WRC – Ypres Rally Belgium – Transcript of the pre-event press convention

WRC Rally Croatia - Thierry Neuville giving interviews

FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP

Current:
Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT – Sébastien Ogier (FRA)
Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT – Thierry Neuville (BEL)
M-Sport Ford WRT – Adrien Fourmaux (FRA)

Q.
Thierry, the WRC has arrived at your property nation in Belgium to the well-known Ypres Rally. Firstly, now that you’re right here and recce is completed, how are you feeling about the truth that Belgium has a spherical of the championship?
TN:
I at all times got here to Ypres as I just like the occasion. I at all times get pleasure from coming right here. There are particular roads. There are a variety of straights, a variety of junctions, fairly slippery tarmac in numerous locations. To come back again right here in a WRC, in my favorite automobile, it positively feels good mainly. I had the event prior to now to drive in Germany – primarily my dwelling occasion – as is definitely nearer to my dwelling than Ypres. Now being in Belgium, with the assist of the followers, driving on the roads I like, it’s positively going to be a spotlight.

Q:
You’ve accomplished right here six occasions beforehand and gained the occasion in an R5. We’re utilizing some similar parts and similar levels however in numerous instructions? What’s the route like for the WRC, does it measure up?
TN:
I’m just a little bit stunned really, the bits they’ve chosen. There may be a variety of new tarmac in comparison with the rally occasion two years in the past. The roads had been a a lot rougher and far more bumpy with extra chopping than there really is that this 12 months. I’ve executed a variety of the bits ultimately, in some path. Ultimately, we solely had 45 p.c of pace-notes for this 12 months’s itinerary. I believe I do know very effectively the place I’m on a regular basis.

Q:
Inform me concerning the testing forward of this occasion. You’ve got executed two assessments right here. Why have you ever executed two assessments – is it at a essential place within the season or did you’ve gotten two assessments within the bag? Or one more reason?
 
TN:
Principally, Ott had two days in Portugal and I ought to have executed two days in Sardinia however at the moment, I didn’t see the necessity to check two occasions there. I wished to maintain in the future accessible for one more rally. Coming right here to Ypres, I had a variety of rain on my first day. The goal was to check just a little bit nearer to the rally once more as a result of we’d have a greater concept of what the climate can be like. So I used that further day to check every week earlier than the occasion.

Q:
I do know you’d like to get a win at dwelling, any driver would. So how essential is it to get a win right here Championship clever now for you?
TN:
Championship-wise for the Driver’s Title, it will be a tricky problem however you by no means know what’s going to occur. We’ve seen so many issues occurring all through the previous seasons and the whole lot continues to be open. It will be a tricky problem, I’ll want some assist from the others as effectively however I can solely focus on myself and do my greatest and see the place I find yourself.

Q:
Seb, championship chief heading into what might be a brand-new journey for you. It’s stunning what number of drivers haven’t competed right here. Inform us what you’ve gotten considered the levels out of your recce expertise?
SO:
Such as you say, there are a variety of issues to find. I believe there was no actual shock from the recce as a result of clearly, like everyone, we now have watched the movies earlier than coming right here to have an concept what’s coming. It has very particular roads. Actually slim more often than not and a variety of grip change, a variety of cuts even Thierry stated there aren’t as many prior to now however there may be nonetheless quantity, I imagine. It has some large challenges additionally for the tyres, I’d say. We’ve in the intervening time type of weak tyres on tarmac and the puncture threat is fairly excessive, I imagine, this weekend. I hope that this is not going to really determine what occurs with the outcomes. However we now have to remember the fact that this may be a problem for certain. However yeah, it’s possibly not the nicest profile you wish to have for a tarmac rally however it’s nonetheless a problem for certain. It’s nonetheless a really troublesome rally the place on the finish, the World Championship is good as it’s numerous. Each rally is totally different and this one could be very untypical for tarmac. I believe it’s good to have it within the Championship now. At the least, I believe one constructive is that there shouldn’t be a lot street evolution right here. I imagine that each man that’s beginning on the prime no matter, 5 – ten have an opportunity to struggle with out serious about street place. It’s at all times good for the rally and for the competitors. So let’s see what we will do. It’s laborious to say, we had a not an excellent check. The roads weren’t very good, actually, not very consultant. So we now have to see a bit tomorrow morning with Shakedown, how the automobile is, to verify that we really feel good right here. You talked about the Championship, in fact we’re good the place we at the moment are however with 5 races there are a lot of factors to catch. I do know very effectively, as effectively, that there isn’t a time to calm down but and I’ve nonetheless give my greatest. On the similar time, there isn’t a absolute want for wins so I attempt to preserve the intelligent method I’ve had in my profession, is a key phrase.

