17 Dec 09
So what was causing those early mistakes?
"The speed with the C4 WRC was completely different to the Super 1600 I had driven before, so I had to adapt my pace notes and that took some time. They were not perfect all the time, and that led to some surprises in the stages..."
How were the pace notes wrong?
"The main problem was down to the increased speed of the WRC car. I had so much detail in my notes and they were coming so fast that Julien had problems saying everything and that meant it wasn't very clear for me. Also, my description of the road was sometimes not correct for the speed of the car and the brake points were wrong. Getting the correct position into a corner is much more important in a World Rally Car. In a small car, if your angle is not perfect you can alter it and it's not a big problem. But if you try to go on the limit in a WRC car you must have a perfect pace note and description of the road."
Do you think you were trying too hard to impress?
"I think perhaps I didn't take enough time to learn and I wanted to go too fast too quickly. I knew I had a good opportunity but I also knew I had to prove quickly what I could do. There are not a lot of manufacturer seats around, and even though Olivier told me I had plenty of time to learn it?s always better to prove you can be fast."
But things improved later on. At what point did you think, okay, I've proved I deserve this?
"Let's say it was low pressure after we got the second place in Greece. Before then it was a bad time because there were many rallies with small mistakes and problems. The result in Greece helped me to go to the next rally without being under pressure and feeling more confident with myself. In Greece I was not even going very fast, I was just keeping things consistent and avoiding mistakes. That was the key to the good results. In Greece I felt I had progressed."
How have you changed as a driver since the start of the 2009 season?
"It's difficult to say. I think I've progressed in just about all the things I do on rallies - but perhaps most importantly my pace notes. I think my English has come on a bit as well!"
How do you feel to be staying with Citroen?
"For sure it's perfect to continue with this team. The relationship we have is perfect. Also I think my car will be better as well in 2010 because this year I started the season with an older specification. At the time it was enough for me to start to learn the WRC, but now I think the team will give me a good car to fight for podiums."
So what is your objective for the 2010 season?
"This year was just my fourth in rally and my first in WRC, so I think my progression for the moment is okay. The second part of this season was quite okay, and in Poland, Finland and Australia I did good performances. Now the challenge for 2010 is to continue to improve in this way."