Interview with Martin Prokop before Rally Argentinia 2014 in his JipoCar Racing Headquater
We were following you since few years on the WRC (Germany, Poland, Sardegna, Sweden) and see the big enthusiasm from the Czech Fans. Spurs you this big support from the FANS?
The Czech Fans come very often to all the WRC events. But you can see also much drivers from Czech Republic, who come to visit us on the events. The number of drivers and fans are huge compare to the size of your country. So we see on your own that rally sport is really famous. We like the sport, the fans from Czech wants to support us. You see this on the Czech Flags which are placed on the stages. On rally’s like Germany, Sardinia and Poland you can see really much – very big support. In the time of Kresta and Kopecky and I was drove ion Junior WRC was amazing numbers of Czech Fans. This is nowadays still big on Sardinia, Finland and Germany.
You are a real private team in the WRC. Do you get support from Ford?
Ford Main Company is not support generally the sport. We are happy that our Ford Czech importer support us, want to show the company (Ford) in motorsport and working with us together. On this point we are happy to have the Ford logo on the car and do it like it should be normally. The car manufactory supporting the motorsport. It is something special, but we have it.
How is your liaison to the “factory” teams and drivers?
Important contact for us is M-Sport, to have support from them, with and technical support. That is much important to have a relationship with M-Sport. The other teams is not possible and necessary to speak with them, because there are focusing on their own targets. With all the drivers we are speaking together on reece and so one, like here on national rally’s in Czech Republic.
How can you managed all the organisation and transport things for mainly the complete WRC season?
That is a better question for Quirin, for sure. It is a logistical problem, but Quirin doing this job. Out real big problem was, then we doing the P-WRC and J-WRC together, where we travelling around the world and managed more races then now with WRC. Today the doing only WRC with 2 cars and 2 groups of mechanics. For sure we have experience from the past. Before Quirin this job was doing my sister. The experience is in our house. It is good for us to know, what to do.
Which target you have for the 2014 season?
The target is still the same. We see, if we drive safety and same speed is ok and we can do nice results. But we can more, that we can go faster and try some other driving style like on the test yesterday (Test before Rally Argentina). We must show the more speed on the race, that is the aim.
We want to improve, lower time lost per km on big guys, to be closer to the best 4. At the end of last season we show a good speed, so we must be back on this point. We want lose less than 1 sec/km. It is not going as fast as we want. I have sometimes problem to have a good feeling on faster driving with our car.
You drive since many years in the WRC. Where are from your point of view the best stages, most enthusiasm fans,…?
Finland is generally great, which all drivers like. All depending on conditions of stages, it is nice ones Portugal is good too, but this year was not nice – it was like Monte-Carlo, so you never known how much grip you have in this corner and the next ones.
Some stages in Sardinia, Spain and Germany are also nice to drive.
The big enthusiasm fans are in Poland (2014 again like 2009), Argentina, Sardinia and the biggest support is on Alsace (Rallye de France). This round is only there because of full of fans, but bad rally from the stages where you have no good rhythm and fluent). Rally Germany is a nice event with difficult stages with junction blind corners – so a very special event in the vineyards. France Alsace has nothing special from stages / region when you compared it of the times, when it was on Corse.
The WRC technique is very complicated and expensive. Do you see a possibility, to use a NEW car with cheaper technique?
For us this is the cheapest way how it can be. The previous WRC cars was absolutely not possible to run. The reason was high price of the technique and very high prices. It was a good job from the FIA to change the rules to the NEW kind of cars. It can’t be cheaper, because it is a racing car and it must be the best rally car in the world.
The costs are on the best level as it can be. For this we are happy to stay in the World Rally Championship.
On which events we will see your new team mate from Slovakia?
We have real no idea which one he choose. On the beginning he planned also some gravel events, then only tarmac rally’s – now he decided to drive Rally Sardinia. Let’s see how he do it further. We will do some small test with him beforethis rally, because he never driving on gravel.The other rounds he will decided after the event.
Which is your favourite rally car? Historic one?
Generally I have a few car which is my favourite:
– Toyota Corolla WRC
– Lancia Delta Integrale
– Ford Escort Group A ’94 (because I saw it on the stages when I was a child)
And on Historic site: Audi Quattro (the most impressive car for me on Group B Era)
How is your fitness program looking?
I have no real big program. The main thing is that here experience is helping you much. So you must learn how to save the energy for your body and not block on the brain and muscles. On the straight you can little bit relax, prepare for corners. At the beginning of WRC it was sometimes problem, e.g. in Sardinia or Greece, how to deal with the much high temperatures and rough conditions of the stages. I must adapt it from the Czech Rally to the WRC Rally.
The Czech Rally is on a big crisis. What should be changed, that the sport will be revalued?
It is always difficult. The thing which happened here it was not that someone wants driving crazy or doing something crazy. These accidents just happened, but in a very short of time.
We can not say that we change this or this, that the rally will be safer. Everybody must be good, like the spectators and behave seriously. On my mind, there is no real idea how they can do it safer, but if everybody behave by the rules and he is intelligently to think more how rally car can do.