Thread: Citroen WRT
8th November 2018, 17:06 #1641
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Can somebody put the entire interview here ?"Some famous quote from some famous person"
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8th November 2018, 17:12 #1642
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8th November 2018, 20:51 #1643
Rally addict since 1982
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8th November 2018, 21:56 #1644
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There's a lot gone on if it needs 6 pages to tell it. He was seriously unhappy with so much.
8th November 2018, 22:36 #1645
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Hopefully someone can access the full article for us and post it here. Snippets so far;
"What hurt me most was the infantile wording of the mail announcing their decision, the immaturity of their words"
After his huge accident in Rally of Sardinia 2017, he said:
ďI asked them if the car had to be redesigned, would it have other characteristics. They looked me straight in the eye and said, ĎNo!í.
ďLater, an engineer discovered something incorrect in the geometry and the very nature of the car. It took them a year to implement the solution.
ďThe new version made its debut this year, in Finland (where Ostberg finished second overall). Basically, something was not right in the design (of the C3 WRC). The truth has never been given to me,Ē he said.
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8th November 2018, 22:39 #1646
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I’m really keen to hear Breens comments after he leaves."Some famous quote from some famous person"
8th November 2018, 22:45 #1647
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9th November 2018, 02:42 #1648
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Auto Hebdo No. 2190 - November 7, 2018 part 1/3
At the end of May, the Northern Irishman was sacked by CitroŽn. Six months later, Toyota announces its recruitment for 2019. On the occasion of the Condroz Rally, where he has reconnected with the competition, the Brit tells us how he lived this fertile period in twists and turns. Interview by Michel Lizin
FIRST, WAS YOUR EVICTION AT CITROňN A SURPRISE?
Huge. I did not expect it at all.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FIRST FEELING: HARDNESS, INJUSTICE, SHAME, INCOMPREHENSION?
(Long silence) After 10 minutes, I said to my wife, "Ok. We go out and we take the family to the restaurant." We ordered a bottle of wine, ate and talked. This is often the case in motorsport: a single phone call can trigger everything, some lines can destroy everything. Unless we react.
WERE YOU STILL HAPPY IN THIS TEAM?
The behavior of the car weighed me, as well as the inertia when it came to implementing solutions. Eleven months ago, when I was laid off for the Rally Poland (2017), I proposed to the team that it be put, amicably, a premature term to our contract. His leaders refused. That's why, in May 2018, their way of doing things shocked me so much. What hurt me most is the infant wording of the mail announcing their decision, the immaturity of their words. I had promised myself not to talk about it. To remain silent. Long time.
HOW ARE YOU IN CONTACT WITH TOYOTA?
Nowadays, there is an instrument (he shows his mobile phone. Numbers are in memory. You press a button and at the other end of the line, it answers ... or not.
HAVE YOU TAKEN THE INITIATIVE?
Yes, I called all the teams.
IMMEDIATELY AFTER BEING VIRATED?
No ! At the end of May, nobody thinks of the next season. I preferred to wait for the right moment.
No initiative should be taken until August. No boss is thinking of the future before Finland. This round is special. Some drivers are revealed. Others lack confidence. By their place in the calendar, Finland and Germany play a big role in your rating.
SO YOU HAVE CALLED TOMMI MńKINEN ...
I called Malcolm (Wilson, boss of M-Sport, editor's note), Tommi and Alain Penasse (Hyundai Motorsport team manager) ...
HOW WERE YOU RECEIVED?
All answered me. I found myself faced with several proposals. I had three in the WRC, plus another, somewhere else. It helped me to have another look at what had happened in May, the words that had been used to get rid of me, to destroy my personality, put an end to my career. If what was said and written then had been the expression of the truth, it would have been finished with me as a pilot. The interest that the teams expressed to me convinced me of the opposite. That said, the ball was in their court, not in mine.
YOUR CAREER COULD HAVE STOPPED THERE ...
I did not believe it for a moment. This could not be the case. Because this text was crap! When it was spread, the reaction of other people made me understand that I was not the only one to think so.
HOW DID YOU REACT ?
