Let’s look back at Rally Sardegna, where you won your first WRC rally with Citroën. What did it mean to you?
“We started this rally focussed solely on going for the win. Everything went well, from start to finish: the starting positions, tyre choice, the first few stages when we had enough pace to be fighting for first place… When Sébastien and the others made mistakes, we had to take a more defensive approach. All we had to do was to maintain our lead… In the end, we had a perfect weekend and I was really pleased with this result, for me, for Jarmo and for the entire team.”
Does this win boost your confidence, looking ahead to 2013, to go on and secure a first world title?
“To be honest, I had hoped that the scrap with Sébastien would last longer. I need this kind of contest, where there’s just seconds between the leaders, to keep improving. When I have a big lead and just need to hold position, I can do that. I have been in that type of situation on enough occasions in the past to stay calm and focussed. I think that there will be more close contests in 2013, and there will undoubtedly be a new World Champion at the end of the year. This first win with Citroën helps me to visualise what I hope next season will look like.”
The Rally de Espana is the only WRC event to adopt a mixed surface format, with one day on gravel and two on tarmac. Do you like this format?
“This may come as a surprise, but I’d rather that the entire rally was held on tarmac roads. The stages on the Friday are enjoyable enough, but I feel that the true nature of this event resides in its sweeping circuit-style roads. It would be better to have three full days on these stages.”