09 Jul 09
Before Poland the FIA announced that future World Rally Cars would be powered by a 1600cc turbo engine. What's your reaction to that?
"That's a good rule and very welcome. I'm glad they have decided to go with a turbo engine. We don't know all the details about the size of the restrictor and whether they're going to control the [turbo] boost as well but at least the technology is there for us to get the same power from a 1600cc engine as we have now with two litres. That's going to be the future with car manufacturers anyway. I'm happy with that."
Rally Poland was a happy event for you. I guess you'd be glad to see the event back in the WRC again soon?
"Definitely, but not only because I won it. There were lots of spectators there - thousands - and they were never really any problem. The organisers did a good job for them and the event seemed to work well for the drivers too. I thought the rally town was really nice and the Super special was one of the best I've seen. For sure I'd like to go there again."
You're leading the drivers' standings going into your home rally; does performing in front of a home crowd increase the pressure on you to do well?
"Not really. I felt the pressure there last year and I think that's maybe what cost me the win. This time I think I've been around long enough to work my way around it. Now I just try to think of Rally Finland as any other part of the championship. I'm not thinking it's my home rally and I have to win it. I have to think of the drivers' title as well. The most stupid thing I could do is make a mistake and come away with zero points. Okay, that could happen, but if so then for sure the championship fight is over. That would be a shame because it's only just started again and I want to keep it alive."
You were second in Finland last year and the year before, what will you do differently to ensure you win it this time?
"I've been very close on both occasions. Two years ago it was a big fight with Marcus but he was definitely faster than me. Last year Sebastien managed to beat me but the speed was even faster than the previous year. If I can step up the speed just a little bit from last year then I'm sure we can be close."
But what can you do to pick up the speed - has the car changed much?
"We had a really good test before Sardinia and since then we have won all the rallies, so I'm confident something from that test will work in Finland as well. Maybe the car won't be faster, but it might give me more confidence. Last year I felt I was faster than Sebastien on the big main road but when we went to the narrower, twisty stuff I was too slow. That's the area I need to improve a lot on for this year."
Is that what you concentrated on at the Sardinia test?
"Yes, we did focus a lot on the technical stuff over there. But even on Rally Argentina, which was before the test, we had some ideas already. I was trying some things during the rally and I thought, hang on, this might actually be a good thing. The test proved what we'd found and when we went more in that direction, and added some other changes, the car has worked really well in the last few rallies."
So can you tell us what you've changed?