FIGHTING TALK: PART 1

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FIGHTING TALK: PART 1

WRC.com’s first selection of quotes from WRC drivers ahead of Coates Hire Rally Australia.

Thierry Neuville, Hyundai i20: ‘We must keep our feet on the ground’

“Claiming our first win [in Germany] was of course a moment we will never forget, however we have to stay with our feet on the ground and be focused for Australia. We had a very good result there last year and I know the roads quite well now, so we will definitely be looking to have a clean run, to bring the car to the finish and try to set some good times. We didn’t have the chance to test before Australia but we have experienced the i20 WRC in similar conditions so I think we are prepared for the event.”

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R: ‘I hope I can fight for the win’

“Switching back from asphalt to gravel is always harder than the other way around, but we had a test in Finland before the rally to get used to the feeling once again. Finland is a good choice since the rally Down Under requires a vehicle set-up somewhere between Mexico and Finland. I hope that I can fight for the win. But we also need to keep an eye on the competition outside of our team. I think that Citroën and Hyundai also have a good chance of winning.”

Mikko Hirvonen, Ford Fiesta RS: ‘The stages almost feel like being back at home.’

“This rally has always been a good event for us. In 2006 we claimed our first WRC rally win in Australia, so it will always hold a lot of amazing memories for me. The stages are fantastic to drive and some of them have a very similar character to those in Finland – it almost feels like being back at home. There’s a challenge no matter what the conditions, but more than anything it’s just flat-out enjoyment. We’ll definitely be looking towards the podium. There’s no reason why we can’t achieve that and I can’t wait to get out there and experience the stages again.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R: ‘Lack of pressure could lead to a good result’

“Back on gravel, I like it. Australia is one of the races this year that I have already completed in the Polo R. I enjoyed every special stage back then. This year we can rely on the onboard notes from 2013, and I will be studying them in detail. Overall I don’t feel under that much pressure since we are in good stead in the drivers’ standings. And whenever I have started without a lot of pressure, I have got a good result. I would like to make it onto the podium again. Of course it would be great to also win a rally one day, but I’m not in any rush. However, Australia is definitely one of the rallies in which I have the most chance of that.”

 Hayden Paddon, Hyundai i20: ‘I hope we give the Kiwi fans something to cheer for’

“Australia is the event I have been looking forward to the most and is as close as we get to a home event. I hope we give the Kiwi fans something to cheer for. We had a really good test in France recently and have adapted a new set-up from the previous events. The team are working hard to keep making strides ahead and coming off the result in Germany, the vibe in the team is very good. We are looking forward to taking another step forward and trying to mix it with the front runners.”

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Chris Nixon

Chris Nixon is Media Manager for Kennards Hire Rally Australia.