SEAJETS Acropolis Rally
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FIA European Rally Championship 2017: Round 3 of 8
SEAJETS Acropolis Rally, 2-4 June
POST-EVENT PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
Kajetan Kajetanowicz/Jarek Baran (LOTOS Rally Team), first position
Bruno Magalhães/Hugo Magalhães, second position
Grzegorz Grzyb/Jakub Wróbel (RUFA Sport), third position
Congratulations on your first win of the season Kajto but after the delays on Saturday you never gave up, you kept pushing and pushing but what was going through your mind at the end of stage one when you lost all that time?
Many surprises, never give up, you must still be doing your job. It’s not easy this rally, very hot, very demanding road conditions. But the organisers did a really good job this year with the stages because they were very flat if we compare to last year but it was hard to keep the concentration. The last stage three three drivers before the finish were out and you are thinking about the finish and it’s really easy to lose concentration. To be honest I wasn’t thinking about the finish because the last two stages were very demanding, we were very slowly, we didn’t push because even though if you are pushing in 100 per cent it’s easier to keep concentration. But anyway it was a great rally and thanks for the organisers. There was a great atmosphere with great stages. This is one of the most difficult but the best rallies in my career. We did it for the second time. It was in my dreams but dreams do come true.
You become the third different winner this season and afterwards you got on the roof to celebrate but never got down. Was that because of all the relief and emotion you were feeling?
There were many emotions inside the car. This is an
amazing feeling to be here because we were working very hard for many weeks, many months to be again on the top position because, as you know, we didn’t win a rally for many months but you have to still believe you can do it. Now this is important. We did it, we are here and we are looking forward.
Moving across to Jarek Baran, the man who has guided you this weekend, was this a traditional tough Acropolis Rally that the event is famous for?
First of all, we are still as excited as we were in the car. It comes quickly but we had a very, very hard weekend starting from the test and the reconnaissance and the two race days. We started this morning with the intention to attack and we pushed on all the stages as best as we can. I think Acropolis is magic and everybody knows it and everybody who had the chance to start the rally for me everyone who passed the startline is a hero. This is a very, very difficult rally and you cannot be sure you are on the finish until you reach the finish. Everything happens on this rally as we see on the last stage.
Of course you want to win every event you start but an hour or two after the finish are you satisfied with second place?
Yes, I’m very happy with our result. We scored very good points for the championship but I am more pleased with our pace because we come here for the first time and from the first day we show our pace and had a good fight with these excellent drivers and for me and Hugo it was a big step and I really like this car and I have a very good confidence. It was a pit what happened today because we had the problem from the first stage. We tried to find the problem but it was not possible. Now we think we know what was the problem but we didn’t have the spare part so it was difficult because we made the stages in the safe mode. The car was 120 degrees and immediately goes to safe mode and I didn’t have any power so it was difficult to manage the situation. But I think we have done a very good job. The last stage was very difficult like Kajto said. When I was passing the other guys I lose completely the concentration and I could not push because the car does not allow this. I think we were very clever today.
You referred to these excellent drivers in the Azores, in the Canary Islands and now here but you’ve extended your lead of the championship by 21 points so you must be an excellent driver too?
I am showing new pace I think. I think nobody expect we can do this but now we are proving the last few years were very difficult for us because we didn’t have the conditions to drive in this speed but now were are showing we are able to do that so for me it’s a big pleasure to show my pace. Even if I don’t make more rallies the image we have at this moment is much better than before.
Talking about more rallies, obviously Cyprus is in a couple of weeks and it’s just over there not far away. Will your ŠKODA be going there with you two in it?
We made the entry for the rally but we need to close the budget. I hope today or tomorrow we try to do that. Of course I want to go and I think we deserve to go there so I cross my fingers and I will do everything I can to go.
Turning next to Hugo, we’ve talked about the tough conditions but rally drivers are hot-headed, selfish, committed, determined, so how difficult is it for a co-driver to keep a driver calm when you’ve got problems in stages?
It’s not easy especially when we started our rally struggling with the pacenotes because it was our first time here and our pacenotes were not so good in the first passage. We made a couple of mistakes and had a big moment. I was all the time trying to keep him on the calm side. At lunch time yesterday I decided to check all my pacenotes from the onboards and put my lunch to the side and checked all the pacenotes. It was good because in the afternoon my pace was stronger and we set some good stage times.
People don’t realise how much work goes into this but we hear you were even changing notes on the road sections…
During the road section I was cleaning my pacenotes and I took my laptop also to check the onboards and at night time we joined together checking the onboards again. We are here to fight and show our pace to try to get more sponsors to keep going in this championship because we have a good chance to fight for the championship. We are in a good position to hopefully make something good.
Turning to Grzegorz, it was a difficult afternoon for you with some problems on the car but what were your emotions when the team called you and told you that you’d finished on the podium?
For sure we have this plan to try to attack on the last stage but we are the first time here like Bruno and we don't know very well the stages and we don’t drive on the gravel many times so I don’t have much experience with it so everything was for me new and that stage was very difficult, not just for me but for everybody with so many crashed cars. But, okay, we try to go very clean and we do only one mistake on the last stage. We check our splits and we know we were a bit faster and could drive better and better and we thought it would be okay.
Your first time here as you said but did the Acropolis Rally live up to its fearsome reputation?
Somebody tell me you do the Acropolis Rally and it’s easy points but it’s a completely stupid idea. We knew before the rally we were not the fastest driver there and we accepted that before the rally. It was very tough on the car, on the crew, the mechanics. The recce was very difficult and our pacenotes were completely not good and we change notes. But I am very happy I drive here and I hope I come back one more time to Greece.
Turning finally to Jakub, so were you also adjusting the pacenotes on the road sections like Hugo?
Not exactly but we made a big job in the hotel where we were checking our onboards and changing our notes a lot of time. We were not sleeping so much but it’s like this and it was a good job for us. We do a good job.
Is this the most difficult event you’ve done as a co-driver?
Like the other guys are saying it’s the toughest rally I have ever done with my experience. But I enjoyed it a lot, it was very nice and I would like to come back here.