RALLY SWEDEN: WHAT THE DRIVERS EXPECT

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RALLY SWEDEN: WHAT THE DRIVERS EXPECT

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READ WRC.com’s round-up of quotes from the WRC stars ahead of this week’s snowy spectacular, Rally Sweden –

Sebastien Ogier. Volkswagen Polo R: “It looks as though we are going to have very good conditions this year. There is a lot of snow on the ground, and the cold temperatures have transformed many sections of the route into skating rinks. I am looking forward to it, and to a fast rally. The only thing that could possibly ruin my fun a little would be fresh snow. That would be a slight disadvantage for the first drivers on the route. All the same, I head to Sweden full of optimism, as the win at the Rally Monte Carlo has given me even more motivation.”

Hayden Paddon. Hyundai i20: “It’s humbling to be given the chance to be a part of the official team [following Dani Sordo’s injury]. Of course it adds a little pressure to finish the rally to make sure we can score points for the team but in saying this, the plan is always to finish, so we will not change our approach. Our engineer will move with us to focus on the #8 car. All the cars are virtually the same anyway; the only small difference is that we do have to use some of Dani’s setup as some components are linked. But this isn’t a problem, and I’m excited by the prospect of driving car #8.”

Ott Tanak. Ford Fiesta RS: “The conditions look really nice at the moment so I hope it stays like this. If we can be relaxed and get into a good rhythm early on then it could be a good event for us. It’s a real adrenaline rush driving these fast stages and I can’t wait to get out there and have some fun!”

Mads Østberg. Citroen DS3: “Rally Sweden is one of the key moments of my season. I really can’t wait to be there. The last few years have gone pretty well with a series of podiums. After a very good rally in 2014, my goal is to fight at the front.”

Thierry Neuville. Hyundai i20: “I have taken part in Rally Sweden on three previous occasions and although I have found it difficult, I have learned more with each visit. For my fourth participation, I am sure can further improve my speed and confidence. If you haven’t become accustomed to driving on such fast roads in these conditions from a young age, it is hard to find a rhythm.”

Jari-Matti Latvala. Volkswagen Polo R: “I learned to drive rally cars on snow and ice. Even as a kid I used to bomb across frozen lakes, so I feel right at home at Rally Sweden. The second place at the Rally Monte-Carlo also gives me cause for optimism. That was better than I expected. Should I win in Sweden, it would underline my title aspirations.”

Kris Meeke. Citroen DS3: “I really enjoyed my first outing in Sweden in 2014. The conditions weren’t perfect as we had fairly high temperatures, but it was still great to drive on these roads. You always have fun in conditions like these! However, as this is the only event on the calendar to be contested on snow, you need several years to acquire enough experience to be able to fight at the front.”

Andreas Mikkelsen. Volkswagen Polo R: “I start third on the first couple of days, and the first drivers out will have a disadvantage if there is a lot of snow on the route. As such, I hope the roads are icy, rather than covered in snow. Should that not be the case, I will be aiming for a top-five finish. At the moment, people keep asking me whether I can win with last year’s Polo R WRC. I am convinced that I can.”

Elfyn Evans. Ford Fiesta RS: “I haven’t got a massive amount of experience on snow, but I do enjoy it. It’s  unique and different – a new challenge – and I think that’s what I like about coming back here; even if I’m not a massive fan of the cold! There’s something of a score to settle after last year and I really want to finish this event. We made a fairly solid start 12 months ago, but there was a lot of scope for improvement. Our priority will be to ensure that we show that improvement.”