ERC - Zlin pre-event press conference transcript | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

ERC - Zlin pre-event press conference transcript

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16.08.19

ERC - 2019 Barum Czech Rally Zlín - Pre-event press conference transcript

Erik Cais, Jan Kopecký, Alexey Lukyanuk and Zelindo Melegari attended the post-event press conference for Barum Czech Rally Zlín, round six of the 2019 FIA European Rally Championship. A transcript follows.

Barum Czech Rally Zlín, FIA European Rally Championship Round 6 of 8
16th Floor, Building 21, Zlín, 14h3o, Friday 16 August 2019

In attendance:
Erik Cais, ACCR Czech Rally Team
Jan Kopecký, ŠKODA Motorsport
Alexey Lukyanuk, Saintéloc Junior Team
Zelindo Melegari, Loran Srl

Q:
You’ve won this rally seven times. What are your best memories?

JK:
The best memories from the Barum Rally… for sure there are many but sometimes you are going to lose and that’s part of the game. Let's say this year you can memorise more than the beginning moments [of my career]. But for sure there is2009, when I won my first Barum with Petr Starý, because Petr Starý is big here in Zlín, and after that in 2016 when we had a big battle with Alexey.

Q:
It’s your first time on this event with the new ŠKODA Fabia R5 Evo. How is that working out for you?

JK:
Biggest news here is that we are going to use the new ŠKODAFabia R5 for the first time on these roads. After the last event, Rally Bohemia, we have new dampers so hopefully they are going to work well and we will show some nice pace.

Q:
Alexey, welcome to Barum Czech Rally Zlín. You are here for the fifth time and in two last ERC events you finished second. Will you prioritise collecting points for ERC or do you want to win here in Zlín?

AL:
Yes. Actually the two main goals for us are to score points but try to win also. The priority is definitely for the championship but I would like to do our best as always.

Q:
This is your first time here with Citroen C3 R5. Do you think the car suits these roads?

AL:
We will see. We are trying to improve the car all the time and we have also new dampers for this rally, but I’m not sure if they’re working in the proper way so far. We’re still learning: it’s a new car, new team, new tyres, a lot of new things for us. It’s not easy. With the [Ford] Fiesta I was more comfortable and confident but still we are trying really hard to get the best possible level.

Q:
You were third on the Qualifying Stage, but in free practice you went off the road. What happened?

AL:
I saw so many spectators around, so I decided to communicate with them. I was a bit excited with how many helped me to get back to the road! I was just trying to push hard and brake as late as possible but I was too optimistic.

Q:
You started the season with the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X but on the last event you switched to the Abarth 124 rally. What made you switch?

ZM:
I didn’t find a feeling with the Mitsubishi Lancer so for Rome I changed the car, I take the Fiat Abarth, it’s four or five kilograms less and on the Tarmac the performance for sure is very better. I am still trying to find a good set-up. In the first loop in the Free Practice the car was more soft but in the Qualifying Stage it was more hard but the direction of the car was still the same.

Q:
This is your second start here but what’s your goal for the rally?

ZM:
For sure to confirm my position in the championship is the best goal. I hope tomorrow to have a fight with [Dariusz] Poloński and maybe also [Andrea] Nucita would be a very good goal for me.

Q:
Do you think your Abarth will be suited to the stages here?

ZM:
I think for me for sure it’s better than the Mitsubishi. Okay it’s a hard rally but I hope I can fight with the other crews for the victory.

Q:
You’ve earned international respect on last year’s Barum Rally, where you were fighting for first place in ERC3. This year you are part of ACCR Czech Team and you are a using Ford Fiesta R2T from Orsák Rally Sport, which you are using in ERC as well. How do you evaluate the results on the ERC so far?

EC:
Hello everyone. I think that my year was quite good. I really like the concept of ERC Junior. I'm sad that I couldn't start Rally Islas Canarias due to a final exam at school but I think we will score more point here on Barum Czech Rally Zlín.

Q:
There is very tough competition in ERC3 but it’s also your home rally in front of your home crowd. How well prepared are you for this event?

EC:
Getting a good result on the Barum Rally is really challenging because it's such a long and difficult event. Ken Torn described it to me really well: he said that the types of rally that exist are Tarmac rallies, Gravel rallies and Barum Rally! I think this is absolutely describes this event.

Q:
In order to prepare you’ve raced on Rally Rzeszów. How did that go?

EC:
In my second season it's difficult to say something about the car and its setup. Last week I did Rally Rzeszów, where I lost a great finish due to my mistake, but I think it was a good test for the Barum Rally and I'm looking forward to it.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR:

Q (Pavel Jelinek, MotorMix):
The car seemed to be OK when you left the track, so you actually achieved a very good time on that stage. Is the car OK and well prepared?

AL:
Yes, it looks like the car is OK. Before going off I thought maybe it ends up bent but it was very soft ground, no stones, nothing. Luckily we were unhurt.

Q (Jaroslav Pazdernik, Horacke noviny):
What was the challenge like in changing from the old ŠKODA Fabia R5 to the new Evo model?

JK:
The old car was really good, it won everywhere, every single rally, so it was a very difficult challenge for the team to improve when putting some new things on the car. So we tried to find lots of small details; a little bit from the engine, a little bit from the suspension, a little bit from the brakes and we tried to make the car a little more comfortable and easy to drive. I hope that we did this job and for sure it's just on the beginning now, this car. If you look back how many steps forward we did with the old car and how we improved, I expect that in the future this car will be much, much stronger.

Q (Pavel Jelinek, MotorMix):
You’ve also switched cars for this year. Are you happy with the switch of the car?

AL:
It’s a nice car actually, it smells fresh inside, with a nice French aroma! The car is nothing new: there is some things that I like, some that I’d like to change, but more or less the same. I’m really thankful we have a chance to drive a car with this [level of] performance, so I cannot be upset.

ENDS