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READ what the top three crews had to say at the official FIA press conference after Rally Guanajuato Mexico –

Present:
1st – Kris Meeke, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
1st – Paul Nagle, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
2nd – Sébastien Ogier, M-Sport World Rally Team
2nd – Julien Ingrassia, M-Sport World Rally Team
3rd – Thierry Neuville, Hyundai Motorsport
3rd – Nicolas Gilsoul, Hyundai Motorsport
Yves Matton, Team Principal, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team

Q:
Kris, what an incredible rally. You had delivered a faultless performance and then what happened on that final Power Stage?
KM:
Yes okay, it was a stupid mistake. I went on the brakes and the car went a bit sideways and went through a deep gully. It put the car on an outside line and we went through a fence. It was in the hands of the gods after. It was not a big off but I had to find my way out. It was a nerve-wracking moment and, for sure, it was a mistake. The most important thing was after two bad rallies we proved the potential of the C3. We had managed to do that yesterday as well. That was important. There was a lot of frustration in the team after two bad results. This is actually one of my least favourite rallies. I’ve never enjoyed it before, but at least we proved the potential of the car.

Q:
Has this result now enabled you to get your confidence back up and improved the morale in the team? You held the lead and had a good pace all weekend.
KM:
Before the event I said that we had not come here with much confidence at all. We had experienced different issues and been inconsistent. That knocks your confidence and we were definitely coming here to do something. We changed some things in the shakedown. It clicked together and we had a good road position on day one. I made a gap of 20 seconds, but I stalled and lost some time, about nine seconds. I was apprehensive on Saturday morning. I had only been here two times before and I knew what pace Seb [Ogier] was capable of. I was not sure if we could match him. After the first stage on Saturday, the difference was about one second and I thought that maybe could manage to do it.

Q:
Can you carry this form into the next round of the championship on tarmac in Corsica?
KM:
The next tarmac test is very important. We proved here that the car works well. Corsica is different than Monte Carlo. It all felt good in testing. I hope that we can fight for the victory. Last year we showed that the car has good speed there.

Q:
Paul, tell us how you are feeling after the win and the drama on that last stage?
PN:
I am not sure at the moment! It has been a long weekend and it was virtually the last stage. We have driven so many corners all weekend and then you see it all flash in front of you. I knew we needed to try and find a way out and I was judging what time we had lost and whether we had lost it [the win]. It was a very tense few moments. We needed a bit of luck. We never get the rub of the green. We took all our luck here. As Kris said, the car is fantastic. Citroën got it just right. People forget what a history they have in the sport and they always produce a very good car.

Q:
Seb, second position, points on the Power Stage and now you lead the championship? You must be happy with that?
SO:
Of course, I am happy. We had a difficult position to start with on day one, but I managed to fight back and had a battle with Kris. I must say congratulations to Kris, Paul and all the Citroën team. They were very strong all weekend and we did not have enough pace to catch them. Okay, they had some good luck in the last stage, but they deserved the victory.

Q:
Do you think that you can be competitive on tarmac?
SO:
I have had a good feeling since Monday. I am confident that the Ford Fiesta will be very capable, maybe more so on tarmac than gravel. I am looking forward to the next rally in Corsica.

Q:
There were a couple of mistakes from you?
SO:
It was not possible to drive so fast in some moments. We made a couple of mistakes. I am still struggling with the balance of the car. In the technical sections we are still too slow. We have a development test coming up. Maybe we will take a change of direction with the car. It’s a very good car. It must be because we are leading the championship.

Q:
Julien, what are your thoughts on the weekend?
JI:
We are happy with this result. It was raining quite a lot during the weekend. This is not normal on this event, but it was a good battle between us. The two first rallies were a bit strange. Now we switch to tarmac in Corsica. But I am happy.

Q:
Thierry, great points here for you with a podium finish and the win on the Power Stage. But there were troubles this weekend?
TN:
Am I satisfied? I would say yes. I am not 100% happy. My aim was to fight for the victory. We had trouble in the first stage and the team did an amazing job to service the car, which we were not sure that we could keep in the rally on Friday night. Thanks to them. I had a good rhythm and I did not lose too much time. I was happy to win the Power Stage and collect the extra five points.

