Interview: Freddy Loix talks about Catalonia Q: You know Spain's WRC round rather well. How would you describe it? Loix: "I missed the 2003 event when my employer of the day pulled out of the championship before the end of the season, but I...
Interview: Freddy Loix talks about Catalonia
Q: You know Spain's WRC round rather well. How would you describe it?
Loix: "I missed the 2003 event when my employer of the day pulled out of the championship before the end of the season, but I have competed in the Catalonia Rally seven times. Compared with Germany, it's more in keeping with what most see as a traditional asphalt event, with low altitude mountain passes that give the stages a much hillier feel. Compared with the Tour of Corsica, Catalonia is faster but offers less grip because the asphalt is globally more ageing. Also, the chances of rain cannot be ruled out at this time of year and that will certainly complicate the picture."
Q: It's an event on which you have often been successful in the past--
Loix: "It is effectively one of my favourite asphalt rallies and I have often gone well in Catalonia. Its stages apparently suit my feeling and driving style. I am also pleased that, as in Corsica, we will once again be able to use gravel crews to keep us updated about the state of the stages. Without them, you have to drive much more on the defensive and that's much less fun, not to mention the safety issue--"
Q: What sort of result do you believe you can achieve in Spain?
Loix: "I will be under no particular pressure since Peugeot Sport's management has left it up to me to choose my own pace. As long as we are reliable, I think I can finish on the podium. We saw in Germany that we were competitive in terms of outright speed and also that the 307 WRC has progressed. Our recent testing in Corsica was very encouraging and, especially if the going is dry, the car promises to be quite awesome--"
Q: What is it about the 307 WRC that prompts you to say that?
Loix: "The engine powerful and I think it will be able to show its full potential on the fast Catalonian stages, especially since the suspension is just as effective when it comes to transmitting that power to the ground, as well as ensuring good high speed stability. The five-speed gearbox will be also an important asset. We should also be competitive if it rains, as we showed in Germany. Personally, I hope the conditions are consistent; either all dry or completely wet--"
Q: What particular strengths does Catalonia require of drivers?
Loix: "It isn't easy to adapt your pace if the weather proves changeable, especially if you start a stage on tyres that aren't necessarily suited to the conditions. It is therefore important to be prepared psychologically to take unsettled weather in your stride and stay on the road without lifting excessively. You need to be something of a chameleon--"