The co-drivers talk about Rally OZ
At the end of Rally Australia, three co-drivers had the joy of climbing on the podium. Jarmo Lethinen, Phil Mills and Ilka Minor achieved good results last weekend and were happy to talk about their respective performance in Australia.
Lethinen (Mikko Hirvonen's co-driver)
Just like Hirvonen, Lethinen clinched his first WRC win in Australia. A victory that came after a lot of efforts.
“We had a moment on the very first corner on Friday, we were so close to going off,” admitted Lethinen. “After that it was completely under control. We have been in the same situation all year. This time the opposition was tougher and the stakes were higher. It helps to be in this position so many times this year, we could control our speed.”
Phil Mills (Petter Solberg's co-driver)
Petter Solberg and Phil Mills had to retire in the previous edition of Rally Australia, after hitting a kangaroo. This year, the Subaru crew didn't have any bad luck and finished in second position.
“We only saw one kangaroo this time and that was on a road section,” mentioned Mills. “We fitted the 'roo away' on the side of the car - obviously it worked very well! It cost two dollars from the local fuel station, the boys thought it was good, it worked very well!”
For the first time, Solberg and Mills had to battle against their teammate Chris Atkinson, who took the lead in the early stages of the event: “Chris could have won.
He showed his colours, he was pushing very hard and leading the event until he was caught out. He had the pace, no doubt about that.”
Ilka Minor (Manfred Stohl's co-driver)
Ilka Minor is one of the few women in WRC. The Austrian co-driver was very happy with third place in Australia, although it was a very difficult race for her.
“Actually it's very difficult (for a co-driver), you never know what's coming in the next corner. You have to deliver the notes quickly to give the driver confidence. It was quite a stressful rally for me,” said Minor.
With only two rallies left before the end of the season, Manfred Stohl is currently fifth in the championship, only three points behind Dani Sordo. In the constructors' championship, OMV Peugeot Norway lie in fourth place, 21 points behind Subaru. Finishing in the top three is still a possibility for the OMV squad, although it won't be an easy task...
“I think Petter and Chris will be pushing very hard,” added Minor. “I don't know if we can make third in the Championship.”
Hugo GIGUERE © CAPSIS International