As a champion without any pressure
Ferenc Vincze will start Rally Hungary as a national champion and he truly believes that he can fight against the best ERC drivers. He has nothing to lose at the race around Nyíregyháza, there is no pressure at all on him and his co-driver, Igor Bacigal.
How long have you been waiting for this moment?
‘Since I sat into a racing car for the first time in 2012’ Ferenc Vincze said. ‘Though I still cannot believe it, and it takes some time to realize it.’
Please speak about that certain last stage. How did it go?
‘I was very excited before the start, my hands were shaking, and even if we drove by an average speed, it was an awesome feeling to see the finish line. The whole team was waiting for us, the team owner, Erik Korda, my parents and many of my friends. We hugged each other, they congratulated us, but there was no time to celebrate, because we had strict time limit, so we had to go on to the podium ceremony. But there, finally we could really understand and live through what we had achieved.’
If we see that you started racing eight years ago, we can say that you did not wait too much for the championships. What do you think?
‘Fortunately, not, so hopefully I have some more years and more successes to experience… To be honest, when the R5 cars appeared, I did not see much chance to get a title, because that category seemed unreachable for me due to financial reasons. But I managed to sit into an R5 car, and we won our first stage immediately. Then we started to realize that we could have some chance. However, it took three years for our work to pay off.’
How can you describe Škoda Fabia R5?
‘It is a real racing car. It is designed for rally, its weight balance is good, so are the brakes, and driving it… Well, I have already driven many types of cars and I was pushed to adjust to things and learn quickly. It came in handy at R5, too. It is also essential that I can adapt the racing cars to my own way, and I managed to do it with Fabia as well.’
How would you describe ‘your way’?
‘I try to drive as precisely as I can. I do not like unnecessary movements, extra slips.’
What are the criteria for your co-driver?
‘I have already had some co-drivers. Last year, for example, I had four within a single season. Some of them did not like the way I wanted to hear back the itinerary, but Igor (Bacigal) was different. He accepted my way, because he used to write the same type of itineraries with his previous drivers. I do not ask for much information, as it worked out during the years. At the beginning, I gave some extra information, but we had to leave it, because there was no time for it with the ever-higher speed.’
You were close to the title already last year, but finally you did not claim it. Were you disappointed?
‘Not really. Three of us were fighting for the title, and I felt very stressful that pushed us back. We deserved losing it. To be honest, it was more difficult to get back from the crash in Veszprém last year, both financially and mentally, because the damages were much bigger than in Nyíregyháza.’
What can you tell us about Mecsek Rally?
‘It was the most difficult race I have ever had in my life. On Thursday, it rained the by whole day. It was recce day, so we put a lot of mud onto the inner line of the turns and it was very difficult to calculate the brake distance and corner speed. The speed seemed to be fast even if we wanted to drive slowly.’
Did you take any risk at all? Did you get into a dangerous situation?
‘We drove by an average speed during the whole race not to get into any risky situation. I felt a bit bad for it, especially when I realized that the Polish Grzyb was coming closer and closer to me, indeed he overtook me and grabbed the second position. As a competitor, certainly I did not like it, and I was thinking of trying to fight against him, but I kept myself back for the bigger goal and finally I let him go. So, I beat myself, too.’
How do you prepare for the home leg of the European Championship?
‘I talked to my colleagues and many of them thought we did not have any chance against the top drivers. But I believe that we must try to fight. I have never been at such a race, although I have never raced without any pressure like now either. I would like to go fast and take some more risk that I took during the season. I trust in my good performance and that we can get to the top of the field. The stages were high class already last year, the best ones of the season. Although I have not gone through the regulations yet, but since now on I will have time for it and I am looking forward to seeing what I will be capable of.’