Interview with Vladas Jurkevičius about last weekend in Southern Estonia
Tell us about the process of choosing a new car. Why Škoda, SRT as a service team, and so on.
The Škoda Fabia R5 is the most popular car in the entire R5 class. At the same time, to our knowledge, it is the most reliable, which is why this car was chosen. The speed is similar in all R5 cars, and the differences are so small that they practically fade in front of the differences in driver skill. Anyway, the Škoda Fabia R5 Evo and the VW Polo R5 seem to be the fastest. I chose SRT for two things – first of all, they have many years of experience with the Škoda Fabia R5, they have traveled countless kilometers with N. Gryazin and at the same time, they have a lot of spare parts for this car. This means that we do not need anything extra in addition to the car itself, because spare parts for such cars are very expensive.
You mentioned that the transition from R2 technique to R5 is extremely easy. Is the transition on ice / snow as easy as on gravel?
The transition to the snow is more difficult. To put it very roughly, with the R2 in the winter, it was important that only the front wheels ride in the ruts. The end doesn’t matter where. With the R5, all 4 wheels need to be in ruts, which requires even more accuracy. More precision and even higher speeds mean that everything needs to be reacted even faster, so in winter it is really not easy to drive fast with the R5.
What is so special about the Estonian roads you raced this weekend?
The Otepaa region has a lot of jumps and turns through them, making the special stages very difficult. Especially in winter, when it is very important to drive exactly in the line. We do not have anything like that in Lithuania. Here, the accuracy of the pacenotes is especially important, so it was a very good workout.
How Otepaa Talveralli was for You? What worked out, what didn’t go well, maybe there were some adventures?
The start was a little harder than we expected. We had tests before the rally and drove really fast in them, but it was pretty scary in the first stages of this rally. I knew I could drive faster, we also wrote the pacenotes very well, so the confidence that came after several special stages allowed me to drive much faster. In the last two speed sections, we were only about 1s / km behind the R5 leaders, but we were still driving carefully and making minor mistakes. It is very gratifying because I can see perfectly where the other 1s / km lies. We finished the rally in a really good mood.
What are your plans and goals for next season?
This rally was a training session before the WRC Arctic Rally Finland 2 weeks later. So far we are focused on the upcoming rally and then we will see. We have a plan to run the whole Lithuanian and Estonian championships, and maybe a few more surrounding stages of the ERC or WRC, but we will see how this year unfolds. The goal is simple – to drive as fast as possible.