Tuesday | 30 Sep 2014

Rallye de France Fighting talk: Part 1

Our first collection of quotes from the WRC drivers ahead of this week’s all-asphalt Rallye de France – Alsace (3 – 5 October)

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R: “My goal is third in the championship.”
“I am looking forward to driving on asphalt again – particularly after we enjoyed such a good Rally Germany recently. Hopefully I can improve again this time. My goal is also to seal third place overall in the Drivers’ Championship in France. That would give me free rein in Spain and Wales, as I would not have to concern myself with the World Championship situation.”

Bryan Bouffier, Hyundai i20: “We’re hoping for a strong comeback”
“Germany was difficult for us so we’re hoping for a strong comeback this weekend. It’s our home rally so it will be especially important to do well there as our friends and supporters will be out in the stages. It’s an event that I have contested before as part of the French Championship – the last time in 2010 - and from those experiences I remember the stages are really nice and I really liked them. Our target is to finish the rally unperturbed and we will do our best to help the team in the development of the car.”

Thierry Neuville, Hyundai i20: “I’m hoping for rain.”
“We had some good preparation with a test in Vosges and the East Belgian Rally back home in Belgium. We had some rain during our test, which is obviously important if we encounter wet conditions over the weekend. In fact, I will be hoping for it because the driver can really make a difference in difficult conditions. I have good experience in the rain and have always shown a competitive level – not just in the WRC but also in my early career in Belgium. Like all rallies, France is a sprint event and we have to drive on the limit all the time but I’m sure we’re up to the challenge!”

Kris Meeke, Citroen DS3: “I know we can finish on the podium”
“We have managed to be among the frontrunners in the last three or four rallies. We have to keep going and try and mix it more and more with the battle for the lead. I know we can finish on the podium. It’s down to us to perform right to the finish. I like the kind of roads you get in France, but I have acquired most of my experience during the many test sessions we have organised in the region. For the 2014 stages, we’re going to have to take new pace notes. We’re beginning to get used to doing that.”

Mikko Hirvonen, Ford Fiesta RS: “I’m up for the challenge”
“As Tarmac events go, Rallye de France is one that I enjoy. The biggest challenge is probably the weather. It can be a rally of strategy and you need to ensure that you are on the right tyre for each leg of the event. Road position can also be important. More than anything though, you need to be very precise and tidy with your driving and keep focused through all of the potential conditions. We’ve had two podium finishes here in the past and it would be great to be in the fight for a similar result this week. I’m definitely up for the challenge!”

Sebastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R:We have to do a better job than last time”
“The home rally is always very special for me. My goal is to be crowned World Champion in my own country again. To do this, however, I must score six points more than my team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala. A win could be enough. I think Jari-Matti will once again be my fiercest rival. We have to do our job better this time than at the last asphalt rally in Germany, and finish with both cars.”

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