Fri 10 Mar 2023

They said what? ERC Fafe pre-event driver quotes

Pre-event quotes from the fastest 10 drivers on the Rally Serras de Fafe, Felgueiras, Boticas, Vieira do Minho e Cabeceiras de Basto Qualifying Stage, plus Efrén Llarena, the winner of the 2022 FIA European Rally Championship, appear below.

Team Hyundai Portugal – Craig Breen (IRL), Hyundai i20 N Rally2
“I genuinely have no idea what we can do, last year it was best to be first on the road because of the conditions. I’ve gone with number four on the road but I have absolutely no idea if it’s the right thing to do. If it’s very, very wet you want to be at the front but if it’s not so wet you went to be a bit further back. The car felt really nice. I did a test on Wednesday but it doesn’t really feel like I drove the car, it’s more like I sailed. We did 20 or 30 kilometres but it was pretty much a right-off because of the conditions. In the first run of Free Practice today honestly the car felt great, really good. Hopefully we won’t get too much rain and it might dry up a little bit.”

MRF Tyres Dealer Team – Mads Østberg (NOR), Citroën C3 Rally2
“First of all it’s nice to be here doing this rally. I’m starting first on the road and for me it’s always been like that. If you have these conditions in the wet, when it’s raining, based on previous experience, from previous rallies, especially here in Portugal. Of course I saw what Nil Solans did here by winning from first on the road. I am happy I can choose first on the road. We have a good set-up with the car, I feel comfortable in the car and we have some new parts on the car now, which gives us a lot of confidence. We are trying everything we can and I do appreciate the effort from everyone involved with the car, technically, and the tyre manufacturer as well. It’s a good combination, we have a good team, a strong car and we are ready for a good year.”

Miko Marczyk (POL), Škoda Fabia RS Rally2
“I don’t know if second position just after Mads is a good idea but if the stages will be muddy then I hope it will be a good choice and being second on the road is still some grip. Even if I had been fastest on the Qualifying Stage I don’t know if I would have taken the first position but probably I would have done. The second position was possible for us and I hope it’s a good choice. For sure it’s great for us we are starting our season very early and we are one more time in the ERC. We develop a lot in 2020 and 2021 on the stages of the ERC and I hope it will be a good event for us and then we can talk to our sponsors about maybe doing even more. We keep our fingers crossed for it.”

Mikko Heikkilä (FIN), Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo
“It was a nice run on the Qualifying Stage, quite a clean run, quite safe. We had a small trouble with the pop-off valve but without that it was quite good but even with that problem the time was good and we can be third on the road for tomorrow, which is good. I now hope it will rain.”

RedGrey – Georg Linnamaë (EST), Hyundai i20 N Rally2
“Our road position of fifth is pretty much the same as it was last year so we will see what we can do. The conditions are slightly different but not so much and we will see if Mads made a great decision or not. The new car is feeling very good, it seems to be a strong car, some positives and some negatives but I am sure we can iron out the negatives over the year.”

GR Motorsport Kft – Miklós Csomós (co-driver Attila Nagy, HUN), Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo
“We are picking the sixth position and I think it will be better to run after Craig Breen. We are hoping for rain. Last year we were the 15th car but I think it can be better in the rain in this position.”

Mathieu Franceschi (FRA), Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo
“I am following the other guys so we have chosen the seventh place and we will see tomorrow if it’s correct. For sure the entry list is incredible but we are here for taking maximum experience and the target is to be on the finish line, let’s see because we want to enjoy a lot.”

BRC Racing Team – Hayden Paddon (NZL), Hyundai i20 N Rally2
“I’ve followed the trend and gone for eighth on the road. We’re looking forward to a full season in the ERC and trying to put some points on the board this weekend and just get back into it. Portugal hasn’t been the kindest place for us over the years but we’ll try to put that record straight this weekend and this is the perfect opportunity to do that.”

Bilteknik TRT Citroën Rally Team – Tom Kristensson (SWE), Citroën C3 Rally2
“At the moment everything feels amazing and I am very satisfied and very thankful to be here. I enjoyed the Qualifying Stage very much and I enjoyed the new car very much so I’m looking forward to it, to a new adventure. Mads is helping me quite a lot and I’m very thankful to him for helping me that much. I was able to find confidence very fast in the car and we were discussing about the development and I could feel every detail that he explained so very nice and so far so good.”

Bernardo Sousa (PRT), Citroën C3 Rally2
“Yes it’s true, I was the winner of the celebrity version of Portuguese Big Brother, which was incredible because I am a rally driver but I went on a TV show and won it. Definitely road position will be important then you’ve got to be flat out like always. The boys are setting a rapid pace so it will be flat out from the very beginning even though the weather conditions will be tricky, the road position will be major on day one then it’s about getting to the end.”

Team MRF Tyres – Efrén Llarena (ESP), Škoda Fabia RS Rally2
“I braked too late and I missed the junction and after that I stalled the engine. We had the pace to be fighting for the top five in the qualifying but anyway it is like it is and tomorrow I will start in 19th position. We were in a similar position last year so we will try our best since the first metre of the first stage but let’s see with the weather condition whether it’s raining or not.”

Latvia
Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Italy
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Hungary
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM