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ERC YPRES RALLY POST-EVENT PRESS CONFERENCE

Media Centre, Novotel, Ypres, 23h15, Saturday 25 June 2016

Present:
Freddy Loix/Johan Gitsels, ŠKODA Fabia R5, first place
Kris Princen/Peter Kaspers, Peugeot Belgium Luxembourg 208 T16, second place
Bernd Casier/Peter Vyncke, Ford Fiesta R5, third place
Marijan Griebel/Stefan Kopczyk, ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team Adam R2, ERC Junior first place

Q:
Freddy, let’s start with you. Do you think that one day you might get bored of winning this rally?

FL:
Not really because it’s always nice to do the rally and especially when there are some good drivers and good cars here. And also the afterparty is always perfect!

Q:
Johan, you guys in the end made it look quite easy but we had drivers such as Stéphane Lefebvre and Bryan Bouffier who I think gave you quite a big challenge.

JG:
I think it was quite quick but it wasn’t quite easy. We had a big job to do yesterday with Bouffier, today it was a bit easier with Bouffier but then it was Lefebvre who came up, so we had to go fast and hard until the last stages.

Q:
Freddy, obviously your expertise in this rally is second to none. You’ve seen it through all sorts of different championships with many, many different competitors. Do you think that the level is getting higher and higher all the time, it seems to be the case?

FL:
I don’t know because I’ve been driving here very quick in the times that Kris Meeke was over here and [Giandomenico] Basso and some other quick drivers but every year there is a new driver, a new type of car and that makes it every time very exciting for me to beat these young drivers because of course I’m not getting younger and I have to do more and more crazy things to be back on the podium but it’s OK like this, I enjoy it and I enjoy the fight with the young drivers.

Q:
Kris, congratulations. You’ve won this rally before, did you think you had a chance of making it two wins here?

KP:
No! I think we had a good rally. Yesterday the start was a little bit difficult but today we did some good times I think, but no, it wasn’t possible, we have to be honest.

Q:
So what has Freddy got that nobody else has?

FL:
A ŠKODA!

KP:
I think he’s very professional, he’s a complete driver. He’s a very, very fast driver. Very fast, a lot of experience and he knows everything very well; he knows the rally very well, he knows the tyres very well, everything. He has a good car also so I think he has a complete package that makes him so fast.

Q:
You are of course a very big name in Belgium as well. Of all the rallies that you do in Belgium, how does this one compare?

KP:
The difference is that on the other rallies we also try to beat Freddy but it’s just Freddy, me, Vincent Verschueren, there are not many drivers, but in Ypres there are always a lot of drivers so you have to drive fast on the first stage, the last stage, every stage you have to attack it to the maximum and for me that’s the biggest difference with the other rallies in Belgium.

Q:
Let’s have a word with your co-driver Peter. We saw on this rally quite tricky weather conditions, in particular a number of drivers saying that the surface was even more slippery than usual. How difficult did this make your choice when it came to setup, tyre choices and so on?

PK:
Firstly it’s not my choice, it’s always the driver’s choice, he decides at the last moment what tyres he takes. For me I have no experience at Ypres at all, last year was the first time I enjoy it so for me it was all new. All the stages today I haven’t done them once so it was a first time on that speed that we did the stages. So it was an experience for me so I’m glad I’m on the second place but it’s not so easy, surely with a driver like Kris who shows you everything in the possibility of the car, so it’s really a difficult experience for me.

Q:
So for somebody who’s new to Ypres you must be pretty pleased with this result.

PK:
Yes, sure, but I closed my eyes regularly!

Q:
Bernd, congratulations. You’ve done this rally a few times in the past, how does this event compare to some of the successes you’ve had previously?

BC:
Well I think this time I had a lot of luck. In the last two years it was my mistake and in the years before I always ended up in fourth or sixth place and I had a few technical problems but OK, this year everything was good. There were better drivers but we had a good rhythm and when Vincent made some mistakes made a few mistakes then we could try it and we put the pressure on Vincent and he made more mistakes and we could take the third place so we are very happy.

