30 Apr 09
Five rounds into the 2009 WRC season and it can't really have gone much better for Citroen Racing Director Olivier Quesnel.
His drivers' 1-2 victory in Argentina was their second such result of the year and moves the French squad, which wrestled the manufacturers' trophy from Ford in 2008, into the lead of the series by a whopping 39 points.
The drivers' championship race is looking just as promising. Sebastien Loeb's fifth straight win of the year puts him 19 points clear of his own team-mate Dani Sordo in second, and bang on course for an unprecedented sixth world title this year.
After the rally, Quesnel talked exclusively to wrc.com about another winning weekend, the battle with Ford and his cautious outlook for the rest of the season.
Maximum points in Argentina puts Citroen firmly in the lead in the Manufacturers' Championship. Is the battle with Ford over?
"Well you never know. It's true it's really comfortable for us but for the next events we will still race as we did since the beginning, so I'm confident it will still be a good battle with Ford. Obviously we have a comfortable advance [lead] but I don't know what will happen at the end."
This was your second one-two result from five rallies this year - that must feel very special.
"Of course we are really happy. But you know the result was the consequence of a really good fight with Ford. Unfortunately for them Mikko got some problems and Latvala too. While for us the Citroen C4 looks quite strong, Dani is getting faster and faster and Seb... well, he is still Seb. Maybe one day I will get problems and not Malcolm [Wilson - Ford team principal]. It can change very easily and very quickly."
What do you think about the Ford challenge?
"I feel sorry for Malcolm. Ford does a good job but this is racing - everybody is pushing hard and for somebody to win, somebody else has to fail. In Argentina Ford lost out, but in Sardinia maybe it will be us. Everybody thinks it's quite easy for us but it's not. The differences between us and Ford are tiny. For now because of Seb and Dani and the car we are ahead, but everything can happen."
Five rounds into this year's championship and Seb's won them all so far. Can he win all 12?
"Of course. Because with the exception of Rally Poland, he's won all the others before. And if he's done it once he can do it again. But this is not the final objective. We want to be world champions for the manufacturers and drivers first. So if Seb won all the rallies then yes, I will be happy. But if Dani wins some too it's not a big problem for me."