The Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT had a perfect weekend at ADAC Rallye Deutschland Photo: ADAC Rallye Deutschland
The Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT had a perfect weekend at ADAC Rallye Deutschland Photo: ADAC Rallye Deutschland

2019 Post-Event Press Conference

Statements of the participants of the ADAC Rallye Deutschland

What the winners of the 2019 ADAC Rallye Deutschland had to say.

Present:
1st - Ott Tänak (EST), Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team
1st - Martin Järveoja (EST), Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team
2nd - Kris Meeke (GBR), Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team
2nd - Sebastian Marshall (GBR), Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team
3rd - Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN), Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team
3rd - Miikka Anttila (FIN), Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team
Tommi Mäkinen (FIN), Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team

Q:
Ott, it is very déjà vu to last year: a win in Finland, a win here in Germany. This is now your third win at Rally Germany, and it seemed like a completely faultless weekend out there. Has it been a perfect one for you?
OT:
Almost. I would say that my only target was to avoid any kind of mistake. Since the very beginning, the competition was really tight with Thierry Neuville. On Friday, we were normally one or two tenths faster per stage than he was but on Saturday, it was actually the opposite - Thierry was actually a bit faster than I was. It was looking difficult, so I must say that if it had continued the same way, I would have accepted second place. Of course, I tried to be on my limit all the time without any mistake. In the end, we managed to do it. So, sure, I am happy to finish.

Q:
And it's a great team result. It's a Toyota one-two-three. That is the first time we have seen that in this generation of Toyota. 1993 was the last time that three Toyotas were on the podium, in Safari Rally. That is a long time back. How satisfying is it to have a great team result like this?
OT:
It is important to have this kind of result. Only a short time ago, we had quite a dramatic end to the rally in Sardinia, and these situations always bring some tension into the team. We had two cars on the podium in Finland and now three here, so I believe it is important to have this kind of result for the team. Especially for every member in the team, to give them this motivation. I am sure they can also understand that their hard work is paying off and I hope it keeps the motivation high to push forward.

Q:
We were wondering whether you would go for maximum points in the Power Stage. We have seen it before when you have taken a win, but you mentioned at the end of the previous one that you weren't too sure. You said "maybe not". Was the feeling not there, or did you know from the beginning of the day, that was not going to be the objective?
OT:
To be honest, something happened on the penultimate stage, on the long stage. At the end, I started to lose braking stability and then, I only had one-wheel braking at the front. We tried to do many different things on the road section, but we couldn't understand what was happening. I tried for the first two corners of the Power Stage but in the end, there was no chance for us to really push with this car, so it was important to bring it home.

Q:
You extend your lead in the Drivers' Championship, which I am sure is very satisfying as we head to Turkey - another event you won last year, which made it three in a row. I am sure, in your mind, that there is nothing against you doing that again.
OT:
Yes. But, as we know, Turkey is definitely the hardest event of the season. We can also say that last year, it was, in a way, our weakest event of the season. We really didn't have performance and we were slow but in the end, we were smarter and had a one-two there. This year, we have been working really hard and I really hope that our performance is on a better level. Our team has been trying to prepare really hard for this rough event. I still know that this event needs the same approach, maybe, as we had here: to be consistent with no puncture. Let's say, no stopping on the stage: that would be the best way to finish this rally. I believe we need to try to do the same as we did last year, but some extra speed would help.

Q:
Martin, congratulations on the win, and a third win overall here at Rally Germany. Very different conditions this year: It has been beautifully sunny, completely dry. Tell me how that has changed the work with the gravel crew. Has there been less information coming in? Has it been a little bit easier, maybe?
MJ:
Yes. Coming from the fast Finland roads to the tarmac here, it may look the same speed but actually, I think that, on tarmac, these cars are even faster on the braking and the acceleration. Basically, I also have to do all my work a little bit faster. It is always intense to work with the gravel crews, because there is lots of communication. This year, the weather was pretty stable, so it was a little bit easier.

Q:
We talk very much about Ott's confidence growing, and we can see that in the drive. What about your confidence, Martin, in the role you are doing? Obviously, you are getting it absolutely "bang on the money" as well. It is two of you achieving the wins, not just one. How big is your confidence right now?
MJ:
I'm okay (he laughs).

Q:
Kris Meeke, congratulations on a podium position with Toyota - your best result this year, your first podium with the team and with Seb as well. Talk to me about the feeling at the end of it, now that this result has been achieved.
KM:
It's nice. It is special to be part of a one-two-three, to be honest. It doesn't happen that often. We had a strong weekend - obviously, coming off the back of Finland, where a one-two-three might have been possible, but we tripped up there. So, coming here I was not particularly full of confidence. But we started and picked up the pace gradually. It seemed like we were in a battle with Sébastien Ogier throughout Friday and then into Saturday morning. I haven't so much experience of the stages on Saturday morning - I had only done them once in the wet, in 2017. So, I was happy to keep him at bay on Saturday morning. Then, on Panzerplatte, we were able to make a difference and he picked up his puncture there. The result certainly came to us and it is nice to be a part of this one-two-three.

