05 Nov 09
You finished ninth overall on Rally Great Britain at the wheel of a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X. How did that car compare to the Evo IX you used for the rest of the year - and why wait until the end of the season to switch?
"I'm very happy with how we did with the Evo X. When we started in Great Britain all the team expected was a good result - and that meant to get to the finish, in maybe fifth or sixth. In the event, apart from a small problem with the engine the car gave me a very good feeling and we did really well. The car is very competitive and I think in the future we can make good results with it. We decided to switch from the Evo IX in Wales because it was too dangerous to change mid season when we were fighting for the championship. If I continue with the Mitsubishi in 2010, then I will start from the beginning with the Evo X."
But even with a largely trouble-free run, you were beaten on the stages in Wales by Eyvind Brynildsen in the Skoda Fabia S2000. What do you think about the equivalency of the Group N and S2000 cars?
"For me it's completely wrong. Starting with the cost; one car [the S2000] costs twice as much to run for one season as the other, and buying one is double the cost of the other. Mechanically too the cars are completely, completely different; one is born to be a street car - a standard car - while the other is born to be a racing car. I think everything is different in the cars. In my opinion you need to have one championship for Super 2000 and one for Group N cars."
So what about next year, can we expect to see you in Super 2000 car - perhaps in the WRC Cup?
"A lot depends on my sponsors. I'm looking at the new Super 2000 category, but also the Group N with the new engine rules. I'm trying to understand what is possible to do. As I said, I don't agree with the rules to put the Super 2000 and the Group N cars together in the same class but of course I want to continue in P-WRC and defend my title. For now I don't know what we will do, I need to wait and see what is possible."
But if you had the choice, would you rather be back in a Super 2000 or Group N car?
"When you have these two in the same level then for sure I want the S2000. But it's double the budget. That's the difficulty."
You drove a Mitsubishi Lancer World Rally Car in 2005. Any plans to make the step up to another World Rally Car in the near future?
"Not at the moment. The World Rally Cars are fantastic, but the fact is the class will finish in a couple of years, so for now I'm pushing for a Super 2000 car or, later on, one of the 1600cc turbo cars. It's not a good idea to push for a World Rally Car for the moment."
Looking at this year's WRC drivers' contest, what did you think about the battle between Loeb and Hirvonen - did the best man win?
"I think the best man, the best car and the best team won. You have to look at everything together."
It won't be long now until you join Martin Prokop, Sebastien Loeb and the other World Champions at the FIA awards in Monaco. How will that feel?
"Well it's been a hard fight. So when I get there and receive the award I'm sure it will be a very special moment. It will be like a dream."
Want more from Armindo? Then watch his title winning season from the stages with our EXCLUSIVE video profile in the WRC TV section.