Thursday, March 8th 2018
1st Kris Meeke – Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
2nd Thierry Neuville – Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team
3rd Sébastien Ogier – M-Sport Ford World Rally Team
Kris it was a win for you here last year in México. Quickest at shakedown today. Are you feeling happy?
Yes, the feeling was good right from the beginning. We had a good test last week. We did a few things on the set-up and everything felt quite comfortable. It’s nice when you arrive at the shakedown and you have that comfortable feeling. The feeling is still there. We always arrive in Mexico and the weather is a lot different to Europe. It’s even different to last year. Last year, we had cloud cover. This year it is baking hot. The shakedown is a little bit tighter and twistier than the rally, but it’s always nice to have a good rhythm on a Thursday morning.
Kris, it was a stunning win for you last year. A repeat performance for you this time around, maybe, without one element?
We will forget the car park element this time! The thing I care to remember about last year was the strong performance throughout the whole rally. We had a good road position on day one, but half the loop was cancelled and we had only two stages to make a difference. We were able to manage it. I had a good feeling. You have to be on your guard on this rally. There are so many obstacles, bridge parapets, rocks on the inside and the outside and some new tricky parts on stages this year. It’s never dull.
Thierry, you come here as the leader of the championship. First on the road. Is it good to be back in the sunshine after two tough winter events?
Oh it is. We all like the sun and atmosphere here. It is a lovely event. While our friends and family are still freezing in Europe we have the honour to be in the sun with the nice weather.
Winning from first on the road has been done before, but it’s not going to be easy, is it?
Somebody told me that Loeb has won when he was first on the road, and Seb (Ogier), so Seb and Seb. I think it is much more difficult this year. The competition is very close and high. Since one year, the championship has been exciting for the drivers and the fans. It’s going to be a tough challenge for us. I tried to prepare mentally before we came, but there will be a lot of frustration for us in the car.
Sébastien, huge support every year when you come here. Describe what the stage and start in Guanajuato is like?
It is simply the best ceremonial start of the season. Last year, it was amazing to be in México City, but we were somehow missing the special atmosphere of Guanajuato. It’s nice to be back. We also have a tricky stage to drive there. It’s always tricky in the narrow streets, but it’s much longer now and it would be easy to make mistakes. I guess we need to be a bit cautious.
What about your aim for the weekend?
You know, I always aim for the best. I start every rally with hope to have the chance to fight for the top. It will be difficult. At least I will have one single line that will help me a little bit. The feeling is good and I am motivated like always. The shakedown was not so bad. We will see tomorrow. You have to look at the big picture and score the maximum points you can for the championship.