Q:
We saw a great stage time from you on the final run of Panzerplatte yesterday. Obviously, feeling good within the stage, with yourself and the car. Did you expect it to be as quick as it was?
KM:
Yes. It is always a little cleaner on Panzerplatte on the second pass. It wasn't so much to try to pull a gap on Jari, it was to try to make a difference to Seb. I felt good in the car. When you have a good feeling, there is no reason not to take profit from it. As we saw with Thierry and Seb, it is easy to pick up a puncture in there, so you have to be extra careful as well. We've had a clean rally, strong stage times, and I think we deserved the second place we got.

Q:
You mentioned your confidence was a little bit low heading into this, after Finland. It has obviously been boosted now. We head to an event which is going to be brand-new for you in Turkey. A massive challenge ahead. What is going to be the plan?
KM:
I'll have to wait and see. Everyone says how rough it was last year. Obviously, I've only seen the TV images, so we will have to wait until we get there and see the recce. As Ott said, they got the result last year from being smart and clever, and not necessarily chasing the stage times. Let's see. It's for sure going to be a little bit more difficult for me, not having been there last year, but that's the way it is. Maybe that could play into my hands.

Q:
Seb Marshall, congratulations on the result here. It is special to be part of a one-two-three, how are you feeling at the end of it?
SM:
Yes, like Kris and the guys said, it is an amazing feeling to be up there on the podium and with the whole team there as well. It has been a fantastic effort from everyone the whole weekend. It has been a tough weekend. I am quite relieved to be here, to be honest. On Panzerplatte, in particular, you feel every bump. You think: oh no, is that a puncture? It is so easy to make a mistake and there are such fine margins with these stages. I am delighted with the result.

Q:
We've seen you guys on form this year - very much on pace and almost getting the podium result, and then having it snatched away, so how satisfying is it to finally be here?
SM:
Like I said, it is a relief. I think it is three times that we could perhaps have been on the podium and, for one reason or another, have not quite been able to make it. But, to be here now is a dream result.

Q:
Jari-Matti Latvala, let's turn to you. A Toyota one-two-three in 1993. Come on, you are the encyclopaedia of knowledge. Who was on the top step of the podium?
JML:
Juha Kankkunen, Markku Alén and Ian Duncan.

Q:
There is just no flooring him, is there?
OT:
Who is this Duncan?
JML:
It's a local guy from Kenya

Q:
He knows everything. Talk to me about the weekend because, as I mentioned a few times during it, we have seen many different characters to you. You over-thought a lot during this weekend. You studied times at the stage end, which may not have been what you wanted. It's a call from Mr Mäkinen telling you to just relax, which made the difference. Has that been the case?
JML:
Yeah, he called me twice (he laughs). I realise that when I just focus on the driving, it seems to be working the best. But when I start to think too much about the driving techniques - you know, being smooth, thinking about tyres, trying to carry the speed through the corners - then that just seems to go a bit over. Maybe I am not clever enough to think (he laughs)! Luckily, Tommi called us and then I relaxed my shoulders, tried not to think and just to focus on the driving, and it started to get better.

Q:
If the first call was to relax, was the second one to slow down?
JML:
No. It was this morning, the second one. After the first stage. I thought I was driving okay, but it was too cautious. Dani got quite close - I think he was getting to within twelve seconds. Tommi just called and said: "No panic. Everything is okay. I know you were just taking it too easy. No worries. There is no panic."

Q:
You said at the stage end: "no panic, it's all okay, I'm fine". But then, on the end of the next stage, you said you did feel a bit under pressure. Were you fibbing to us?
JML:
I knew that that kind of pace was not going be enough to keep him behind. So, of course, I needed to raise the pace. But, in a way, when you are relaxed and focused and you sort of have a target, then it is easier to concentrate.

Q:
Miikka, second podium in a row. We saw you in Finland. Does this mean the Latvala-Anttila battleship is back in action?
MA:
Yeah, for sure we want to carry on like this, not like we did the first half of the season. This was better and it feels better.

Q:
I want to know how much of an influence you are in the car? Because, when he is overthinking, and we could see that on the TV screen, what do you say to him? Do you tell him: "come on, chill out"?
MA:
I try, but like on Saturday evening, there were, I would say, 7,000 people telling him to cool down. Then maybe I was the 7,001th! Of course, I said the same thing. But there were so many others saying the same thing.

Q:
Obviously, it's Mr Mäkinen who has the special touch. Thank you Miikka. Tommi, congratulations, this must be a very proud moment to see your team archive a one-two-three. You must be a very happy man right now.
TM:
Yes, very, very happy. Thanks to all of you. It's going to go down in history, it will be written in history, what you did. I am so absolutely proud of the whole team and what they have done.

Q:
It has almost been achieved a few times - a one-two-three. Were there tense moments in there today, watching you drivers, or did you know that they would achieve it today?
TM:
Of course, it was a tough time. I was very confident. Luckily, nothing more serious with Ott. We will investigate carefully what happened with the brakes. That was my biggest worry: that some technical failures could happen.

