An interview with Latvian Ivo Pūkis, who got an opportunity to visit Portugal and do some rallying with Paulo Ferreira
Is it was your first rally so far away from the Baltic States? How was it?
Previously there was a tradition to end the rally season in great Lausitz Rally in Germany. In 2020 our crew with Janis Vorobjovs won Overall 1st place in Fivemiletown Samsonas Rally in Ireland with Samsonas Motorsports BMW M3X.
This year yes, it was the first rally of 2021 and already in Portugal. It is good to see a country a little bit and to enjoy doing what I like – do a rally.
How did You deal with English pacenotes?
Good, It was not so problematic, I prepared before the rally and I know English very well because I do communicate in English practically every day. Of course, this not my native language, and it’s good that we had a small test before the rally. I already did more than 100 rallies, so I have quite a lot of experience and I can concentrate at work practically in every language I know 😊
What was the background story of going to Portugal with Paulo?
I get to know Paul thanks to Martynas Samsonas and his brilliant Samsonas Rally Rokiškis, where Paul was a guest driver. We became good friends and when coming to have rallied in Europe, Paul asked me and I was happy to help him as a codriver.
How was the atmosphere in Portugal?
There are two top sports in Portugal – Football and Rally. People love rally and despite fact that spectators were not allowed to stages, I saw quite a lot of people and photographers. Also, rally people are very friendly all over the world, including Portugal, because we fight not to each other, but time 😊 Service park and parc ferme were in the center of the city, so quite a lot of local public also saw the cars. There were also a lot of different cars, starting from small 2wd cars, to top R2, R4, R5, and even Dakar cars!
Did You like the stages?
Yes, the stages were good, we did 2 stages 3 times. Each stage was 10 km. The first stage was very technical with lots of following turns, the second stage was faster and more similar to the Baltic state’s stages.
Can You tell the biggest similarities and differences between the Baltic countries and Portugal in terms of rally?
Good competition and friendly competitors are the biggest similarities. Rally in Portugal is taking place on mountain roads, so there is not much of a place for a mistake. Nobody would like to repeat J.M.Latvala’s mistake and 60 rolls down the mountain. That’s why the pace is a little bit slower. Also, the gravel is different and lots of stones, so need to follow the line and try not to get offroad. I can be only proud of representing the Baltic state rally community as all over the world people know and respect fast Baltic rally drivers!
When is Your next start?
Everything in recent activities is limited due to the current situation. I hope to do the next rally with Janis in Latvian or Lithuanian championships when possible. But we are not building huge plans, because it is important to keep an eye on the business and look when it is possible to do the racing. We should also look at the competition, as there might be a problem with drivers in some classes.
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Photos – Zé Miguel MotorSport Photography, Luís Filipe Ferreira, Domingos Sport Competição