Cyprus Rally post-event press conference

Source: ircseries

Question to Andreas Mikkelsen
Congratulations to all of you on what has been a tough and unpredictable 2 days of rallying. Andreas, if we can start with you. The 2011 IRC champion... And the youngest ever driver to take the IRC title. How does it feel?

AM: “It’s hard to describe with words. It’s been a long weekend. After Juho went off everything was possible. We had a fight with Thierry but when he had his problems things were a little bit easier for us. Then it was Nasser and Jan. In one way we got it go a little bit easy when the others had their problems, but especially on the last three stages I must say when we got the puncture I must say for sure Jan is going to take the title but then he also had a puncture. And the last two stages I heard so much noise, which I’d never heard before in the car. I was thinking of all the problems that we can have. It was two long stages and crossing that finish line on the last two stages was something special. I was crying like but when you have worked so hard for something for five years now after I quit my alpine skiing to try and be really good in rallying and to be on top here in the IRC. It was a very special moment for the whole team. We’ve been working really hard this year so I’m very happy it happened here.”

Question to Andreas Mikkeslen
It has been a tough rally. Juho had problems yesterday. Thierry went out… Nasser went out… did that boost your confidence?

AM: “When we had a little gap it’s always hard to keep the concentration level at 100 per cent. But we managed to do that in a good way. As I said crossing the finish line it was after three of the longest stages of my life. It was special.”

Question to Andreas Mikkelsen
You effectively dominated this event from the start. What would you say is the key to success in Cyprus?

AM: “Well it’s definitely possible to go faster than we have done but at the risk of breaking the car. We found a good balance between going fast and saving the car at the same time. That is the key to success here in Cyprus.”

Question to Andreas Mikkelsen
How did the mixed surface nature of the event affect your drive?

AM: “It was actually very, very fun. I really enjoyed it. To have Tarmac and gravel on the same stage and doing Tarmac on gravel tyres was fun. You can slide a little bit so I really enjoyed it.”

Question to Andreas Mikkelsen
What’s next for you and your career?

AM: “I don’t know, apart from a big dinner. Of course there will be some more IRC events next year but I don’t really know more than that.”

Question to Ola Fløene
Turning now to Ola, you must be over the moon. How are you feeling right now?

OF: “Me?! I’m okay. More or less the same as Andreas said. Passing the last flying finish was special although I didn’t realise what was going on. I had my timecard in my hand and I was so scared to do any mistake. Then on the podium when the Norwegian national anthem was playing I turned to Andreas and said ‘now I can feel it’. But still I haven’t realised what has happened. I need to get a little more time.”

Question to Ola Fløene
You were first on the road this morning. How did that impact your drive?

OF: “It was okay. I was a little bit worried that the gravel would be a little bit loose but Nasser was going behind us so it would be quite equal. We sent a lot of friends into the forest to take some splits into the car. They tried to send some SMS but they couldn’t because the telephone connection was not good up there. But we had a small idea what was going on. Especially after the regroup when we were starting at number 10 and Nasser was in front of us that was a very big help to us.”

Question to Andreas Mikkelsen
Turning back to Andreas, tomorrow is another day and another rally… the Golden Stage. You won last year’s inaugural event... You won here today… You must be feeling confident?

AM: “I’m not sure if we’re doing it tomorrow to be honest. This year the whole team has been working really hard, especially the mechanics. For them now to try to get the car ready for tomorrow and work six hours is too much to ask. I think now we should enjoy our win, have a good dinner and basically celebrate our victory and not take part tomorrow. That’s what we’re going to do.”