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15 JUNE 2018

PRE-EVENT PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT

FIA European Rally Championship 2018: Round 4 of 8, Cyprus Rally, 15-17 June
 
Finikoudes, Larnaca, 14h00, Friday 15 June

Present:
Nasser Al-Attiyah
Simos Galatariotis
Bruno Magalhães
Catie Munnings, Saintéloc Junior Team
 
Q:
Welcome Nasser, the most successful driver in the history of the Cyprus Rally! How confident are you of making it six wins and who will be your toughest opponents?
 
NA-A:
Yes, we are here in Cyprus and we try to do our best for this race. It will not be easy. We need to respect all the drivers but it will not be easy for everybody because it is a hard rally. But, okay, we win five times and we are really looking to win six times this rally. I wish good luck for everybody. It will be an exciting rally.
 
Q:
You obviously have a lot of experience here – what do you think of this year’s route and the changes?
 
NA-A:
It’s quite a change you know. Sunday will be the key of the rally because it will be very, very hard you know. But, okay, we try to do our best. We need to enjoy the Cyprus Rally. It’s one of the nice races to fight on, it’s very high speed and you cannot really take times. There are not really technical stages but it will be tough for everybody and we try to do our best.
 
Q:
How did you prepare for this year’s event? I gather you were doing your other sport in Malta last week?
 
NA-A:
Yes, I was training for the Olympic Games in Japan. We had three days in Greece and one week in Malta for shooting. We are here Cyprus Rally and one week after I stay in Cyprus for one week for training my progrmme. It will be very busy but I am really happy to drive again.
 
Q:
It’s no secret you’ll be aiming for gold in Japan, right?
 
NA-A
I will try! I am not young but, okay, I will do my best. I did six Olympic Games, four times final and one bronze in London. I have a good feeling and I will try to do my best for Japan.
 
Q:
It’s your home event and after a strong performance on the Acropolis what can you achieve on this rally?
 
SG:
Last year also due to some bad luck of other drivers we finished second and I’m hoping to improve on that! A place on the podium would be a fair result for us. We’ve been driving on these roads for many years now and now we have a competitive car. I really hope we will be there at the end.
 
Q:
You’ve stepped to an R5 car for this season – are are you finding it and do you have plans to make more appearances in the ERC this year?
 
SG:
It depends on the budget, on the sponsors. This rally is also counting towards the Cyprus championship so we wish to finish well in this rally. But if all goes well then why not. But good luck to everybody.
 
Q:
Welcome to Cyprus Bruno, how crucial was your victory in Greece last time out?
 
BM:
It was so important because without this victory for sure I was not here. I received the answer from my sponsor after the race so it’s a big pleasure to be in Cyprus again. In the beginning of the year unfortunately you don’t have a programme so you are going step by step. Sometimes you have good rallies and other times you are not so lucky so it depends on the result and of course the victory on the Acropolis was amazing for us and we are still fighting for the championship and we are in a good position so thank you to all my sponsors who helped me to come here.
 
Q:
It was tough Cyprus Rally for you last season – just remind us what happened?
 
BM:
Yeah last year was a crazy corner for three drives, we all crashed in the same corner! For me it’s because I lose the concentration when I saw the co-driver of [Kajetan] Kajetanowicz [Jarek Baran] and I lose completely my concentration and it was enough to go completely out of the road. I hope this year it will be different and I hope we can get a podium in the final and get the maximum points for the championship.
 
Q:
The Cyprus Rally wasn’t on your original schedule for this year so how did this all come about and what do you think of the event following the recce?
 
CM:
I’ve been very lucky to have the opportunity to drive here. It was only decided a couple of weeks ago that the Saintéloc Junior Team will take part so I’m very grateful to everybody who has made that possible. The Cyprus Rally is a phenomenal event. For me this is my third rally on gravel and I need the kilometres and I need to learn. Here it’s a fantastic place to learn. The stages are very fast, there are some very technical sections as well. We’re here with the PEUGEOT 208 R2, which will be a very strong and competitive car here. As always our focus will be on the fastest juniors in our category, which is probably my team-mate Laurent Pellier who sets a very nice pace and we can judge our speed on him and improve throughout the weekend.
 
Q:
You’ve had a taste of Cypriot gravel this morning so how was that?
 
CM:
It was fantastic. As I say I don’t have so much gravel experience. The most experience I have is probably in the Azores which is very different. Today was a very fast stage. It’s more complicated for the rally but today was very good fun with lots of wide space to push and to drive fast.
 
Q:
It’s been a busy couple of weeks for you – what have you been up to before coming to Cyprus?
 
CM:
I’m very busy at the minute. I’m filming a new TV show, like Top Gear and I get to drive lots of cool stuff but not as cool as a rally car!
 
ENDS

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Photos

ERC Catie Munnings 01-jpg
ERC Catie Munnings 01-jpg

ERC Cyprus Rally pre-event press conference-jpg
ERC Cyprus Rally pre-event press conference-jpg

ERC Cyprus Rally pre-event press conference 01-jpg
ERC Cyprus Rally pre-event press conference 01-jpg

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