Q.
I don’t suppose I’ve ever seen you calm down even when you’ve gotten gained the Championship to be sincere. You continue to go for it. You point out that it’s a specialised occasion within the Championship. You’ve got seven titles; you don’t want recommendation from anybody. However while you come right here for the primary time, do you search for anybody totally different. I discover your route word crew consists of Simon-Jean Joseph, who has been right here seven occasions and been on the rostrum. Has he guided you in any respect?
SO:
After all, he helped me a bit however it’s already a very long time in the past that he competed within the occasion. So really, we requested a neighborhood man to assist us a bit with Stéphane Lefebvre who has good data of the roads. It was spectacular to see that: he described many, many little areas with little ideas of the place to brake. I’ll preserve my regular notes and never use his possibly, however it’s good to share just a little little bit of that because the grip change just isn’t really easy to see all over the place! It may possibly assist just a little bit although it will likely be difficult to observe the tempo of Thierry or Craig as they’ve the expertise. However I at all times begin the rally with the purpose to win so let’s see what we will do.

Q:
Adrien, your first time competing right here in Ypres and it’s again into World automobile right here. It’s not your property occasion perse, however you don’t stay too distant from right here. How do you are feeling coming into this occasion?
AF:
I’m actually glad. It’s not thus far in fact, it’s simply 40kms from my home. It is going to be actually fascinating and I’ll have my household and associates right here so I hope it will likely be a very nice occasion for me. To come back again with the WRC automobile, I’m actually glad. It is going to be my second occasion on tarmac with the automobile. It is going to be an enormous problem, particularly on these actually troublesome roads however I’m certain we are going to get pleasure from.

Q:
Croatia was spectacular together with your consequence and also you nearly getting quickest occasions earlier than Ogier made certain it didn’t occur. What are your targets right here?
AF:
The targets might be to get three or 4 prime three within the levels and struggle for the highest 5. I do know it will likely be an enormous problem. It is going to be my purpose for this one.

Q
Speak to me concerning the days right here. Are there any days or levels that stands out for you for being essentially the most difficult?
AF:
Actually, the levels in Ypres are fairly related. It’s in Spa that it will likely be totally different. It’s bumpier and in addition the observe might be a bit like Monza. It is going to be a bit difficult to alter the set-up for the Sunday. For one of these roads, we might be chopping and we now have to be intelligent for the place the mud goes after the primary man on the street and simply attempt to discover a good working level. For certain it will likely be quick so it will likely be troublesome to seek out it.

Q
Are you able to inform me about subsequent 12 months and what are you able to inform me about 2022, the place you may be and what you may be driving?
AF:
Really, we’re nonetheless engaged on it. In all probability the very best factor to do is to ask M-Sport about it.

Q
When will there be a choice or when would you want there to be a choice?
AF:
For certain I would love a full season! If that’s potential.

Q
You desire to a full season and a choice as quickly as potential in fact!
AF:
Yeah, I would love a full season for certain. To do all of the Championship in a Rally1. However really, I don’t know. However even for this season I don’t know what my automobile might be for the subsequent rally. I additionally need to know what would be the subsequent rally and the remainder of the season.
 
