What will the IRC community experience in Sibiu?
“They will be happy I hope. It’s a bit like the old Acropolis Rally in Greece but with better roads. It’s not smooth gravel but there are a lot of stones and punctures are a big issue so drivers will have to take care. The night stages will attract a lot of fans and with the IRC coming for the first time it will be a really interesting event.”
Some stages feature Tarmac sections. How tough will that be in a car set up for gravel?
“There is some Tarmac which is very fast and wide so not a problem with gravel tyres. The Tarmac stage is really like an uphill race with some hairpins. We will use the same section for the Santa Max stage, which is on gravel and Tarmac on day two.”
How difficult will the event be for those competing in Sibiu for the first time?
“It’s a little bit different from what they are used to but it’s also a big challenge and really interesting. The temperature will also be very hot so it’s another challenge. Everybody will be fine at the end because it will be a really great experience.”
You’re a regular in Sibiu. How many times have you done the rally?
“I’ve done it six times now and I won last year. The rally has always been a lottery because the driver who makes a full attack in Sibiu normally doesn’t win but the one who waits doesn’t win either. The strategy is very important: you have to be fast but there are places where you have to save the car.”
Having spent 2012 driving a Subaru Impreza R4 STI you’re switching to a ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000 for Sibiu. Why?
“Because we’ve had two retirements in the IRC Production Cup we decided to switch from the Subaru to the ŠKODA for this rally. I’ve done some tests in the car and for me it’s the best choice. Although I know very well the stages and have a Super 2000 car it will not be possible to compete against people like Andreas Mikkelsen who will be very fast.”