Six drivers talk about Argentina
The third and last part of the pre-event FIA press conference in which Chris Atkinson, Luis Perez Companc, Sebastien Loeb
, Mikko Hirvonen, Gabriel Pozzo and Niall McShea took part.
Q: Gabriel, welcome. You've got plenty of experience
of this event: how strong are your chances of winning the FIA PWRC category?
GABRIEL POZZO: This is a very hard race but I like it very much and I think we have good possibilities because we have a great car and great team and we have worked very hard. Our goal is the Championship.
Q: What do you think about the level of competition here in Group N compared to previous years? How strong are your rivals? What are your opinions about the super special here tonight: is it good for Argentina to have a part of the rally in Buenos Aires? Do you think it will make rallying even more popular all over the country?
GP: I think it's rather complex. Of course everybody will fight for the Championship but I am very confident. We have worked a lot after what happened in Australia. We have the same team but some new people and I am also very confident in the car. With the super special, all the travelling takes time and makes the drivers a little tired, but I think it is important for the rally. For sure, coming to Buenos Aires will help to build up the image of the rally and I think its well worth the effort to do this super special.
Q: Hello Niall and welcome back.
You were PWRC champion in 2004 – what have you been up to since then and why haven't you been back sooner? Many congratulations on securing a programme this year: how did it all happen? Was it quite unexpected? What will be the full extent of your commitments this year? Are you going to be able to get back into the rhythm of things fairly quickly, or do you think you will be a bit rusty to start off?
NIALL McSHEA: Everybody knows what my situation was with the lack of money. Unfortunately, I don't have a very rich father or anything like that, so I have had to work very hard to get money to compete. After 2004 and winning the PWRC title my main sponsor thought we had gone as far as we could, so he decided to do something else. But I must say he did a great job for me. However, now I am back and looking forward to it all immensely. The situation for me to get this drive arose because Anton Alen chose to go in the IRC with Fiat and that left an opening in this team and I was very, very fortunate that the chance came to me. My other rallies this year will be Greece, New Zealand, Ireland and Rally GB. It is fantastic for me to be back competing. I have really, really missed it. I suppose I should say I'll be a bit rusty but I hope I wont! The car is excellent and we have a really good package so I just hope I can do well.
Q: How difficult is it for you to come back to this series as a former Champion: there's obviously some degree of expectation on you to do it again. Is that something you're aware of? Is your target to aim for the title again and will it be a big disappointment for you if you don't make it?
NMc: For sure I think things have moved on in the last two years. As I say, I'm very grateful to be back. I didn't want to leave in the first place. I do think I'll be a bit rusty and it is very important that I get to the end of this rally for my Championship chances. The stages are a bit rougher than I remember in 2004 and so I think there will be a fair bit of luck in the result.
Source Rally Argentina