Max Vatanen Q&A

Max Vatanen Q&AFrom General Article [ 03/07/2014 ].
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Vatanen talks: Fresh from Rally Poland, we caught up with Max Vatanen as he prepared for Rally Estonia…

Max, did you enjoy Rally Poland?
"Well, of course every rally is enjoyable, but at the same time Poland was a little bit frustrating for me. It took us too long to find the pace that we needed; it was a very tricky rally in that respect. So there were some high points, but in the end I feel we could have done better. We finished fourth, bit a podium is what I was looking for."

You set fastest time by 37 seconds on SS19 in Poland. How did you do it?
"I don't know really! But at the time I knew that the time would be good: we were really pushing to the limit in that long stage - it was the longest stage of the rally - and there was no way we could have gone any faster. I had a nice feeling, but I need to find that more often. It's good to prove that we have the pace: now we need to do this more consistently."

How tough was Rally Poland?
"Unbelievably tough. We were running towards the back of the field, with the World Rally Cars in front, and by the time we got to the stages they were so rough and cut-up. There were some ruts that were as big as the car and changes of grip all the time: you had to be so careful not to make any mistakes."

In Estonia you'll be doing your second European Rally Championship round of the year, after Ypres: how was that?
"I don't have much experience of asphalt, so the idea behind doing Ypres was to get some asphalt experience before Germany. And now I'll be doing Estonia in order to get some more gravel experience before Finland. Part of the reason why it took me so long to find the right pace in Poland was because I hadn't driven the car a lot on gravel immediately before the rally. So by doing Estonia, I hope I can find the winning feeling that I need straight away in Finland."

How are you finding the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy so far?
"It's every bit as competitive as I thought it would be. At the moment I'm sixth in the championship with three events to go, so there is everything to play for. But I'm not targeting winning the championship in my first year. This year is all about learning: all of the rallies are new to me. Then we will build on what we learn in future."

What are you up to at the moment, before Estonia?
"Actually it's quite a busy period. I'm getting my car back from the south of France, where it is at the moment, to be prepared for Estonia. Then we have a few preparations to make for that event. But I hope that I can get a few days off to go to our summer house and chill out in the sauna: that's a very important part of life for any Finnish person!"