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Interview with P-G Andersson

Per-Gunnar Andersson was one of the stars of the latter part of the 2008 World Rally Championship, dragging ever more impressive results and stage times out of the Suzuki SX4 towards the end of the year. But Suzuki's decision to pull-out of the series has left him without a full-time drive for 2009

Undeterred, the double Junior champion returned for Rally Norway with a private Skoda Fabia WRC - and stunned by taking a brace of stage victories this afternoon, the first for a Skoda since the 2006 Rallye Deutschland.

The Swede's efforts moved him up the leaderboard to end the opening day just one tenth of a second behind Petter Solberg's Citroen Xsara WRC, and as Andersson prepared to attack the former world champion for fifth, he took time out to discuss his impressive day with autosport.com.

Q. Where did that speed come from this afternoon?

P-G Andersson: I was more comfortable with the car. Everything worked much better. I was pushing the car harder and trying to be more clever in my driving, to stop sliding and when the traction was there giving it a big, big push. Then when it came to the corners, trying to slow the car in a straight line, less sliding.

Q. Does that mean you were more spectacular this morning?

PGA: I didn't find the rhythm as good this morning. The second time the notes were better.

Q. Did you think you'd be setting two fastest times?

PGA: No, never. But okay, now it's done. And it's good that we did it this afternoon, on the re-run stages, when the conditions were the same for everybody. I just wish that maybe I had pushed harder this morning, if I'd done that, it could have been possible to be even higher.

Q. It's a shame you didn't make the hat-trick of three fastest times in a row.

PGA: I didn't have any problems on that one, but it was just too technical. It's very bumpy and rough for the last couple of kilometres for that stage and in a privateer car I didn't want to take any risk to crack the dampers or break anything, so I was just backing off a little bit.

Q. How does this car compare with the Suzuki?

PGA: They're quite similar. This car moves a little bit better and the torque of the engine is better. They are quite similar.

Q. People talk about the Skoda's handling being one of the strongest parts. Do you feel that way?

PGA: Yes, that's right. It's a nice car to drive, it handles really well. It should be a really good car if you can get a better engine in.

Q. Tomorrow's stages are a bit faster, do you think you can set more fastest times?

PGA: Hmm, I would be surprised if I did it. My target now is to try and keep the cars behind, behind.

Q. And what about the car that's a tenth of a second ahead (Solberg)?

PGA: No problem. He can't catch me!

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