Wednesday | 09 Sep 2015

Fighting talk: Coates Hire Rally Australia

A round-up of driver comments ahead of this week's Coates Hire Rally Australia, round 10 of the FIA World Rally Championship.

Kris Meeke (above). DS 3: “The idea is not to push to the maximum at the start. I have to maintain the pace I have shown in the last few rallies and avoid even making the slightest mistake. If we manage to do that, then along with my starting position for the first two days, we should be well placed.”

Thierry Neuville. Hyundai i20: “The conditions are usually very dry and there is also a lot of fog and dust, so it can be a tricky rally to drive. We have shown good pace in recent rallies so we have to build on this progress and continue to accumulate as many championship points as possible.”

Elfyn Evans. Ford Fiesta RS: “I experienced Rally Australia for the first time 12 months ago and I want to improve on that performance this year. I know that there will be a lot of drivers pushing for the top positions this week. If we can finish in the top-five, I think that would be a strong result given our limited experience.”

Andreas Mikkelsen. Volkswagen Polo R: "Australia is one of my favourite rallies and last year Ola [Floene] and I set some very good times there, so I am definitely confident. I have a good chance of winning my first WRC Rally in Australia. That remains a goal, which I would like to achieve sooner rather than later. So, bring it on!”

Hayden Paddon. Hyundai i20: “I have targeted this event all year as one of our strongest events, particularly if it stays dry and we have a road position advantage. We want to push for the podium. At this level that's not easy, but we will be giving it our best shot. Of course, there is a little added pressure to score points for the team, but it’s very pleasing that the team has faith in me to challenge for points."

Sébastien Ogier. Volkswagen Polo R: “I love the Rally Australia. We head Down Under on the back of a perfect team result in Germany and we want to follow that with the next highlight. As well as the Manufacturers’ Championship with Volkswagen, we can also wrap up the titles in the Drivers’ and Co-Drivers’ championships with races still to come. We will do our best to achieve this – ideally with a perfect team result.”

Ott Tänak. Ford Fiesta RS: "I’ve only done this event once before and that was with a Ford Fiesta R5 but that doesn’t really change my approach. It’s difficult to say how competitive we will be having never driven a world rally car at this event, but I definitely want to be competitive and the top-five is the minimum we’ll be aiming for.”

Jari-Matti Latvala. Volkswagen Polo R: “In Australia, you need a car set-up somewhere between the Rally Mexico and the Rally Finland. We have good reference values, which we will use. I am very confident about Australia. Last year it was very tight between Sébastien Ogier and me, and my goal for this year is to be up there challenging for the win again.”

Mads Østberg. DS 3: "I really want to be among the frontrunners. I have already shown I can be fast in Australia, but it’s the only gravel rally on which I have yet to record a good result. The target is to improve on my performance in previous years and fight for a place on the podium.”

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