Thierry Neuville Ford Fiesta RS WRC: ‘Holding second in the championship is the priority’
“This will be our first time in Australia so we will need to take a different approach to what we have had recently. We will be discovering the stages for the first time, but I think that we are well prepared. Both Nicolas [Gilsoul, co-driver] and I have been studying lots of on-boards from 2011.
“From what I have heard, the stages are very fast. You can even compare them to Finland although there are obviously a lot less jumps and the gravel is a lot looser and softer. We could see some big ruts form over the second pass so, as always, road position will be key. The Fiesta was very competitive in Finland, so I see no reason why it won’t be just as competitive in Australia. But we have had no testing before this event so we will need to spend some time discovering the best set-up during the rally.
“With all the podiums we have had recently, I would of course like to have another. But honestly, I think a top-five finish would be a good result for us. For me, the most important thing is to hold onto second place in the championship – from now until the end of the season.”
Jari-Matti Latvala, Polo R WRC: ‘Quicker rallies like this suit my driving style’
“The special stages require a very quick, flowing style of driving and you have to find a good rhythm. The good thing is that, as a rule, I tend to do well on these quicker rallies, as they suit my driving style. After missing out on so many points in the Manufacturers’ Championship in Germany recently, we must now concentrate on getting some good results and keeping Citroën at bay in the World Championship. That will be my first task. Everyone in the team knows that our car is good, and everyone is doing their utmost to achieve the number one goal: to win the title.”
Andreas Mikkelsen, Polo R WRC: ‘Other drivers won’t have much more experience than me’
“Paul Nagle will be my co-driver in Australia, as my regular co-driver Mikko Markkula is still injured. I know Paul from earlier rallies. I raced against him at the Rally Ireland when I was 17. The rally is completely new territory for me. However, the other drivers will not have a great deal more experience than me, as many of this year’s special stages will be new. I think Paul and I will have a good rally. We will travel to Australia early, in order to become accustomed to everything and to get to know each other a bit better.”
Khalid Al-Qassimi, Citroen DS3 WRC: ‘The roads seem quite natural for me'
“It’s a very enjoyable rally in terms of driving. The roads seem quite natural for me, more so than those in Germany, in any case! I hope we can reproduce the kind of performance we achieved here two years ago, but above all I would like to see a DS3 WRC on the top step of the podium.”