WTCR - 2018 Mato Homola

11.07.18

Slovak Mato Homola will be gunning for glory when the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO stops off at the Slovakia Ring from 13-15 July, a 20-kilometre drive from his home no less. Here’s what the PEUGEOT 308TCR-driving DG Sport Compétition driver has had to say.
 

WTCR - Mato Homola

You claimed your first victory in the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO in Portugal last month. What was the homecoming like?
“There were many congratulations from all sides, from the fans, the sponsors, the family. I felt I needed some good results and Vila Real was perfect. From the general public, from the media it was really big thing but it’s only one victory and I want to continue like that. It was a big thing but I don’t want to be under some kind of pressure because of this.”
 
Have you managed a test or some time in the car since Vila Real?
“Unfortunately no but I hope it will not be a disadvantage. The advantage is I know the circuit and I am in a good mood after the success in Vila Real. But we need to calm down and be on our feet and work hard to have more good results.”
 
How good is it to be racing at home in WTCR OSCARO?
“It's big news for me and I’m excited. It’s my home race and in comparison to Argentina, where we were going to be racing, Slovakia Ring is 20 kilometres from my home, not thousands of kilometres away. So it’s perfect!”
 
What does it mean to Slovakia and Slovakian motorsport to host the WTCR?
“It’s great for Slovakia and Slovakian motorsport. We’ve not had a high-ranking event like this for a couple of years so it’s good for everybody.”
 
Slovakia Ring has a reputation for attracting lots of fans. Are you expecting plenty of support?
“It’s holiday time in Slovakia so there will be a lot of fans and fans will also come to Slovakia from other countries. The response has been very positive since the news.”
 
How good will the racing be?
“It’s a good track with a lot of drivers in the championship and a lot of battles. Slovakia Ring provides good, watchable races. I hope fans will come and together with the FIA European Truck Racing Championship I’m expecting a really nice and crowded event.”
 
As the home hero is it case of big pressure or a big opportunity?
“It’s a big opportunity because I know Slovakia Ring even though I have not driven there for some time. There will be some pressure compared to the other events but from the home races I’ve done from 2012 onwards, it will not be a big issue.”
 
So you’re taking the pressure in your stride?
“There will be some pressure because I want a good result but it’s part of the game, it’s part of motorsport and I like that. If there was no pressure, there would be no chance to win and I wouldn’t want it to be like this. It will be a big pleasure.”
 
You know the Slovakia Ring but what can you tell your WTCR OSCARO rivals who have never raced there before?
“It’s a very complex track because there are very fast corners and very technical corners. Every driver will find their favourite corner. It’s something different to the other tracks, some tracks are really small and narrow but Slovakia Ring is really wide with some fast and slow corners. You can see four cars wide on the main straight and the races are always nice to watch.”
 
What about the potential for overtaking?
“I know from history there was a lot of overtaking with really nice, tight racing. There can be slipstreaming and you can also overtake in some of the technical sections. It will be good for the fans.”
 
Gabriele Tarquini describes Turn 2 as very exciting. What’s so good about it?
“You have a really high heartbeat in this corner and you need to hit the right point of the apex, otherwise you’re going off. It’s very challenging, very high-speed, approximately 200kph, and it’s fun.”
 
You live close to Bratislava, what’s it like as place to visit?
“It’s quite a small old city centre but there’s lots of heritage and history. There are lots of nice places to eat and party but I’m not a party man! The infrastructure is growing and growing but the past is being kept alive. It’s a small but big city.”
 
And what would you recommend for a typical Slovak meal?
“We have a very traditional dish of cheese dumplings with bacon. It’s really heavy but very nice.”