Q:
The top six here are from the local area, how important is the knowledge of the typology of roads here for success?

BC:
I think in the past it was more important than today and that’s proven with a lot of foreign drivers who come over here, you can see that they are going very fast. But here you have no space you have no space, every mistake you make is a big crash. Good drivers can go very fast here but it’s a long rally and as the others said, it’s from the first until the last stage.

Q:
If we could have a word now with Peter. We saw that you and Bernd made your way steadily up the leaderboard over the course of the rally. Did you have a particular strategy?

PV:
No, we came in a good place and then we said to each other, ‘now we go for it’. And it has been a good tactic.

Q:
Which do you think was the most difficult stage of the rally, or the most important for you?

PV:
The Qualifying Stage!

Q:
Let’s give the final word to Freddy. Twelve victories next year?

FL:
Good question. I don’t know yet but of course we are never going to stop. In the next few days we’re going to have a small party and then I’m going to think a little bit about our future with ŠKODA Belgium. It’s a nice rally but it’s not easy to beat the young drivers. I have the feeling that I have to go every year more and more over the limit to do the times of these boys, and OK, one day it will stop but now I will enjoy a good victory.

Q:
You’ve had a fantastic career that covers some of the top teams in the world championship like Mitsubishi and Peugeot. Are you enjoying your rallying here now as much as you were then?

FL:
I think I enjoy it more because it’s a bit more relaxed for me. Of course I know these Belgian rallies quite well but I hadn’t done the complete Belgian Rally Championship many times so the last few years it’s become more and more relaxed and that makes it interesting.

Q:
Marijan, it all finally worked out for you. You must be delighted with this result. You had an advantage, you kept it. It was quite close with Chris Ingram, what made the difference in the end?

MG:
Yeah, you are right, all weekend it was a really big fight with Chris, I was leading by six seconds at the end of the first day and then it went down to just one second in the afternoon. But in the end I was giving it everything to win this one. Last year I was leading by 40 seconds until the last stage and then I suffered a puncture. But no everything worked out and I’m really, really happy.

Q:
I think this puts you second in the championship?

MG:
I think so too. I was not thinking about it but for sure it was really important because in Ireland we were also leading and had a puncture, and in the Azores we had the accident so this was really important for the championship and now I think it will be a great battle between Chris and me for the rest of the season.

Q:
Everything still to play for for the championship over the remaining rounds.

MG:
Exactly. It’s open. We have just four results counting out of six so accident was maybe not too bad in the end and I will fight like hell to catch the title.

Q:
Let’s have a quick word with Stefan. How was that tight battle from your side of the car? Did you have to concentrate extra hard on the pacenotes to make sure you could take every little advantage you could?

SK:
Yes, first of all I have to say that it was our third rally together so it was my third time on Marijan’s side. It was a good run. I would like to put some luck in the car and that worked out because Marijan was often in the first places but couldn’t finish. Now it worked out and I’m really happy. I have done my work as good as I could and I’m very happy.

Q:
This rally is so complicated I think for a co-driver. There are so many junctions, so many obstacles, so many things to look out for. Is it in terms of pacesnotes maybe the hardest rally of the year?

SK:
I don’t know if it’s the hardest rally but I drive many rallies in Germany and the Ypres stages are a little bit like German rallies. A lot of junctions, we have a lot of rallies in Germany with many, many junctions so the German drivers know hard braking and that’s why they are especially successful in Ypres I think. On the co-driver’s side you also have long straights so it’s difficult but it makes it good fun.

ENDS

Press enquiries: Anthony Peacock, media.fiaerc.com
Television enquiries: pascal_petit@discovery.com, elise_lelias@discovery.com    
Drivers and teams: Jean-Baptiste_Ley@discovery.com

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ERC Ypres Rally post-event press conference.jpg
ERC Ypres Rally post-event press conference

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ERC Ypres Rally post-event press conference 2

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Press contacts

Press enquiries: 
Anthony Peacock
media.fiaerc.com

Television enquiries: 
pascal_petit@discovery.com
elise_lelias@discovery.com    

Drivers and teams: 
Jean-Baptiste_Ley@discovery.com