Q
On that word Sebastien, are you aware what number of rallies you’ll do subsequent 12 months?
SO:
I believe I discussed that it is vitally dependant on what is going to occur for me with the WEC. That I don’t know and that can take time earlier than I do know. I’m sorry that I can reply this query for some time.

Q
I’ll cease asking while you make the choice!
SO:
I’ll have a check with the WEC automobile in November. I imagine after that I can say a bit extra.

Questions from the ground:

Thomas Michiels, RTC Télé-Liège

What are the massive variations from Saturday to Sunday?
TN:
To be sincere, it’s fairly a special type of profile. Nonetheless the levels they select are fairly bumpy and a few of the sections are greasy and muddy. However actually, there was numerous rain on this space. For the remainder, it’s mainly a circuit racing fashion of stage, utilizing the observe and the paddock and a little bit of rallycross as effectively. So it’s a little bit of compromise and combination. A little bit of the whole lot. To be sincere, they might have chosen nicer roads.

Eric Dupain, BELGA Press Company

Who’s the native diver that helped you? You talked about Stéphane Lefebvre?
SO:
Sure precisely.

FIA WRC2 CHAMPIONSHIP

Current:
Hyundai Motorsport N – Oliver Solberg (SWE)
M-Sport Ford World Rally Workforce – Tom Kristensson (SWE)

Q:
Oliver, you’re in model new Hyundai Rally2 automobile, that makes its debut right here. Inform us a bit concerning the course of to attending to the rally and the way excited are you to rally it right here?
OS:
Undoubtedly, I’m very excited. It’s a new period and a brand new starting for the Rally2 undertaking. It is rather thrilling, we now have executed a variety of testing and it appears to be like fairly constructive. We’ll see when the rally begins. Personally, I’ve not executed a variety of testing on tarmac with the automobile. I solely had one pre-event check day on tarmac, and it was my first time with it on this floor. I’ve executed all my testing on gravel and snow, so on that time it was very constructive. We’ll see on tarmac this weekend however for certain I’m very excited.

Q:

Sweden is effectively represented within the press convention! For each of you, it’s your first time right here in Ypres. What a improbable occasion it’s and over time it has developed such a following. What did you suppose while you obtained out to see the levels does it stay as much as the expectations thus far?
OS:
I believe it’s new for nearly everyone. For certain it’s a improbable place to begin with right here within the city. There may be a lot ardour and environment. On the levels, in fact, should you take away it’s not moist this time however nonetheless you’ve gotten the expectations with the large cuts so it will likely be troublesome tarmac. So it’s a large problem and really, very enjoyable.

Q:
If you had been out on recce and searching on the cuts, how muddy had been the stage itself, was there a variety of filth on the market?
OS:
Nonetheless the street could be very dry, the cuts are nonetheless very moist, mushy and muddy. For certain it can drag a variety of mud out on the street and it will likely be an enormous problem. It is going to positively not be straightforward and we are going to expertise one thing on the shakedown tomorrow morning very early.

Q:
It’s fairly an honest Shakedown stage tomorrow. It was a stage right here. You’ve got 9 kilometres to get used to the automobile.
OS:
It’s a lengthy stage, it’s essential to actually get up for certain for Friday afternoon. It is rather consultant of the levels and it has the whole lot to have for the rally. Undoubtedly, it can have the whole lot for the right levels.

Q:
What’s the hope for your self by way of a consequence?
OS:
To start with, the purpose for Hyundai, for me and Jari Huttunen is to complete, to get the automobile to the end, to look good and to have the automobile wanting good. For certain, that’s the most important precedence and if the outcomes include it, that’s nice for me.

Q:
Plainly a variety of drivers are getting steering from Belgian specialists. Are you getting any?
OS:
That’s secret!

Q:
Nothing is a secret!
OS:
I really talked to Freddy Loix a bit final evening and for certain, he gave me some recommendation. It’s good apply, to get some recommendation. It’s a good paddock, everyone seems to be open, everyone seems to be household.

