Wrc.com caught up with the 23-year-old from Estonia following his success on the Algarve.
Egon, you have won the first round of the FIA WRC Academy. How do you feel?
“Actually I’m not really sure at the moment but soon we will start to feel everything that has come to us. It’s completely amazing.”
Did Vodafone Rally de Portugal go to plan for you?
“On the first day we took a really cautious approach because we didn’t want to break the car or get a puncture. On the second day we wanted to continue that but it didn’t start out so well, we didn’t get going on the morning and we got a slow puncture that took us some time and dropped us some places. Our competitors made some mistakes as well and finally we finished first.”
How tough was the competition here in Portugal?
“It was really tough. Some guys were really pushing hard, maybe too hard because you have to find a balance between the pace and the consistency.”
Obviously it’s a single car for the entire class. How did your Ford Fiesta R2 perform for you?
“It was very good. I made some suspension changes on Thursday because I haven’t had many kilometres on gravel and it got a lot better. Overall the car is very good, especially when you keep it on the road.”
What exactly went wrong for you on Saturday morning?
“We didn’t get ourselves going. The co-driver was a bit asleep and I had to help him a bit. Then I made a mistake myself and we had a slow puncture and lost some time for that. We thought at first it was a driveshaft but it was actually a slow puncture because one tyre was really low on pressure and we didn’t have much chance to do anything about that.”
Did you ever imagine you’d win after dropping back at the start of day two?
“We were in third place going into the final three stages and I didn’t think we could win for sure. We pushed really hard on the first one after service and gained 30 seconds on that one. Maybe that put some pressure on the first guys because they made a mistake on the next stage. We just had to take the car to the finish after that.”
The stages here in Portugal are regarded as being some of the toughest in the WRC. After experiencing them do you agree?
“When I came here I was told it was really tough but to tell you the truth it was tougher than I thought it would be. It was really hard because you have to find the right speed and to save the car and not get a puncture.”
Is it fair to say that chosing the WRC Academy was the right move for your career?
“It’s absolutely the best decision for my career to be here in the WRC Academy but we have to do even more work now to keep this up and keep getting good results on the next rallies.”