Team bosses reflect: Monte day two
Matton, Wilson and Capito answer the big questions
Back in the service park in Valence, here’s what Yves Matton (Citroen Total Abu Dhabi), Malcolm Wilson (Qatar M-Sport) and Jost Capito (Volkswagen Motorsport) had to say about Thursday’s competition:
Q: Yves, it’s been a really difficult day for the drivers out there but a fantastic day again for Sebastien Loeb. You must be happy?
Yves Matton: “Yes. Like yesterday night he’s still leading the rally. It was a difficult day, but he managed his pace very well - going hard where he could and being cautious at the right places.”
Q: But his team-mate Mikko Hirvonen seemed to struggle. He just couldn’t find the pace today. What’s wrong?
Yves Matton: “If we knew the problem for sure we would solve it! But yes, he had some difficulties to enter the game today, especially when there is a mix of snow and asphalt. We will try some things tonight and see if we can find a solution.”
Q: Dani Sordo is doing well in third overall, but it looks like he’s got a big job to keep Evgeny Novikov behind.
Yves Matton: “Yes, but he did a great job on the first loop, where he studied the stages and didn’t push too hard. Now he tries to keep his place he went harder on the second loop. But these are not the conditions that he prefers.”
Q. It’s been another strong day for Sebastien Ogier. Some great times on the stages and in second position overall. How is the team feeling today?
Jost Capito: “I think our drivers seem to wake up earlier in the morning than the others because yesterday Sebastien won the first stage and today he did the same again. Actually, it’s been a really great day again. Coming with a new car to the first rally and being second after the second day is something we would have never dreamed of. We have had no technical problems with the cars, the team is calm, quiet and focused so we hope it will continue like this.”
Q. Coming to this rally did you think a podium was a possibility?
Jost Capito: “No. In Monte-Carlo everything can happen. And still everything can happen. So we are still not talking about a podium – it’s too far away.”
Q. In terms of weather conditions for over next few days, are VW hearing anything in particular? There is talk of a lot of snow on Saturday.
Jost Capito: “I don’t think there will be any snow [smiles]. Let’s ask Malcolm…"
Q. Malcolm, what are you hearing?
Malcolm Wilson: “I don’t know [smiles]. You had better ask Yves…”
Q. We’ve seen some fastest times from the Qatar M-Sport team today. You must be pleased after the way things went yesterday?
Malcolm Wilson: “Yes, they’ve done a great job today. It was nice to see Juho get his first fastest stage time in a WRC event, but think the real highlight has been Evgeny’s performance. We’ve seen in the past that he could do the odd quickest time but he’s been really consistent today and put a little bit of pressure on Dani. It’s been a great performance. We didn’t have a good opening day so it’s really nice to get back winning stages again.”
Q. Is there still a little bit of a worry with Evgeny? We know how quick he is, but in the past we’ve seen him have a lot of pace and then the car has gone off the road. Does he have your nerves on edge at all?
Malcolm Wilson: “Yes because when you look at the times that he was doing today, and the gaps, it wasn’t just by just half a second or two or three seconds. I think at one point it was by 10 seconds and you start to think, gosh, that’s a big margin with the level of experience that he’s got. But I think we saw last year how he developed and progressed. Its fair to say I’m still a little bit nervous, as you can imagine, when he takes that kind of margin, but he seems to be very happy and very comfortable in the position that he’s in.”
Q. Evgeny and Mads Ostberg are your frontrunners in the team this season. Mads is a little bit further back. He’s had some good times but struggled towards the end. Are you concerned at all?
Malcolm Wilson: “It’s his first Monte-Carlo. It’s a little bit like Yves said about Mikko; when there’s consistent grip he seems to be very good but when you get these patches of snow and ice or the conditions are changing then he’s found it difficult to get the confidence and, to be honest, that’s what it’s all about. If he can get the confidence in those conditions it works. But I think he’s done a good job to come here for the first time and do what he’s done so far.”
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