Q:
Tom, It’s your first season right here so how do you assess your efficiency in WRC2?
TK:
Undoubtedly, as you say, it was a really particular begin to the season and it was very particular for me simply to have the ability to do it. I’m very glad to be right here and I’ve labored very laborious for that. For certain, we’re enhancing time after time and we’re looking for the velocity and discover the boldness within the automobile. It is rather troublesome – tougher than I anticipated to seek out the right tempo to have the option deal with the setups of the automobile and to attempt to discover the velocity on the levels and the whole lot. To be sincere, I didn’t anticipate to have this lengthy strategy to go however I’ll preserve pushing and preserve working. I’m actually wanting ahead to this journey. For certain I’m extra assured on the gravel, on the stones however I actually favor to do this type of difficult issues. For us Scandinavians, it is vitally quick levels with very difficult cuts and difficult, muddy locations. For certain it will likely be an ideal journey and I’m actually wanting ahead to it.
 
Q:
What have you ever been doing to get your self ready for this occasion, apart from watching the movies, what have you ever been doing to get your self Ypres prepared?
TK:
Principally, I’m driving quite a bit on the simulator at dwelling. So, I’m placing numerous time there. In any other case, you need to focus lot on driving. I’m additionally specializing in a variety of various things, like inhaling a particular strategy to put extra air into your physique and focussing on the similar time. I’m spending a variety of time in nature, simply watching some water to see the way it strikes, to see the way it works. In order that can be making me assured in my physique. You may study quite a bit from that. So which might be a few of my methods to do it.

Q:
You might be like a life coach Tom. I like this. What’s going to be the technique, expectation and hope? It will be the primary time right here. As you stated, you don’t really feel fairly as assured on tarmac as gravel so what’s the hope this weekend?
TK:
As you say, it is a nice journey and an ideal alternative to study very a lot. So for certain we are going to study very a lot this weekend. I can’t anticipate something. I attempt to clarify the levels and the floor for my engineer however I needed to present him on video. You may’t even put it to phrases how it’s. That is among the most important issues you need to do. It’s a must to be there and go for it. I believe I have to do it step-by-step. Let’s see, you don’t understand how the cuts might be till after the WRC automobiles have been by means of. So you’ll come there and in that second you need to take a choice and do the appropriate factor and go for it

FIA WRC3 CHAMPIONSHIP

Current:
Yohan Rossel (FRA)
Ghislain de Mevius (BEL)

Q:
Yohan, we haven’t seen you for 2 occasions, but you proceed to guide the championship! First time right here in Ypres and you’re up towards plenty of robust Belgian drivers inside FIA WRC3 – how are you feeling concerning the weekend forward?
YR:
Sure, I believe it’s a laborious weekend for me. I like tarmac however it’s not the identical tarmac that I do know. I believe its very difficult, however the native drivers are very quick. The assessments are good. I believe the nook is so troublesome as a result of the grip adjustments on a regular basis. We’ll see.

Q:
It will be an unimaginable battle this weekend. There are such a lot of native drivers in WRC3. What are you hoping to stroll away with by way of a consequence? Do you suppose {that a} podium is feasible towards these guys with their native data?
YR:
I hope sure. It’s the similar as for different weekends, in Croatia, in Sardinia, in Portugal, the native drivers are available in WRC3 and it’s so troublesome for the blokes. You win the Championship however sure, it’s not the identical race however actually, I’ve to beat the blokes the identical: De Mevius, Princen… We’ll see tomorrow.

Q:
What concerning the levels. When you’ve gotten been out on recce, has something caught in your thoughts as being – woah, that could be a actually troublesome stage?
 
YR:
Sure. I have a look at a variety of movies simply earlier than the occasion and if you end up in levels, it’s so totally different. The grip just isn’t the identical. It adjustments on a regular basis. The quick street is simply superb. The corners are so quick however if you end up at 200km/h it’s not the identical. I believe it’s so troublesome for the primary time right here however I’m prepared for the problem.

