Canarias pre event press conference

Canarias pre event press conferenceFrom ERC Media [ 10/03/2016 ].
Click to read all other IRC IRC News.

Parque Santa Catalina, Las Palmas, Thursday 10 March 2016. Present: (KK) Kajetan Kajetanowicz, LOTOS Rally Team Ford Fiesta R5 (AL) Alexey Lukyanuk, Ford Fiesta R5 (MO) Mads Østberg, RMC Motorsport Ford Fiesta R5 (LM) Luis Monzón, Auto-Laca Competition Citroën DS3 R5

Q: Why have you chosen to defend your title?

KK: To be honest I have said it many times before, but let me repeat. There are no easy rallies in ERC and no easy points. We can fight with very fast drivers, we have new rallies like this one in Gran Canaria, great atmosphere, so that’s why we are here.

Q: What are the main challenges you face this season?

KK: We want to continue our success story. We want to achieve the best possible position, we want to fight of course. It’s not easy. When you look on the entry list, we have 16 drivers in R5 cars. All of them want to beat us. But I think it makes me a stronger driver, and this is my main target in this season I think, to be better and better.

Q: This is a new event for you, what are your expectations for the rally? You’ve seen the recce, what do you think about it?

KK: These roads are completely different to roads in Poland. This is an exotic and spectacular rally for me, the stages are amazing because we have so many tricky corners, it’s not possible to remember them after two times on the recce. But I’m really happy to be here.

Q: Are you looking forward to going up against Østberg in another Fiesta? Are you going to beat him?

KK: Of course I’m looking forward. I want to see his speed! No, I’m joking. Of course he’s extremely fast, Mads is fantastic if we’re talking about his driving. Of course he has much more experience than me, and I’m not stupid. I think we have two different targets for this event. I want to be clever, we fight with Alexey, with Robert Consani, with everyone. We’re in a war, not just one rally.

Q: You ended 2015 with an asphalt win in Valais. Does that give you extra confidence for this event?

AL: Actually, each event is a different event for us, and each event is a new event as we’re only in our second season in the European Rally Championship and in Europe. Of course I am used to gravel roads but tarmac is something new for me, but we’re learning fast. The times from the qualification is promising so we have good expectations.

Q: After a strong 2015 season, what do you hope to achieve in 2016?

AL: Like everyone I would like to achieve as many wins as possible and finally win the championship. But the resources we have are quite limited, so in the previous year we have been it rally-by-rally and we didn’t have a solid programme. So after the finish of one rally we start thinking about the next.

Q: You are also new in the Canary Islands. What are your thoughts on what you have seen so far?

AL: Gran Canaria is quite beautiful. Of course it’s not as sunny as on the pictures but we’ve seen almost all the stages under the clouds and through the fog. The roads are difficult but I feel how it should be done in the race, how much attack you can apply to these stages, so it’s thrilling and exciting at the same time.

Q: Welcome to Gran Canaria. How are you? Have you slept a bit?

MØ: I’m fine thank you. Yeah, finally I got some sleep in the end. When I arrived here on Tuesday I hadn’t been in a proper bed for two days so I was a bit exhausted. Now I’ve had two nights in a good bed so I’m quite happy.

Q: What are your early thoughts about being part of the ERC?

MØ: I’m very pleased to be a part of it. It’s the European championship so it’s a big competition. OK, I didn’t know so much about ERC before I arrived here but I can see that my competition is really strong and I have great respect for these drivers, which I’ve also seen on some other events previously. It will be tough but I’m really excited to be a part of it.

Q: How much preparation have you been able to do and what have you been able to learn about this rally?

MØ: Well my preparation was Rally Mexico, so that was my training. For this event I am not so well prepared but I’ve had a good recce, and I have a lot of experience from recceing other rallies. I feel quite confident now that my recce has been good but it’s not my normal preparation.

Q: Is your co-driver Ola’s past experience on this event alongside Mikkelsen a big help for you?

MØ: Not really, no. He likes the Canary Islands and that’s all. He tried to explain to me about the roads but you cannot explain one million corners. It’s turning all the time so you have to discover it yourself.

Q: How confident are you about your chances here in Gran Canaria?

MØ: It’s a big challenge for sure. Like I said previously, I have big respect for my competitors and I know they are fast drivers and I know they are crazy – you need to be a little bit crazy to be fast in rallying and I know that they are. I have great respect and I’m the outsider, but I’m the most experienced one. Well, I’m not more experienced than Luis but I have a lot of experience from rallying and I think that’s to my benefit. But I’m the outsider.

Q: How pleased are you to be able to compete in the ERC at home again?

LM: I’m very proud to be back. I want to be on the level of these drivers. It’s going to be difficult but I will try my best to be with them.

Q: You finished on the podium in 2013, what is possible this time?

LM: We will need to be patient because the rally is very long. It’s going to be difficult, there are a lot of R5 cars, but I will be trying to be on the podium again.

Q: You know this rally well. What challenges will the ERC regulars face?

LM: The most important day will be tomorrow. You’ve got to make good choices for the tyres because we’re going towards the south so it’s going to be difficult.

Q: How are you getting on in the DS3 R5?

LM: I’ve been gaining experience in the new car and when we go onto the stages we’ll try and get good times.