An interview with Martins Sesks about Rally Sarma and his time in Škoda Fabia Rally2-kit
Tell us about a weekend in northern Latvia. How were the roads, atmosphere, mood, and expectations?
Roads around Gulbene are always fun to drive, this year, too. Frozen road, snowbanks somewhere higher than the car… I didn’t really expect much from myself, I considered the race more like a learning experience, where I can collect data about my driving and the car itself.
Škoda Fabia Rally2-kit. As I know, You were on this project for some time. How this car is for You? Where do you find its strength or weakness? How it‘s evolving?
I have been around since last summer, but proper test sessions started just this year. For me, as a driver who starts learning 4WD cars, it is really useful, to begin with, Rally2-kit, because of the following reasons like competitive costs compared to Rally2. I can drive at least 2x more with the same budget. And for gaining experience there is no better option than this.
For sure when getting used to the car and when you want to compete with others, power is a bit of a weakness, but from the other perspective – you have to drive on the limit with perfect lines and push the car to the maximum, you can make yourself a better driver.
Tell us about your relationship with ProRacing.
Proracing and me, we both share the same ambitions – to be the best in the field. That makes our relationship highly professional and focused.
The stages times improved in the second pass. Does it mean you got more comfortable in the car or maybe you changed car setups in service zone?
For sure, I had 3 test days starting from zero experience with this car. Every kilometer teaches me new things. As stapling up from FWD categories, when even if you are fastest, you never start higher on the road than 20th in national and around 50th in WRC rallies. Well, driving 1st pass on a fresh road was a bit new to me, and making my own lines and grip was incredible. On the 2nd pass, I was feeling more comfortable with the car, and road conditions were more familiar to my experience. Even though my pace notes change a lot now driving with a faster car, maybe that was also a small struggle on the 1st pass.
Do you have certain goals to achieve in Rally Sarma?
Our goal was to get the data on my performance with this car in a competitive event. Testing is a completely different story than race.
How was the transition from front-wheel-drive Fiesta to AWD Fabia?
Things are happening much faster in this car, but thanks to a solid experience with FWD cars switching to 4WD was easier. Simply you have to drive faster and brake later.
How do you feel on snow/ice covered roads?
This surface is really my all-time favorite. Because of consistent grip and snowbanks. It means you can push more than on other surfaces. Snowbanks will be saving you!
Is there any possibility to see you again in Škoda Fabia Rally2-kit?
Everything is possible. For now, we had a deal for the winter season only. It was crucial to see how the car and team are working. And they in turn wanted to see my performance. I think everyone got happy, that can possibly mean more rallies in the future with Škoda Fabia Rally2-kit.
Photos – Jānis Asaris, Alfonsas Rakauskas, Raimonds Volonts