Q:
Ghislain, a WRC occasion in your house nation of Belgium – firstly how does that really feel?
GM:
After all, it is vitally good to have a WRC occasion for the primary time in Belgium. It was nearly the case final 12 months however then it was cancelled. However it is vitally good to have all the very best drivers on this planet in Belgium for the primary time.

Q:
You’ve competed right here 4 occasions beforehand. How a lot of this 12 months’s route is acquainted, and the way a lot will earlier expertise of this specialised occasion be essential this weekend?
GM:
It’s positively a really powerful occasion, I did it 4 occasions however nonetheless it’s a little bit new while you come again and make the recce and see all of the roads. It is rather slippery, there may be a variety of change within the grip and an enormous threat of puncture with large cuts, it’s quick. It is rather particular. It’s not straightforward even for us as Belgians, we all know a bit extra in fact however nonetheless it’s troublesome.

Q:
That native data, will that provide the benefit over somebody like Yohan who has not been right here earlier than however has big expertise? Is that going to be the additional edge you want this weekend to possibly get on the highest step of the rostrum?
GM:
It may assist a bit. We all know the kind of street and there are additionally different Belgian rallies which might be like this one so that would assist, and the opposite Belgian drivers have executed Ypres many extra occasions than me. As you say, Kris Princen is at all times quick. These sorts of drivers know very effectively the rally.

Q:
It appears to be like like in the intervening time that we’re going to have a dry rally. Is {that a} reduction?
GM:
Properly. It’s not a reduction for me as I prefer it when it’s difficult. However when it’s raining right here, it is vitally, very difficult. If it was raining, I believe lots of people that aren’t Belgian would have gone off shortly because it slippery, nearly like ice at occasions. It is going to be dry so you may push just a little bit extra and it’s not the identical.

Questions from the ground:

Eric Dupain, BELGA Press Company

Will you go flat out to attempt to beat the WRC2 and WRC3 drivers or will you take a look on the standings and use your head relying on what occurs with the Belgian Rally Championship?
GM:
Actually I don’t know. I need to attempt to struggle with every Rally2 automobile. After all for me, the Belgian Rally Championship is extra vital however as that is the primary time for this occasion in Belgium, I need to do my greatest and possibly beat as many Rally2 automobiles as potential.
 

FIA JUNIOR WRC CHAMPIONSHIP

Current:
Sami Pajari (FIN)
William Creighton (IRL)

Q:
Will, we are going to begin with you. We all know Sami is presently the golden boy however possibly you might be the golden boy right here in Ypres as you’ve gotten expertise right here, 3 times beforehand?
WC:
We’ve been right here a few occasions earlier than with the British Championships. It’s good to return to a rally that you’ve got executed earlier than. It provides me just a little confidence however like I stated, the occasion, the category of drivers within the Junior Championship this 12 months are fairly particular. It’s positively not going to be straightforward however positively nicer coming to a rally the place what to anticipate. You recognize you are able to do barely extra preparation earlier than the occasion, onboards and issues like that. The recce went effectively and I’m simply wanting ahead to beginning.
 
Q:
What defines the Ypres Rally? When it comes to the tarmac we now have right here, does it examine to something you’ve gotten expertise in Northern Eire or Eire?
WC:
Yeah, probably not. After all, coming from again dwelling, tarmac is probably my most well-liked floor. Right here the tarmac isn’t abrasive, it is vitally clean. There are a variety of cuts the place the mud will get dragged out onto the street, it makes it even slipperier. Yeah, all through one stage you may have a lot of totally different adjustments of grip so it’s about studying that and placing it into your notes as greatest as potential. I’ve been right here a few occasions and nonetheless haven’t managed to grasp it. Maybe this might be the 12 months. It’s not going to be straightforward however it’s an incredible rally. The city is wanting good with so many individuals round. It’s simply good to be right here.

