like a survival mode.

FIA JUNIOR WRC / WRC 3 CHAMPIONSHIP

Present:
1st – Emil Bergkvist (event and Junior WRC Championship winner*)
1st – Patrik Barth (event winner)

Q:
Emil, what an incredible season it has been in the FIA Junior WRC Championship. You have won the event and taken the championship title. How do you feel right now?
EB:
This rally was very tough for the cars. I am very happy with the season. I think we were consistent on every rally and I must say a big thank you to Jordan Serderidis who made this possible for me. I think tonight we have to regroup and see what happens. But I am super happy.

Q:
Talk us through your event in Turkey?
EB:
You could see on the recce that it would be a tough event. I didn’t expect it to be this tough. We were just trying not to get any punctures and see if there were any weaknesses on the car. We did it and we are happy about that. We knew that we had to be on the finish line in front of Dennis [Rådström]. He had some problems on the first day so we were cruising around. That’s what we did.

Q:
You have a fabulous prize with the R5. What happens next?
EB:
It’s a very good prize. I was in the R5 category before and I hope to be back in this category next year and will try and be prepared for that.

Q:
Patrik, a huge weekend. Was it stressful?
PB:
Not really. We know what we had to do for a long time and I am so happy for this. It’s amazing. The finish is here and we did it. It was a very tough event.

* Subject to the official publication of the results by the FIA

MARMARIS WEATHER

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