Q:
You edge closer in the Manufacturers Championship with this. It all seems to be coming together at the moment?
TM:
At the moment, it's looking very good. I am sure Jari-Matti and Kris, you can do good relaxed driving.

FIA WRC 2 PRO CHAMPIONSHIP

Present:
1st - Jan Kopecký (CZE), Skoda Motorsport
1st - Pavel Dresler (CZE), Skoda Motorsport

Q:
Congratulations to you on your results. Jan, let's kick-start with you, the FAI WRC 2 Pro winner. You know what it takes to win here in Germany, of course, but we saw a really good battle between you and your team-mate Kalle Rovanperä. Germany bites back, though, doesn't it? It has its own challenges, as you discovered yesterday. Are you satisfied to be on the top step of the podium?
JK:
Actually, there was no battle between us because he was so much faster than we were today. We were just looking at his back, but I think he was driving a bit over the limits and he made two mistakes, that's it. Anyway, it was a challenging rally in these conditions; I think everyone had a little bit higher motivation, because it was dry, so the grip was quite high. But there were some places with loose gravel where, if you were too quick, you were out.

Q:
I was trying to be kind there when I mentioned the battle. He was very quick, your team-mate Mr Rovanperä. Were you surprised by the pace he was setting?
JK:
No. He is still young, very young, and he's hungry too.

Q:
He certainly is. You mentioned the condition of the stages. We've seen beautiful sunshine all weekend. You've seen this rally in all kinds of different conditions over your ten years competing here. How much of a challenge did it represent this time around?
JK:
I'd have to say that maybe we were a bit lucky that there was no rain, because the roads were a little bit messy this year, with a lot of loose gravel and a lot of dry mud, so if the rain had come, it would've been really challenging.

Q:
We saw frustration from you at the end of the day yesterday, when you damaged a tyre. You weren't a happy boy there.
JK:
Yes, because this Panzerplatte stage is getting rougher and rougher every year. We had the puncture and we were irritated in a way because there were huge blocks of concrete lying the middle of the road. But what can you do? I was a little bit frustrated.

Q:
But you're in a much better mood today, obviously.
JK:
Yes.

Q:
Thank you very much, Jan. Pavel, let's turn to you now. From your perspective, how much of a challenge has it been out there?
PD:
The first day of the rally was very challenging with Kalle. He made a mistake on the second day, so then we got some time, which was a little bit better for us, because we could really use our strategy. For me, it was almost the same strategy as at Barum Rally, and we finished first like at Barum Rally, so it is working.

Q:
It has certainly been a busy couple of weeks for you guys, so I'm sure you'll be glad to get home.
PD:
Yes, we're very much looking forward to spending time with our families after these two weeks.

Q:
But you're satisfied with the result this weekend...
PD:
Yes, for sure.

FIA WRC 2 CHAMPIONSHIP

Present:
1st - Fabian Kreim (GER)
1st - Tobias Braun (GER)

Q:
Now, Fabian, let's turn to you. Congratulations on the FIA WRC 2 win. We've seen quite a few leaders of FIA WRC 2 over the weekend and quite a lot of drama. Tell me about your weekend out there. Are you happy with your performance and the pace that you've shown?
FK:
Yes, at the end, I'm quite happy with our performance. It was a really tough and challenging rally, especially yesterday. It was quite hard on the Panzerplatte. We lost a little bit too much time on the first one, but at the end, we had no punctures. That was our target, to keep the pressure on, and today we made no mistakes. It was quite a good weekend and now we're really happy.

Q:
Obviously, you're going to be happy at winning FIA WRC 2, but going into this morning with those four challenging stages ahead of you, knowing that you had to keep it clean out there, were you a little bit nervous at all?
FK:
Yes, of course, I was really nervous in the morning. Our plan was to try to push a little bit in the first stage and it was good. In the last three stages, we managed to drive safely through, which was quite good.

Q:
And, obviously, it's a win at home as well, so that's quite special.
FK:
Yes, of course.

Q:
Tobias, let's turn to you now, then. Congratulations on a brilliant result this weekend. How much of a challenge has it been? How stressful has it been throughout the weekend for you?
TB:
Yes, it's the first year for Fabian and me together as driver and co-driver, and our first FIA WRC event together, so it was quite challenging. But to do it the first time, to win here in Germany, is quite special and I think we did quite well in the end.

Q:
And how has the relationship worked, then? Especially when you're going through such challenging stages as Panzerplatte, with so many notes and 89 junctions. Was it all good?
TB:
In the end, I would say it was quite good. Of course, it wasn't the same as with his old co-driver, whom he worked with for five years. It is our first year together and just four rallies into the season. It's not 100% perfect but I think we've done quite well and I'm happy with the rally.

Q:
Fabian, what did you think of his performance, then? Is it shaping up?
FK:
Yes.

2019 Season