Apr 02, 2017
FIA European Rally Championship 2017: Round 1 of 8 – Azores Airlines Rallye, 30 March-1 April
Bruno Magalhães/Hugo Magalhães, first overall
Marijan Griebel/Stefan Kopczyk, second overall
Josh Moffett/James Fulton, third overall
Bruno, genuinely did you think there was a chance you’d win given your lack of time in the car and the fact you’d rallied on gravel for 18 months?
To be honest I knew it would be very difficult because, for this moment, I am retired, I don’t have a project to make rallies. My last rally on gravel was one year and a half ago so I didn’t expect this. But I have a big motivation. I love rallies me and Hugo. The car was very good, my first time in this car and we made the perfect job together with the team and the car. Thanks to my sponsors because without them it was not possible to come here.
Obviously this was the Portuguese round of the European championship but the next one is in Spain. Will those sponsors help you go there?
You have to ask them! I don’t know but I think not.
Going back to this rally how difficult was it in all that fog?
It was incredibly hard, difficult as hell. I was very confident in the car and me and Hugo fight a lot for this result and I think we deserve.
Turning to your co-driver Hugo, what is it like to be back up here winning again?
First of all, I have to tell you that today I was supposed to be in Lebanon, not here in Azores. But he asked me a lot to be with him. He cried almost everyday asking me: ‘please come, come with me’, that’s why I decided to come to be with him because I know when we are together we can do a great job. We were committed since the beginning and now we are here to celebrate.
Moving across to second place overall and the winner of the ERC Junior Under 28 category, the 2016 ERC Junior champion Marijan Griebel. It probably doesn’t get much better than this does it?
Definitely not. I tried a lot of times here in the R2 car and to win my first race we had a lot of bad luck before it went out in Belgium last year. But now with just my third start in an R5 car to finish second overall and to win this new ERC Junior Under 28 category is an amazing feeling and thanks to my team, Baumschlager Rallye & Racing because the car was just perfect all the weekend and also Stefan did a great job in these difficult conditions. It was a perfect weekend.
You mentioned the difficult conditions this morning, what was going through your mind in all that thick fog, losing time or gaining time?
It was not so easy to be honest because sometimes you are driving really slow, you want to push but it’s just not possible because you don’t see where the road is going. Today I was in a big fight with Nicolay [Gryazin] in the beginning. I was retiring on the Saturday in Azores for the last two years so I was telling me all the time to keep calm, do your own thing and don’t look at the times of Nicolay, do your own speed and finally it worked out and everything was good.
Stefan, the man on the other side of the car, was probably the person that had to keep him calm, how difficult is it for a co-driver reading those pacenotes in the fog because you must have no reference points at all, how tough is that?
For sure it’s really tough challenge, also for a co-driver, because you can’t see the track so you have to feel the track. Of course it’s a challenge to find the right rhythm but we managed it, it worked out and we had great fun.
Somebody else who had great fun and realistically didn’t expect to have such great fun after a spin in qualifying on Thursday was Josh Moffett. Even with that spin upsetting your way, did you really expect to be sat here this evening?
Of course, nah, I’m only joking! No, definitely not. There were 30-odd R5 cars starting the event so we knew it would be difficult so to come out with this type of result, we’re both over the moon and really happy. We’re looking forward to Canaries now.
Gravel is probably not your most preferred surface, you had the spin, handbrake issues and other problems so was this the toughest event you’ve ever done?
Without a doubt, without a doubt, those conditions out there, those stages out there, without a doubt that was a difficult rally out there. For sure the fog just made it next to impossible. The amount of times I had to say to James ‘I can’t see where I am going’. But we’re happy, we got around and I had to keep telling myself it’s the same for everybody else and I had to back off accordingly and go as hard as we could.
This man has guided you around the whole rally. Kajetan Kajetanowicz said if it wasn’t for the co-driver the driver wouldn’t have been able to see where he was going. Given how difficult it was is it something you can enjoy or not?
I don’t know if I can enjoy it because it was very difficult, nothing like I have ever experienced before. We just said to ourselves we had to get our heads down, focus and remember it was the same for everyone else and we got through it.
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