Q:
Were you happy with your pace?
TN:
Our car is still fast, if you look at the times and assess the conditions. There were a lot of different drivers with fastest times this weekend – Hyundai, Citroën and Ford were very equal. For us, this weekend I was focusing on the points and the Power Stage. We drove fast and efficiently in the car. There was not a real reason to push very hard, but I was always in the top three, four or five times.

Q:
We saw your visual reaction to Kris Meeke going off. What were you thinking?
TN:
I really do not know. I have memories of that from my last two rallies. I was more unlucky than him. I know how it feels, but he deserved the win. They have been fast from the first stage.

Q:
Nicolas, are you happy with the performance and the result?
NG:
We can be happy with this performance. The two first rallies were not a reality. The car is quite fast and Thierry is happy driving the car. The best is yet to come.

Q:
Yves, we have been waiting for the C3 to show its potential and Kris proved that this weekend. Is this result a major confidence boost for the morale of the team?
YM:
Yes, for sure, we were not happy for the first two events we had. All the team was concentrated on what we had to do here.  Everything was focused on what was not working. Mexico is the first gravel event of the year and gravel was the surface we worked on last year and we had a good test two weeks ago. It was difficult to be confident but we were hoping that the good feeling we had in the test was a reality. We saw that here. The C3 has a good working base and is a very good car. It was a boost for everyone. There is no pressure now.

Q:
What were your thoughts when you saw what happened to Kris on the last stage?
YM:
Personally, at the beginning it was different – the information between the television and the tracking was not the same. First of all I try to understand what happened. The car was moving on the tracking and the television was different. It was only 20 seconds, but no time appeared on the screen.  I wondered what had caused a situation like that. I enjoyed it a lot when I did see the stage time!

Q:
And thoughts on Corsica now?
YM:
It was a difficult start to the year for us. In Monte Carlo we were not at the level we expected. Corsica will be similar to Friday and Saturday in Monte. We will keep cautious and I am quite confident after what Kris showed last year in Corsica. We have a good chance and a good speed with our drivers.

FIA WRC 2 CHAMPIONSHIP

Present:
1st – Pontus Tidemand, Škoda Motorspor
1st – Jonas Andersson, Škoda Motorsport

Q:
Pontus, congratulations on your second win of the season. You had a fantastic battle with Eric Camilli this weekend? How are you feeling?
PT:
I feel very good. We had a good performance from the start, good cooperation and everything was working well. It has been the perfect start to the season for us and I am looking forward to the next event. Jonas has been here many times before but this was my first time at this rally. It was a good fight with Eric. He was very fast yesterday and we were aggressive today to take the win.

Q:
Eric had the advantage for much of yesterday. Did you have any problems?
PT:
No, no problems. I was holding back a little bit. We had our strategy, but I did not have a good rhythm. It was not perfect. If you start to push like this it is easy to make mistakes. It was better in the afternoon and for today. We had a plan and it worked out

Q:
What were your impressions on this rally?
PT:
It was a shock to have less power. I guess the drivers have to adapt and change driving style. It is not easy to make the pace notes, but it is good training and more about preparations and what to eat, I am happy.

Q:
And how are you feeling about the season ahead?
PT:
This is a perfect result for my championship. It could not be better. We just have to keep working now. Portugal is a mandatory event for all the WRC 2 drivers. It will be tough there, but we need to keep up the pace.

Q:
Jonas, you have been here many times before and you know the event well. How much do you think that helped Pontus?
JA:
It’s difficult to say, of course, but we had some ideas and it worked out very well. We knew it was going to be a tough rally and from the recce we knew the roads were not smooth if you run off the line. We had a game plan and it worked.

Q
Did you have any moments out there?
PT:
Nothing like Kris Meeke, for sure!

Q:
As Pontus said, some events are mandatory in WRC 2. Are you confident that Pontus has the pace to win the championship?
JA:
I am very confident. We have made a great start and will continue to work hard for the wins.

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