Going away for several weeks from the world of the rally. I felt the need to refresh my mind. I suddenly realized that it had been a year and a half since my way of doing my job, which is my life, no longer satisfied me.
THAT IS TO SAY SINCE THE ARRIVAL OF THE C3 WRC?
There is the relationship with the car ... and with the men. I explained to the engineers how the car behaved, how one could lose control, and nothing was happening. Month after month, mutual trust faded. I made mistakes, but they were not, how would I say, "of my fact". I was trying to extract from my car what she could not give. At the start of each rally, the only instruction I received was immutable: "do everything to conquer". I was stupid enough to try to get there with a mount that could not do it. Such was my great mistake. I should have stopped much earlier aiming for the impossible. I was undermined to the point, when my contract was terminated, to consider this issue as a release. Then, very quickly, I felt the need to make sure that my career does not end because of people who do not know what they are talking about.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE BEHAVIOR OF THE C3 WRC?
I can only speak about what I know, what I lived, so not the new version, appeared in August 2018, in Finland. What to say ? A car is never just a piece of metal, with bolts on all four sides and things that make the hull go up and down, move away and get closer to the ground (Meeke is a mechanical engineer, a graduate from Queen's University Belfast (Editor's note). Basically, something was not right in the design of the C3 WRC. The correction of this anomaly depends on the persons responsible for its development and evolution. Personally, I could not blame a piece of metal. It's up to the staff to understand what needs to be changed ... and to execute it. Were the right people not in place? Were the budgets insufficient? The truth has never been given to me. In itself, this is not outrageous. What is it is the time it took to accept the idea that this car was born with a "wolf" making, under certain circumstances, his behavior unpredictable. Elsewhere, as on dry asphalt, provided that the coating is free of unevenness, it was exceptionally effective. Its engine is excellent. He has always been. That's why we were so good at Rally Mexico 2017. Almost all of our competitors had problems with altitude. Not us. That's why I won, even though his balance was not perfect.
BUT YOU WERE THE TEST PILOT N į 1 OF THE C3 WRC. WOULD NOT YOU HAVE BEEN ABLE TO INFLUENCE HIS EVOLUTION?
Dozens of times, I returned this question in my head wondering how I could have behaved differently. First, I was not the "test pilot # 1" of the C3 WRC. I was the only one, without anyone to share my feelings! Then, when, more than a decade ago, CitroŽn developed the C4 WRC, at each test session, an Xsara WRC was present and comparisons were made. For a long time, Loeb was not satisfied with the behavior of the C4. Always, the Xsara was there to remind what was to be "a good CitroŽn rally". It was the same when the DS3 WRC was developed: at each session, a C4 was there. On the other hand, during the first test with the C3 WRC, then during the following ones, no DS3 WRC appeared. "Lack of budget," I was asked. I can not know if I am right, but I have the feeling that the combination of long suspension deflections and the selected geometries has given rise to an infinity of uncontrolled behavioral variations. In autumn 2017, a year and a half after starting the development of the C3, on a pre-Rally Catalunya session, surprise: a DS3 WRC was present. Loeb was there to drive, for the first time, the C3 WRC. I remember one of his appreciations: "Not bad, but I do not feel connected to the road".
KNOWING THAT, HOW COULD YOU SURVIVE MORE THAN 300 KM FROM A RALLY SPECIAL WITHOUT THREAT ON THE RAILWAY ROPE?
In 2017 in Sardinia, thanks to our favorable order of passage, Paddon and I were fighting for victory. I enter a curve without any particular difficulty, I place the car. Suddenly, she picks up. A wheel hits the embankment, the car rolls up and ends against a bridge. I show the videos to engineers, asking them how could I have, should I have done otherwise. I have not received any awnsers. I asked them if, for whatever reason, the car had to be redesigned, it would have other characteristics. They looked me straight in the eye and said, "No! ". Later, an engineer discovered something incorrect in the geometry and in the very nature of the car. It took them a year to implement the solution. Even more, since this new version made its debut this year, in Finland.
WHILE YOU WERE NO MORE THAN ...
