Meet the Crews’ – Shakedown
Thursday, March 12th 2020
1st Elfyn Evans – Toyota Gazoo World Rally Team
2nd Thierry Neuville – Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team
3rd Sébastien Ogier – Toyota Gazoo World Rally Team
Elfyn, joint championship leader with Thierry Neuville coming into Rally México. It is you that is going to be first on the road here. We wondered if that would reflect in the shakedown times this morning. But your were fastest. How did it feel out there?
As it went on, the times came down. Overall, from the first run, being first this morning, the feeling was generally pretty good in the car. Not too much to complain about to be honest, So, so far so good.
It is going to be a tough challenge out there for you this weekend. What do you think you can achieve, knowing that you are going to be a bit hampered by being first on the road and knowing that your team-mate has won from being first on the road previously?
I don’t know what is possible really. I guess it is my first time running properly, first on the road, in these circumstances. All I can do is give my all and see what comes, I think. Circumstances will determine whether we are happy or not at the end.
Thierry, before we get started talking about the actual competition, you have been very generous here and have been donating a lot of money to various causes along the way this season. What have you selected here?
Here it is the famous Rally Salud (Health Rally), which is organised by the organiser of the rally. This helps people to get medical things they need, wheel chairs and stuff like this. I am really pleased that they are doing it and we were able to support them.
Second on the road for you here. México is always a huge challenge of an event. It’s one where we have seen you go well. When you look back to last year, what can be done differently to make it a better result?
Last year, I had a puncture on the very first stage. It cost me a lot of time and the road position didn’t get any better for the next days. It was tough and that is exactly what we have to avoid this year. We have to have a smart and not fast day on day one and that will be the key for the rest iof the rally,
You have been coming to this event for many years. The support for everyone seems to grow and grow. Do you feel that as a driver?
Yes, definitely, Obviously WRC has grown as well in the last couple of years. We can see more and more spectators everywhere we go. That is nice to see. Mexican fans are very enthusiastic and loving the rally. I am looking forward to meeting them in the stages.
Let’s turn to our six-time World Champion, that is Sébastien Ogier. Five wins on the board here. You certainly know how to do it and do it from a very difficult position. You are going to be third on the road. What are your chances out there?
I certainly hope I have some chance. Not being in front is always better. To have two cars in front of me will help probably. But we can’t forget the guys at the back who can drive very fast and the current World Champion included. For sure, it is going to be challenging anyway if you want to fight for the win. This rally has always been special for me. I always had a very good feeling here and I hope that it can carry on like this.
Jumping into a new car with a new team this year, how did the Yaris feel at Shakedown this morning? Is it a different feeling to what you have experienced before?
I think the car is good anywhere. The potential is there. The issue, I think, I had today was more in the mind. It was difficult for me to be in the race to be honest this morning. I almost didn’t sleep last night. I don’t know – concerned with this whole world situation at the moment. I really hope what we do this weekend is right. I really hope that we don’t bring any more danger here in a place where the case (s) are supposed to be lower. I don’t know it seems to be serious things now. Yep, that is the only concern I have. But, if the race has to go on, definitely tomorrow I have to switch that off my mind and focus on the race. Because, this morning, I was a bit of a passenger in the car and that is not the way you need to drive a race.