HCM - What the Drivers Say..... On Saturday


The 2021 FIA Hill Climb Masters has attracted teams and drivers from all across Europe.  We spoke to some of them after they had completed their first practice session on the 3km Rampa da Falperra track in Portugal.


Ronnie BRATSCHI (CHE) - no78 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII RS

“This morning was good. It is my first time here.  I checked all the car on the first run as I have some small problems with the differential in the last race of the European Championship and we’ve changed a lot.  I’ve also got a new set up.  This is the first time on this track and the time is good for the first time.”


Karel TRNENY (CZE) - no98 Skoda Fabia

“This is our first time here and it was difficult, but we always take it easy on our first run to warm the car and me also.  We will see how we are tomorrow.  This is a beautiful track, I usually prefer more rally style, because our car extends from the rally car.  I think this is more for the formula cars and the Polish Mitsubishis, but we will see tomorrow.”


Aurore DODILLE (FRA) - no124 Citroen C2

“Everything was fine today but it was a little stressful because there were a lot of people, it is a big competition compared to what I am used to doing in France. But everything is nice, and I am very happy to be here.  The track is perfect but very fast.  The heats today are very useful, and we will use today to prepare for tomorrow.”


Alessandro GABRIELLI (ITA) - no76 Picchio AR 4C

“Everything was good today.  In the first session we didn’t push to check the set-up of the car and prepare everything for tomorrow.  I have been to this track before, it hasn’t changed since the last time I was here and to be back here in Braga with all these fans is fantastic.”


Soren BOTEZ (ROU) - no150 Mitsubishi Evo VI

“We didn’t take part in the first session because we had a small problem with the car but that’s fixed, and we will take part in the second run.  This hill climb is very beautiful, I have been at all of the FIA Masters, this is my fourth Masters, and maybe this one is the best.  This is my first time here; the atmosphere is fantastic, the Portuguese fans are very enthusiastic, and there are a lot of them.  It is 4000km for us to travel to Braga, which is a very long trip, but we are very happy to be here.”


Damien BRADLEY (GBR) - no142 Subaru Legacy

“It’s been good today, it’s exciting, the gear changes need a lot to be desired, but we’ll get there.  It’s so different from what we are used to in the UK.  I’ve been driving it like a UK hill, and I need to go up a gear and smooth things out a little bit.  The tyres are moving around a bit, we’re using a different compound Avon that I’ve run before, so we’ll see what kind of grip we can get.  The trip down to the start was insane, the spectators were lining up, cheering and waving flags – it’s great.”


Tom WEAVER (GBR) - no65 Van Diemen RF91 Ford

“It’s very different from the UK, it’s much quicker and the road surface is a bit bumpier than we are used to, but I absolutely love it; it’s brilliant.  The fans here are mental, they are loving the event and we are loving it.  We are just going to see if we can improve today and prepare for tomorrow.”


Loïc CORDIER (BEL) - no95 Porsche 991 GT3 Cup

“It went well today, it’s a great racetrack here in Braga.  I had to spend some time to familiarise myself with the track on the first run and it will be better in the afternoon.  This is my first-time taking part in the FIA Hill Climb Masters, the event is extraordinary, the crowd is just amazing, and it is a real pleasure to be here.”