22 Jul 08
Starts this year: 16
Rally wins: 3
Best result: 1st (Sweden, Jordan, Turkey)
Manufacturers' Championship points: 99
Looking only at the performance of your own team and drivers, what has been your highlight of this season so far?
Can I have two? The first was when Jari-Matti got his first WRC victory in Sweden and became the youngest driver to do it. I used to drive in the same team as Henri Toivonen - who held the previous record - so it brought back a lot of memories. It was a very special moment and I know Henri would have been happy that somebody like Jari-Matti took his record. But the rally where we gained the most satisfaction was Turkey. I've been doing this job for 11 years now, and there haven't been many rallies when everything goes right, but in Turkey absolutely everything we tried, from tactics, to tyre strategy worked out 100 per cent. That rally goes down as one of my best since taking on the Ford contract.
What has been the most valuable lesson your team has learned so far this year?
The great thing about this sport is that you never stop learning. As a team I think we learned most in Greece because of the high expectation of success. The thing is, you keep improving the car performance, and you think you're doing the right testing for the right conditions, but then you go to somewhere like Greece and get caught out. It was tough mechanically and also for our drivers who were under a lot of pressure. It was okay last year because they always had Marcus to take on that lead role. Of course Mikko has done a good job of taking on that lead role this year, but there were times in Greece when the pressure showed - even for an ice man like Mikko. It was the same for Jari-Matti. I think we all learned an awful lot in Greece.
Which driver from any team (including your own) has impressed you most this year? Why?
I have to say it's my own drivers - both of them. First of all Mikko, because of the way that he's stepped up to the mantle of being the lead driver. To have done that at such a young age - to have adapted to the pressure of being a lead driver at Ford and to be leading the championship - speaks volumes about what he's learned in the last few years. Then there's Jari-Matti because of his blinding speed. It's not very often you get a driver who makes everybody say 'how did they do that?!' but Jari's done that on quite a few occasions. I've sat there sometimes, watching the split times, thinking this can't last, but he has make it last. Okay, he has made mistakes, but the two of them have both delivered in different ways. I believe I have the dream team. I wouldn't wish to have anybody else driving the cars at the moment.
How much testing will you do between Turkey and Finland and what technical aspects of the car are you concentrating on?
We've have four tests planned between Turkey and Finland. Three tarmac tests and a gravel one for Finland. Gravel wise, we're feeling pretty confident. We'll be running a very similar set-up to last year which was the launch event for the current spec car. So we've been concentrating our efforts over the summer on developing our tarmac car and training for our drivers. Both of them tend to be stronger on gravel than asphalt so they've been concentrating on that.