An interview with Mārtiņš Sesks about his season so far and coming to third Latvia Rally Championship round Rally Cesis
In your two previous ERC rallies, you start with a Rally2 Škoda Fabia rally car. In Cesis 2022 you came back in well known Rally2-KIT car with Proracing Rally Team. What is the reason for this and what is the difference between these two cars?
Well, it‘s easy to answer. Together with a Proracing Rally Team, we have got some ideas on how to set a car for fast and twisty roads combined, and our target is to find out how we handle it. I know Latvian roads specifically. Proracing Rally Team has got prepared new gravel dampers settings to test and drive in Cesis. Generally, Rally2 and Rally2-KIT cars are the same levels of performance, just Rally2-KIT car has got less engine power and less top speed. In my opinion mainly until 160km/h both cars accelerate, brake, and handle identically. Both cars have got plenty of setups. Possible to change dampers, springs, roll-bars, angles, geometrical measurements, engine maps, and many other things. The most pleasing thing is that Rally2-KIT car reacts very well even to the smallest changes and this is very nice to feel it. The biggest difference is the running cost of these two cars. Rally2-KIT car exploitation is more than twice cheaper than Rally2. This argument is remarkable because with the same budget I could drive double mileage.
Martin, share your personal experience with Rally2-KIT car. How do you value your steps in ERC this year?
This year our target was to drive 4WD car and gain as much experience as possible in ERC as well. 2022 season we started with training in Lapland and later compete in the Sarma Rally. After the Sarma Rally, I totally understand that Rally2-KIT car is the right selection to start in ERC. We drive 3 events in ERC with a Rally2-KIT car and gain a lot of useful experience on gravel and find a way to be competitive against Rally2 drivers at the same time. All three events and 3 victories in ERC OPEN category let me start to think about Rally2 car selection for the home event in Liepaja and rest events as well. I was so delighted to use my gained experience and push hard with Škoda Fabia Rally2 for a win. All decisions which I made this year were well measured and correct.
You talk that experience in rallying is very important. What kind of experience is the most important?
Personally, for me, it’s very important to understand car behavior and expect car reactions when I push maximum. Understanding road surface grip, braking, and handling limits are important. With Rally2-KIT car this feeling come quickly and just after a few tests, I was able to build my confidence and drive as fast as I can myself. Proracing Rally Team provided me with car with a great setup. I needed just to adjust a few things for a comfortable ride.
As a driver, you worked with many teams and people. Rally2-KIT car which you driving this season is built in Lithuania. Is it important for you to work with a team that knows a car from scratch?
Yes, definitely this was an advantage for me, as a young driver. All Proracing Rally Team understands their cars very well and offered me full service of settings and development at the same time. Every person took care of my driving and car performance as well. They are professionals and their attitude gives me an opportunity to drive a lot of kilometers and let me go in the right direction. The team has got huge experience in ERC and worked with many top-level drivers during these years. Always a pleasure to visit a clean service zone, and their casual work standards are high.
From this conversation is clear that Proracing Rally Team build a good quality product and you helped them to show a car performance. Am I right?
Yes, the car is good and my driving is good as well. I trust both team and the car and I can push for the maximum. Reliability is the most important thing nowadays because rallies are challenging. As I know Proracing Rally Team developing two Rally2-KIT cars and documenting 5000ss km mileage database. They are working at the same level as the factory Škoda motorsport team. Despite that, I was impressed with more than 20 different prepared car settings and adaptation options for various racing events and specifications. They are seriously looking at this point in any case.
It was a pleasure to have an interesting conversation with you. I wish you the best of luck in the Cesis rally and what would be your final word for spectators and rivals who will be in rally next weekend?
Thank you, I try to enjoy the rally weekend and implement our targets. I hope we will manage to be competitive with N4, Proto, and Rally2 cars and make a nice battle for spectators at the same time.
Photos – Proracing, Josef Petru, Maciej Niechwiadowicz