15 May 08
FIA Junior World Rally Championship drivers Alessandro Bettega and Martin Prokop, were interviewed at Thursday's FIA pre-event press conference for Rally d'Italia - Sardegna. Here's what they said:
Questions to Alessandro Bettega
You drove a few different cars last year, why did you settle on the Renault Clio R3 for this season?
We had a good proposal from Renault Sport. The car is new and it has a lot of potential, so we decided to use it this season. Last year I used the Fiesta, Suzuki and the R3. We have decided to stick with the R3 for this year.
There has been some rain recently, how will that affect the roads?
It will be quite a problem. We use the hard tyres. The things will be complicated. On the recce we see the roads with the rain are not so easy. It's full of ruts and high water splashes. It will be quite hard and quite slippery.
You did not participate in shakedown this morning - why?
I was sleeping! No, we did a test on Monday. I drove the car for 30 kilometres. I saw the (shakedown) stage on the recce and thought it was not so useful. We had some new shock absorbers from the test, but the shakedown was not the right place to do it. We remain with the set-up from Monday. We still have something to do, but I feel comfortable.
Do you feel more pressure on this event, given it's your home round of the Championship?
There's a lot of pressure, but I usually drive better under pressure. I did the test which is good. In Jordan I had to start to learn the car at shakedown. This time I hope to have more experience before the stages.
The competition is very strong here...
Very strong competition. (Sebastien) Ogier and the Junior drivers are going very well. It will be a good fight between Martin (Prokop), (Patrik) Sandell and Ogier. Talking about me, the R3 is still not so competitive. In July we should have a new engine with more horse power. Now, though, it's trying to use the head and to get some points from the rally. Then, with the new engine, we can be more competitive,
Are you confident for this event?
I have done this rally eight times, so I know a lot of stages quite well. It will be a good fight for the top spot between Martin, Ogier and Sandell. We will try to stay behind them. Try to challenge for the third spot, but it will be difficult to challenge for the top spot. It's my home event, so I will try to do my best. We have good sponsorship from the local motorsport association and the event is organised by them - I want to do well.