The corrected C3 WRC, the one I was fighting for, I have never driven. Craig (Breen, Editor's note) confirmed that she was much better. In my day, it was a nightmare. We learn in difficult times, we say. These last 18 months, I do not tell you how much I learned! Early in the career, everyone - with the notable exception of Loeb - goes through difficult times. Look at Tšnak: Twice fired by Malcolm Wilson before becoming, today, a must. I'm 39, but I only have three full seasons in WRC (2014, 2015 and 2017. Editor's note). I am a young person!
WHEN HAVE YOU RECEIVED A FORMAL PROPOSAL FROM TOYOTA?
Relatively late. I suppose Tommi wanted to be certain that Lappi was leaving (at CitroŽn, Ed.). When he got the confirmation, he asked me to come to Jyvšskylš (Toyota base in Finland) where we had a meeting with several Japanese officials of Toyota Gazoo Racing.
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9th November 2018, 02:43 #1649
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Auto Hebdo No. 2190 - November 7, 2018 part 2/3
WAS THIS THE FIRST CONCRETE OFFER YOU RECEIVE?
No. But I have too much respect for the people, the companies that were ready to trust me, to get into that kind of consideration. This respect is mutual. All gave it to me except the CitroŽn officials. For three months, I kept trying to reach them, from base to top, to leave them messages to find a solution amicably, without receiving a return. Never mind ! It will be solved in another way.
FROM A SPORTING PERSPECTIVE, WHICH PROPOSAL WOULD HAVE BEEN MORE INTERESTING THAN THAT OF BEING PILOT TOYOTA IN 2019?
None, I believe. The team is young, it is on the upward slope. To tell you the truth, three years ago, when he had just been awarded the return of Toyota WRC (autumn 2015. Editor's note), Tommi and I had talked very seriously about a common future. A few months earlier, I had won my first WRC victory (Argentina 2015. Editor's note). My contract with CitroŽn stopped at the end of the year. Tommi had explained to me his plan, all he had in mind. When we parted, I thought that this ticket could very well, over time, prove to be a winner, but that it could not be for me. I finished my second full season in WRC. I could not afford a sabbatical year when no Yaris was going to be available - even for testing - for a year. I rode with CitroŽn.
DO YOU REGRET THIS CHOICE?
No. It did not produce the desired results and ended abruptly, but today I have four more world victories. Three years later, I found Tommi. After all these events, his feelings for me had not changed. I could not hesitate anymore. One thing impressed me: everything that Tommi had told me about, which in 2015 only existed in his head, has come true. All those who doubted his way of doing know today that his choices were the right ones. Toyota is leading the Constructors classification and, if it had not been the victim of a bad luck, it would be the same for Tšnak Drivers.
WHAT PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS DO YOU CARE WITH TOMMI MńKINEN?
I appreciate its directness and simplicity. He does not know politics. He does not have a hidden agenda. He says things as they are.
AND IT INCLUDES THE DRIVERS ...
He was one, and which one! One of the biggest. Talking to him differs from what can be shared with any other stable boss except, presumably, Malcolm Wilson. Others may know or try to convince you they know, which can complicate things. Tommi knows. I'm not saying that to lead a team, you have to be world champion, but that helps. He has good relations with his crews and his engineers. He has a tendency to get involved with everything, but since he is both simple and competent, it works.
HAVE YOU HAD THE POSSIBILITY OF TESTING THE YARIS WRC BEFORE SIGNING YOUR CONTRACT?
Yes, the day before! But my decision was made. I was there for that. A handshake was enough. The papers can wait.
HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU PILOT?
Only one. The session was extended for four days. The Yaris WRC was born in Finland, was developed in Finland and dominated the last two editions of the rally. I know this field well, on which I imposed myself in 2016, with the DS3. The following year, with the C3, I was moving at 1 second / kilometer of the best ... and I was scared! Since then, I had not put a wheel on these stages. From my first few meters behind the wheel of the Yaris, I thought, "Wow! ". The pleasure was back, intact, if not stronger than ever. I expected the Yaris to be good in his homeland, but what I felt exceeded all my hopes.
WHAT SESSIONS ARE COMING SOON?
