19 Aug 08
How important was it to you to win a seventh Rallye Deutschland?
After getting my sixth last year I really wanted to get seven, so yes, it was important. I certainly didn't want to lose. I know that sometime the wins have to stop - but I guess we're not at that point just yet. The fact that the rally is not in the calendar next year made it especially satisfying to win this year.
Do you consider this as your home event?
In some ways yes. It's the closest place to my home city of Strasbourg, so I always have a lot of family and friends coming here - more probably than on Monte Carlo. Also a lot of my fans from France come over. As it's in Germany I can't say it's my home rally, but it's one of my favourites. There's always a good atmosphere on the podium at the end.
You led from beginning to end; was this one of your easiest WRC wins?
No. The fact is I pushed very hard from the start and found myself in the lead. The car felt good and the conditions helped; there was no rain, so my life was a bit easier. Perhaps it wasn't my hardest rally, but I had to keep pushing and taking risks all the time. It certainly wasn't easy.
What's the secret to driving on these roads?
I don't think there's a secret; it's just a question of getting a good feeling on these roads. It's a different rally to the other tarmac ones, but it's been a few years since it joined the WRC now and every driver has a good experience here. For now I'm still doing better on this surface but I don't know why exactly. Maybe it's to do with understanding the road surface, maybe it's a question of braking, I don't know.
On Saturday you said you had turned down the power of your engine to preserve it, have you done that before?
Yes, because it's important sometimes to think about the mechanics of the car. On Saturday the circumstances were right; we were leading and there was no need to push too hard. Now we have two more rallies to do with the same engine, so it made sense to back off a bit.
What does this result mean for the Championship battle with Mikko?
Anything can still happen. Next we have New Zealand, so we're back to gravel and I'm sure Mikko will be fast there. I only have a four point lead and at this point in the year that's not so much. Okay, since Finland my team has done a really good job and I've had two very good rallies, but Mikko is strong and he showed on the first day that he also has a very good speed on tarmac. I think he's still able to do some impressive things later this year.