Leg 1 – Meet the Crews

Leg 1 – Meet the Crews


The traditional “Meet the Crews”, a public interview that the fans can attend, hosted Elfyn Evans, Ott Tanak and Thierry Neuville after the Shakedown.

Friday 29th March
Richard Milener, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team
Tommi Mäkinen, Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team
Andrea Adamo, Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team
Pierre Budar, Citroën Total World Rally Team

Elfyn Evans, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team
Ott Tänak, Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team
Thierry Neuville, Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team

Q: It’s been an amazing day for your team with Elfyn Evans’performances. Are you a happy team manager this evening?
RM: Yes. Of course we’re really happy. Seeing Elfyn taking the fight to Ott Tänak in this rally is a real cause for satisfaction. Not only is Elfyn leading the race, he’s been in contention in all the day´s specials. We’d like to thank the organisation for having reacted so quickly after his problem with Kris in the last stage. It was a good decision in view of the battle we’re going to see tomorrow.

Q:  How would you sum up the day between Ott’s performances and the problems that hit Jari-Matti and Kris?
TM: We’ve got mixed feelings this evening. Ott’s done another fantastic job even if there’s still a long way to go. Despite his problem with the damper he pushed really hard until the end and he’s in a good position for tomorrow. I know him and he’s going to go pedal to the metal again. Jari-Matti’s got the top speed, but his notes prevented him from going flat out. And he was also a bit unlucky with a puncture. In Kris’s case, it’s a real pity as he was very quick in each of the splits. Tomorrow, he’s got to start on the front foot again. The rally’s still long and he’s got time to show what he can do till the end of the event.

Q: As a team manager are you happy that two of your cars are in the top 4?
AA: Of course, even if you always hope to be more competitive! Thierry’s done a good job all day and he’s clearly in contention for victory. For Dani, the result is also as satisfying even if he was a bit disappointed with his performance this evening. He’s getting old (laughter)! Sébastien’s still too young (more laughter)! But we believe in his potential and we’re going to take it step by step with this future hope!

Q: Today didn’t pan out as you expected, why?
PB: We were hoping for a better start. Maybe we missed something in testing. And today with six stages without service, we really couldn’t have changed much on the car. All the engineers and mechanics, the whole team in fact, are hard at work to enable Sébastien and Esapekka to find a comfortable, and above all, quick car.

Q: Elfyn, what an unbelievable day. Are you happy with this performance and being the leader?
EE: Yes, I am. It was a good day. I really love this event: I drove well today and I could push as much as I liked!

Q: Tomorrow, you’re going to race in a 48-km stage. Difficult?
EE: Our plan is to push very hard. Throughout the day there will be roads with different characteristics so you have to know how to adapt your car and your driving to these conditions!

Q: The end of the day must have been stressful with the problem in the last stage…
OT: I’d like to thank Race Control for their rapid reaction. There was no problem with Kris. I was stuck behind him, but in cases like these the only solution is to stay calm.

Q: Ott, it was a very long day without service. How did you manage the problem with the damper in the late afternoon?
OT: I managed. It was a good day that I really enjoyed. The car ran very well and I felt good sensations with it. The roads are very nice here.

Q: What’s the aim for tomorrow?
OT: It’s going to be a no-holds-barred battle! Behind us the other drivers are going to push very hard. We’ve got two days left, so everything is still possible. Tomorrow’s stages have very different profiles and it’ll be difficult to open up gaps. You’ll have to stay very focused.

Q: Thierry, you were never fully satisfied at the finish of the specials. Even so you’re third this evening…  
TN: Yes, overall it’s been a good day for us despite everything. We’re less than ten seconds behind the leader. I complained a lot as I wasn’t always 100 per cent content with the car and with the notes. At the end of the day we found the right setup and that gives us a fair amount of hope for tomorrow. Tomorrow’s going to be a great day to follow the rally.

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