Another one, several days, on the ground, then everyone hopes that the snow will have arrived and that we will be able to pass to the tires nails. Then, before Christmas, are scheduled tests prior to Monte Carlo.
HOW WERE YOUR FIRST CONTACTS WITH THE TEAM?
It seemed a little weird, because this is the first time I change teams. In recent years, I have only known Citroen, and not much before, except for a brief experience at Mini, where we had put the cart before the horse. For the first time, I discovered a new team where everything was organized before my arrival. The agreement was immediate with the two main leaders, Tom Fowler and Anthony Sharp. Both are British and former from M-Sport. I was not going to reinvent the wheel by pacing the paths on which the Yaris was born. It was more for me to adapt. That said, we changed the geometry, the dampers, the springs, the anti-roll bars, going, sometimes deliberately, in the wrong direction, so that I felt how the auto reacted to the changes of settings. The first positive point is that she reacts. The second is that I feel it instantly. This had the effect of increasing my confidence. When you make her move in one direction, she goes! The dialogue is frank. This is not the case with all cars.
HAVE YOU RECEIVED INSTRUCTIONS FROM MńKINEN ABOUT 2019?
No, but we had a long conversation focused on his approach to flying, rallies. It's in my interest to listen when Tommi talks. We did not specifically mention the Monte Carlo, nor the 2019 season. When you join a team that counts in its ranks two of the fastest drivers, one led the Yaris for two years, while the Another should have had the 2018 champion's crown on his head, the first thing to do is to be humble and to accept learning.
WHAT IS THE DURATION OF YOUR CONTRACT?
WHAT WILL BE YOUR OBJECTIVE IN 2019?
I have only one: to have fun driving. Being behind or in front of me will not matter. I must, as a priority, have fun.
AND THEN ?
I do not want to set goals in terms of results, wins, titles. Who knows what the future will be like?
YOU HAVE REMEMBERED TO BE 39 YEARS OLD. UNTIL YOUR CAREER WAS RATHER CHAOTIC. DO YOU HAVE AN EXPLANATION ?
I could raise my hands and say, "It's my fault." I could say that on several occasions I wanted to run before I knew how to walk. Is it true ? I'm not like Kalle Rovanperš or Oliver Solberg, programmed to become pilots. It happened to me almost by chance. I was not thinking about the rally when, at 21, I won a selection. It was a revelation! My 11th rally start was Monte Carlo (2003 Opel Corsa S1600). My first special, I finished it 52 '' behind Daniel Carlsson, on a Suzuki factory S1600. Where did he go? After that, especially without money, you have no choice: or you impress, or you go! Perhaps I could, I should have, act differently. But I am Kris Meeke. I acted in my way and I am always there.
IN YOUR CAREER, WHO HELPED YOU THE MOST?
(Long silence) Me. Without my determination, I would not be anywhere. I do not put myself in evidence, but so many others, in my place, would have remained on the floor. Then there was Colin McRae who allowed me to go from the national rally to the world level. So many talented young people have never had this opportunity. Colin gave it to me. He saw something in me and organized how to introduce me to the Junior league. Later, in 2008, I was forgotten when Marc Van Dalen (boss of Kronos Racing, Editor's note) gave me the phone number of the marketing director of Peugeot UK. The following year, I became IRC champion. Five years later, in 2013, after the abortion of Mini's commitment, I've been on the sidelines for a year and a half when Yves Matton remembers me, my 2005 season on the C2 S1600, and then the IRC 2009 and 2010, at Kronos. He aligns me in Finland and Australia ...
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9th November 2018, 02:44 #1650
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Auto Hebdo No. 2190 - November 7, 2018 part 3/3
DAVID RICHARDS, HOWEVER, HAVE NOT YOU PLAYED A SALE BY SIGNING A COMPLETE TWO-YEAR WRC PROGRAM AGREEMENT THAT WILL REPRESENT THE SIX RALLIES?
I do not see it that way. Before he hired me, I was an IRC pilot. Six world participations with the Mini have made me a WRC driver. Even though the promises were not kept, even though the program was shaky, it made me take a step forward. Without these six rallies, maybe CitroŽn would never have thought of trusting me for Finland and Australia 2013.
