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(, 7/8/2013)  VOLKSWAGEN’S World Rally Championship leader Sebastien Ogier says winning Neste Oil Rally Finland last weekend was a dream come true. He was interviewed after the rally –

Q: Sébastien, you said before this event that you dreamt of winning Finland, the dream is now a reality, how do you feel?

SO: “Of course very well. That was a dream that came true. I am very happy with that. In 2010, I was in a good pace, but not able to fight for the win, but now it’s here. With my team Volkwagen in its first year, I want to congratulate them – it’s incredible.”

Q: Did you have a definite strategy for this event?

SO: “My strategy was to think about the Championship. My start to the race was a bit difficult, I couldn’t find the best pace – I wasn’t able to focus. Then on the second loop I could find more pace when I was sure with the notes. I was pushing and trying to be more safe – with the rain some parts of the stage were tricky and rough. We got through them and finished the rally with no problem.”

Q: On Thursday you said you had too much on your mind to concentrate on the win – what did you mean?

SO: “I knew my closest rival was out of the race for points and then I had a good opportunity to make good points. But, even if it looks really good at this moment you never know and it’s best to secure as many points as early as possible.

“I tried to stay on a good pace on the first loop and then push more and extend the lead in the second loop – this was the good strategy. Like always, I trusted my feeling: when I hesitate I like to keep it a bit back and wait for the next one.”

Q: You won both runs of Ouninpohja and broke the record – how was the stage?

SO: “I mentioned from the start of the rally that I was really looking forward to this stage and I would be trying to drive fast. This was my first time with the World Rally Car and it was impressive to see the speed that we carry the first time. Even if you have watched the video a little bit before and you trust the pace notes 100 per cent, the heart rhythm goes higher. When I was sure with the notes and we pushed, it was a lot of fun.

“In the end, it was hard with the tyres completely gone – it was too hot for the softs. It was fantastic to drive this stage and it’s also a small bonus to have this record.”

Q: Can you win the title on the next round?

SO: Mathematically, it’s possible, but quite difficult. The most important thing is that it happens – I don’t care where, if it’s Australia, France or even later, I will be very happy for that. We have seen this weekend that competing is not easy, it looks easy, but in each rally it’s tough. Thierry and Mads have both made a very good job and Mikko as well before his mistake, he also made it look tough.

“It will be a big fight to the end of the season. l hope it [the title] happens as soon as possible to get my mind really clear – then I can push even more completely to the limit. This is another great step.”

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Chris Nixon

Chris Nixon is Media Manager for Kennards Hire Rally Australia.