Fri 07 Jun 2024

ERC Take Five with Tristan Charpentier

Having previously excelled in circuit racing, Tristan Charpentier is trying rallying for size with next week’s BAUHAUS Royal Rally of Scandinavia marking his FIA European Rally Championship debut. This is what the 23-year-old from France, who drives a KMS Racing Ford Fiesta Rally3, has had to say.

Why did you make the switch to rallying?
“I was competing on a quite high level in single-seaters, but it’s hard to find sponsors in the single-seater world as the budgets are so high. Even in rallying it’s so high, but I feel like there’s more support in rallying. I have always wanted to try rallying, as we’ve always had a rally in my hometown, and I’ve known about rallying since I was young. I fell in love with it, driving on Tarmac and switching to gravel and to snow, it’s never the same and you are always learning and adapting. It feels like there’s more adrenaline in rallying compared to circuit racing. I’m enjoying rallying a lot and I’m having a lot of fun with it.”

BAUHAUS Royal Rally of Scandinavia for your ERC debut is next. Are you feeling ready?
“It’s going to be a new challenge for me. We experienced gravel for the first time with a 4WD car in Portugal, but it’s nothing compared to Sweden. It’s completely different, Sweden seems like there will be a lot faster roads and cleaner stages with really high speeds, it’ll be completely new to me. We drove in the SM Tuuri Ralli, part of thre Finnish championship, with fast stages, but it was on snow. Now it will be about getting back to similar kind of challenging roads but on gravel and getting used to these really high speeds. I’m really looking forward to the new challenge.”   

What targets have you set yourself?
“Since the beginning of the year I think we’ve shown really good pace compared to the experience I have. In WRC3 when I was doing well and running without issues we were always top three or top five in WRC3 on both Tarmac and gravel. We’ve had some issues in the past two events, but if we can have a trouble-free event in Sweden and without any bad luck, we can aim for something good, at least for podium in ERC3. I have never experienced fast roads such as the ones in Sweden so I don’t know how to feel, but I’m quite confident that we adapt quickly to everything. I have also the support of the KMS Racing team that is used to these roads, and both Jussi and Arto Kumpumäki have driven a lot on gravel. It’s almost a home rally for them, the roads in Finland and Sweden are quite similar and I’m sure we can aim for something good together.”

Are you planning more ERC appearances?
“I’m likely to do ERC Estonia, especially after a good result in Sweden. I would like to do it as well at least, but we’ll have to see our budget.”

How is Julian Ingrassia, a multiple world title-winning co-driver of course, helping you? “He’s giving me really good advice with his experience. He’ll always give me his point of view when I have doubts or questions, he’s always there to support me. He also gives his feedback and experience, which is very valuable to me because he’s one of the best mentors you can have. To have an eight-time world champion with me and supporting me, it’s a huge change. He also helps me with my pacenotes, correcting them and making them better so I can learn more. But his point of view is the main thing, it’s super-valuable to me.”  

BAUHAUS Royal Rally of Scandinavia takes place from 13 - 15 June. Ticket information is available here:

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