WHAT EFFECT WILL YOU HAVE TO CONFRONT, THE NEXT YEAR, GAILLARDS THAT ARE 15 OR 20 YEARS LESS THAN YOU?
I feel as young as they are. I am not only young in WRC, I am in rally. Earlier, Renaud (Jamoul, his co-driver at the Condroz Rally, Editor's note) was referring to the youth of Breen. Admittedly, Craig is 11 years younger than me, but we took the start of an almost identical number of rallies: 171 for me, 165 for him.
WHAT DO YOU FEEL WHEN YOU SEE S…BASTIEN LOEB LOOKING FOR OVER 44 YEARS?
My first reaction was to be happy for him. We like to have, at times, been team companions (Monte-Carlo 2015, Mexico and Corsica 2018. Editor's note). He impresses me by the number of his victories: 79! Hard to imagine for me who am in 61 starts in WRC. In Catalonia, he had always won after dominating. This was not the case this time. He showed that there are other ways to win.
IT SHOULD YOU THINK?
Yes, but Seb would not have triumphed if Tšnak had not had to change a wheel after a puncture and if Latvala had not, also punctured twice. Loeb is for nothing in these incidents, but he wins and everyone greets the intelligence of the master ...
SUNDAY MORNING, IT HAS ALSO BEEN THE ONLY ONE TO OPT FOR THE MICHELIN AT HARD GUM!
For me, this choice was obvious. I was surprised when Ogier said he did not dare to do the same for safety in his title race. I am convinced that it is rarely appropriate to play the security card. The card Ogier played was not safe, it was not the right one. If he had made the right choice, today his lead over Neuville would be 11 points. Obviously, it's easy to say, from someone who has never been in the position of being pressured into a title fight. That said, I promised myself: if, one day, it should happen to me, I would continue, until the end, to play "the right card" - at least the one I think is the right one - and not the card of alleged security.
WHY CHANGE OF COPILOTE? IS IT THE CHOICE OF PAUL NAGGLE?
It's mine. It was not easy to decide. It's like when you've been with a girl for a long time. Eleven years together! So many common memories: our title in IRC, our five world victories. It seemed to me that I needed a different atmosphere in the car. Warning: I have no complaints to Paul. Maybe we had only become too close. Our relations a little too automatic. A little freshness should not hurt me. I do not have intimacy with his successor. I only know that he does his job perfectly. Having just professional relationships could make it easier for me to share the cabin with my best friend.
AFTER EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED WITH CITROňN, AND WITH THE POWER UP OF SEVERAL YOUNG PEOPLE, WHY ARE TEAMS CONTINUING TO SEARCH FOR YOUR SERVICES?
It's a question to ask them rather than me ... I think I was helped by the circumstances. For 2019, only two drivers were under contract: Ott Tšnak at Toyota and Andreas Mikkelsen at Hyundai. Obviously, CitroŽn wanted to renew his team by getting rid of Ostberg and me. Only Craig has, perhaps, still his chances, on some rallies. They would therefore necessarily sting a minimum of two pilots to others. This has created a great stir in the minds of decision makers. In addition, the coming into force of the new technical rules has made it much more difficult to move up the R5 category to the new WRCs. Training young people may take time without guarantee of results. Talents are always lost on the way. Based on these data, why was I coveted? Certainly not because I'm slow (laughs).
ARE YOU ALWAYS ABOUT THE ASCENDING SLOPE?
I believe him. I only have three full seasons in WRC. 2019 will be my fourth. Time is on my side. I still have two years to develop my potential.
LOEB HAS NOT NEEDED FIVE SEASONS TO REACH THE SUMMITS! AND TODAY, HE WINS STILL ...
Okay, but he's Sebastien Loeb. I'm not in his head, but I believe that Seb will play several WRC races in 2019. Alongside Ogier, it will create an incredible momentum within CitroŽn. They will confirm each other's directions in the evolution and development of the C3. If this combination is born, it will be up to us, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC, to react, so that our victories and titles are even more beautiful!
End of article, once again, credit to
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