Q:
What’s it like with the route? I’m certain it has modified just a little from when you’ve gotten executed it. They’ve modified issues round just a little. Is it nonetheless nearly as good because it was earlier than and rise to the expectation?
WC:
Yeah positively. It will be an enormous problem for everyone. The route is nice and it’s fairly compact which is good. It makes the recce barely simpler for everyone. Yeah, it will be good!

Q:
I may see from the Junior social media this weekend that you’ve got had a little bit of a flavour for making chocolate. It’s a very Belgian factor to do. Have been you as profitable chocolatier?
WC:
Sure, Sami and I had been making some chocolate automobiles. Not nice for the weight loss program nevertheless it was good enjoyable. It was good of Calinor Chocolatier to allow us to in and provides us a tour of their manufacturing facility. I hope I can carry some again dwelling.

Q:
Probably a podium that you’re aiming for right here?
WC:
Yeah, its no matter we will do actually. That may be superb if we may get a podium however I believe it’s simply going to be a matter of attending to the end. When you can handle that you just won’t be so distant. I’ve stated that each rally this 12 months and everybody has gone as quick as they’ll and everybody appears to have gotten to the end line. It’s laborious to know easy methods to play it however a podium can be superb.

Q:
It’s your first season in Juniors, what have you ever considered the expertise thus far now that we’re on the penultimate occasion?
WC:
Yeah it has gone actually quick. I’ve tried to get pleasure from every occasion. Now we’re right here and there is just one occasion after this one. It’s so skilled to be competing at this degree and it has been superb to be competing on this championship. I’d like to be right here once more subsequent 12 months if that’s potential, so we are going to simply have to attend and see.

Q:
Sami, championship chief heading right here to Ypres after a formidable win in Estonia. Now we swap to a very totally different floor. What have you ever considered the Ypres expertise? What do you consider the levels?
SP:
To start with, I believe it will likely be a extremely difficult occasion. I believe, okay the Covid occasions have been powerful however I believe it has made these World Rally Championship calendar occasions extra fascinating. We’ve seen some actually fascinating and particular occasions that we don’t usually see. So a minimum of I believe it’s thrilling to have new occasions. For me it’s the first time right here however I believe it will likely be problem.

Q:
The final time the Juniors had been on tarmac was again in Croatia which you had a fairly a quantity, essentially the most stage wins there. So you’re snug on this floor?
SP:
Yeah, Croatia was a pleasant expertise. It was really my first correct tarmac occasion. It was very nice to see the tempo there additionally. I believe right here is kind of much like Croatia. It’s troublesome to say. Tomorrow we may have extra ideas about tempo. I’ll do my greatest and I’ll attempt make a clear run by means of and never damage it to start with. It’s a lengthy rally.

Q:
Are you feeling stress in your shoulders? It’s the penultimate rally. You might be main the Championship. Is there any stress on you in any respect now or are you too cool for that?
SP:
Perhaps I’d really feel some stress, however I believe the struggle continues to be so shut that it’s not over by far but. Its possibly even serving to me as it’s simpler for me as I’m in entrance fin the Championship however there are nonetheless so many various – two rallies so quite a bit can occur nevertheless it appears to be like good.

Q:
Have you ever obtained any Belgian greatest associates Sami? Has anybody been advising you on easy methods to drive these levels?
SP:
Sadly not. After all I’ve been watching some on boards and this regular preparation you’ll do earlier than new rallies, so for this rally it’s not altering an excessive amount of from the opposite rally preparation itself. At the least I believe it can assist me as now, possibly I don’t have to win so I’m simply in search of a podium and stable factors.
 
Q:
You say that now, I don’t have to win and then you definately put the helmet on tomorrow morning and issues will change.
SP:
Yeah, we are going to see. I’ll attempt to focus on doing my very own tempo and I’ll see the place we’re after that. I might want to suppose that, ought to we take some extra dangers or not. We’ll see.

Q:
How previous are you once more, remind me?
SP:
19.

Q:
Very mature method for a 19-year-old. We don’t have any questions from the ground. Thanks very a lot.

 

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