Tuesday | 21 Oct 2014

Rally de España Fighting talk: Part 1

Our first collection of WRC driver quotes ahead of this season’s penultimate round, the mixed surface RallyRACC-Rally de España (23 – 26 October).

Kris Meeke, Citroen DS3 (above): “We have to keep edging closer to first place.”
“I feel I’m getting stronger and stronger. Every World Championship driver needs time to feel comfortable and to be able to show their potential. My speed is more natural, and I’m able to go faster without taking as many risks as I did in the past. The stages on tarmac are pretty similar to those that I already know. It’s true that I still need to get to grips with the gravel roads, but I’ll be doing my very best. We know it’ll be very close at the front. We just have to keep edging closer to first place.”

Mikko Hirvonen, Ford Fiesta RS: “There will be a lot of drivers with a point to prove.“
“This is an event that I enjoy. We have competed here every year since 2003 and it holds some good memories for me – it was where Jarmo [Lehtinen, co-driver] and I secured our first WRC podium in 2005. I’m looking forward to the gravel stages on Friday, but we also had a really good Tarmac test with the new tyres so I’m feeling positive about that too. My goal is to strengthen our place in the championship. There will be a lot of drivers with a point to prove and a lot to gain, but if we can be in the fight for the top positions then I think it could be a good event for us.”

Sebastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R: “We have a lot to atone for.”
“We had a hapless time at our home rally in France. We have a lot to atone for, so I am even more motivated to do well at the Rally Spain. Julien and I had the opportunity to defend our title in France, but unfortunately it did not work out that way. However, I am absolutely convinced that we will defend our title in Spain. We won in Spain last year, and I feel fantastic. I have been doing a lot of exercise and am top fit.”

Neuville will be counting on his past experience in Spain

Thierry Neuville, Hyundai i20: “We learned a lot here last year.”
“We tested with the i20 to find the best set-up possible for the specific kind of asphalt we will find in Spain. We will head to this rally with the objective of finishing without any problems and we will try to keep a good pace throughout the weekend. Nicolas and I learned a lot last year from this rally and we will do our best for another positive performance.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R: “I am closing in on win number one.”
“I head to Spain relatively relaxed, as second place in France was enough to secure third place in the overall standings. The result was important for me, as it relieved a little pressure. That will certainly help me in my quest to finally claim my first win in the World Rally Championship. I will probably take a few more risks to achieve my next goal. I have finished second on two occasions this season, and am closing in on win number one. If it does not come off in Spain, then hopefully in Wales at the latest.”

Sordo and co-driver Marc Marti will be on home ground in Spain

Dani Sordo, Hyundai i20: “We will have a lot of support”
“There is always a great atmosphere at Rally de España and the tarmac stages are very nice and fast. Being Spanish, of course, it’s special for Marc [Marti] and me as we will have a lot of support from the spectators. We have the first day on gravel and I prefer it like this; my position in the championship means I will have a good starting order and, hopefully, a cleaner road surface. It’s not so hard to switch to tarmac for the final two days because you are going from not so much to plenty of grip.”

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