8 February 2015

2015 FIA European Rally Championship: round two of 10 Rally Liepāja, Media Centre, 18h00, Sunday 8 February
POST-EVENT PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT

Attendees:

Craig Breen/Scott Martin (first overall)

Siim Plangi/Marek Sarapuu (second overall)

Dominykas Butvilas/Kamil Heller (third overall)

Emil Bergkvist (ERC Junior winner)

Uldis Sesks (Chairman of Liepāja City Council)

Question to Uldis Sesks

Mr Sesks, please can you give your impressions of the event, what you thought of the performances of the drivers and remind us how important this rally is to the city of Liepāja?

“The drivers have all performed magnificently, on conditions that have never been seen before on this rally. The surface conditions were changing by the hours, sometimes by the minute, and that was also unexpected. Really a big thank you to Raimonds Strokšs and his crew, because the event was organised perfectly, and also a thank you to Eurosport. And finally, I am terribly sorry about the weather, because it really could be better!”

Question to Craig Breen

You’ve been on the podium twice in Latvia but finally you’re on the top step. How happy are you?

“Very happy – I’m always happy, but today I’m very happy! It was a really good weekend for us. The conditions were very difficult. Yesterday we had a lot of rain and all the snow that had been collected in the stages over the last weeks melted within a couple of hours, so it was really tricky. Today we had the opposite, a lot of snow that came during the night and again in the day, which was blown by the wind and made visibility very difficult. It was quite a unique rally.”

Question to Craig Breen

Two of your big rivals, Kajetanowicz and Lukyanuk, both hit trouble – did that make it harder or easier and were you confident that you had the pace to beat them had they not stopped?

“I was 100% that we had the pace. The biggest margin that we lost a stage by, when all three of us were still fighting, was 0.7 seconds, but we weren’t doing anything stupid. There was a strong pace on the first stage, but when I saw the stage time of Alexey I knew that it was possible to beat him. I was confident starting the second stage, and when I got the message that he had stopped, we just did enough to keep ahead of Kajto. We beat him on all the stages for the rest of the day until he stopped too.”

Question to Scott Martin

You and Craig leave Latvia with 37 points in the bag. What does that mean for your championship challenge?

“This has been a massive leap forward to our championship for sure. After all the drama on day one, today was all about getting to the finish. We knew it was a perfect opportunity to put our championship back on track because the first round didn’t start so well, so it was an absolutely perfect weekend for us. The team did an amazing job and the tyres worked extremely well here. The conditions you find here are the most difficult of any winter rally, because of the visibility and sometimes it’s freezing and you have ice and sometimes it’s wet snow and slush. It really is, and has been, a difficult rally.”

Question to Siim Plangi

Victory in ERC2, second overall and 7000 Euros in prize money – what do those three things mean to you – particularly the cash prize?

“As we are doing a part-time calendar of ERC events, these 7000 euros definitely helps a lot. If it doesn’t cover all, then it covers most of this rally’s budget. I really appreciate it.”

Question to Siim Plangi

It’s only right we ask this question but after you were excluded for waking up too late for the restart last year how many alarm clocks did you set this morning? Were you relieved to wake up?!

“The problem wasn’t in setting the alarm clocks, we had three alarm clocks set, but it was the timing. Me and Marek made a very strange mistake for rally drivers. We should know how timing works, but somehow we managed to put one hour later for the alarm clock and when we woke up we didn’t realise anything. We were brushing our teeth and stuff. But after we realised our mistake it was already too late.”

Question to Marek Sarapuu

What’s next for you and Siim in the ERC? When will we see you again?

“We are actually thinking of doing the Portugal event, but for sure you can see us at our home event in Estonia. With an Evo X over there, it should be sufficiently fast to even challenge Craig.”

Question to Dominykas Butvilas

Third overall and second in ERC2 – did you ever imagine you could achieve such a good result before the start and how hard was this rally?

“For sure we had imagined that. We were driving for a good result, but we are a little surprised to be so high in the result of this rally. I’m hoping to have some good starts in the future.”

Question to Kamil Heller

A fantastic result for you and Dominykas after a very close battle on the final day with Jānis Vorobjovs – what was that like, especially when you were equal on time after stage nine?

“We were fighting, but finally we were thinking more of keeping the car on the road, as we didn’t want to make any mistakes and to finish this rally.”

Question to Emil Bergkvist

Congratulations on winning the opening round of the 2015 ERC Junior Championship. How pleased are you right now?

“I am really happy and a big thanks to the team. The Opel Adam R2 is just amazing. It was not such an easy rally. It was raining and snowing and it was challenging. We stayed on the road all the time and did no mistakes.”

Question to Emil Bergkvist

It was another close battle in ERC Junior. What do you think of the competition in the category?

“It was really tough. It was a close fight to the end. There are many fast drivers and it wasn’t easy.”

ENDS