Wednesday | 20 May 2015

Fighting Talk: Portugal

Our round-up of quotes from the WRC stars ahead of this week’s Vodafone Rally de Portugal (21 - 24 May).

Sébastien Ogier. Volkswagen Polo R:After the disappointing weekend in Argentina, it is very important for me and the entire team to draw the right conclusions and come back stronger. The opposition is wide awake: both Citroën, with Kris Meeke and Mads Østberg, and Ford’s Elfyn Evans proved that emphatically in Argentina. It will be far from easy.”

Hayden Paddon. Hyundai i20: “It is a real level playing field being a new event for everyone and we have to make the most of this kind of opportunity. John and I are always working hard on our pace note system and developing new ideas, so we are focusing on having a really good recce.”

Ott Tänak. Ford Fiesta RS: “Going to a region I enjoy with a brand new car is a real confidence boost. The car has changed in many areas and the team have all worked really hard. It’s a step forward in many ways, but the biggest improvement for me is in the handling. It was good before, but now it really gives you that extra boost.”

Mads Østberg. Citroen DS3: “After two second places in Mexico and Argentina, I get the feeling that we are heading in the right direction. The team has done an excellent job and the one-two finish at the last round was perfect for our confidence.”

Thierry Neuville. Hyundai i20: “We have tested in this region both last year and also in April, using different roads and experiencing different conditions. I also participated in the Fafe Rally Sprint in 2013 so I know what to expect from that stage. I really hope to find good settings straight away and be competitive.”

Jari-Matti Latvala. Volkswagen Polo R: “New sections of route are always a major challenge, because we have to write the pace notes from scratch and learn the ‘language’ of the roads. From what I have seen so far, the unfamiliar sections ought to suit me better. The surface is relatively soft, you have more grip and can drive more aggressively.”

Kris Meeke. Citroen DS3: “I know we still have a lot to do in order to be competitive at all of the rallies, but the win in Argentina has given us confidence. We’ll have to keep going and stick to our strategy. I’m not going to set myself any new goals. I just need to be very consistent and avoid making any mistakes.”

Andreas Mikkelsen. Volkswagen Polo R: “Two years ago I made my first start for Volkswagen in the WRC here. Last season I finished fourth and narrowly missed out on a spot on the podium, so I have fond memories of the Rally Portugal. This year I definitely want to be in the top three. I think that is a realistic goal”

Elfyn Evans. Ford Fiesta RS: “I’ve been pretty pleased with our pace in Portugal over the last couple of years, but for various reasons we’ve not been able to translate that into points. I’m ready to put that right this year.”

Robert Kubica. Ford Fiesta RS WRC: "We missed Argentina to focus on reorganising our team but having made a promise to the fans, we're coming back. We'll take part in a completely new car. Unfortunately, having worked on reorganising the squad, we haven't had the time to test, so we're set for a busy weekend. The team will work together with M-Sport, which prepared the new Fiestas. However we're continuously working on developing our squad."

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