Driver Miko Marczyk gives his comment on his experience during ERC Hungary 2020!
The 4th round of the European Championship ended last week, the Hungarian Rally 2020. The Hungarian Rally is a competition with a service park located in Ny íregyh áza, while most episodes took place near Tokaj (famous for its Hungarian wines) near the border with Slovakia. This meant that despite the standard length of the rally in the European Championship of 191 km, the distance we travelled with the rally along with the access roads was nearly 1000 km.
Last year's edition showed that the rally is really demanding. This year, the organizers also prepared similar, diverse episodes for us, where the players had to show a mixture of speed, cleverness and prudence on the constantly changing surface.
Let's start over though. The rally started with a test on the Rabocsiring track. Two rally parallel racing with each other while defeating m. in. rallycross track, hopka and slip disc. At the start together we raced with Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Floene. The test was clear, the grip turned out to be easy to catch, and our ride was as fast as we could. This was one of the few moments at this rally I knew that without taking the risk we could try to record a good time. This is what happened and although the trial was not a typical special episode, the joy of ending the first short day of the competition in 1st place in the general classification of the European Championship was great.
Real racing started on Saturday morning. OS2 Ujhuta (14,5 km) as expected to be a demanding test. The first part of the episode was like the Barum-narrow Rally, places a quick road in the forest, mainly down, filled with single traps on which grip was close to zero. The end is 3 kilometres of a quick dirt section to the finish line. In the first crossing, we recorded a massive loss, which I was aware of before the competition. I knew that at this rally there would be moments when we will lose 20-30 seconds on the episode to the fastest, but I also knew that equal repetitive driving and avoiding adventures could interest a reasonable result at the finish line. Beating this episode in the second loop, however, we improved our travel time by nearly 25 seconds and although our pace on this stage was still not very good, we used the experience and loop to the loop we recorded the progress I expected.
Unfortunately, at the longest episode in the rally, OS3 Fuzer (24 km), our little troubles began at first. After the dirt part of this stage, about 13 kilometres before the finish line, there was a signal related to the overrun of the rear differential temperature. In exchange for a normal 110 degrees Celsius, the oil in our drive was 154 degrees at the highest moment. Let me honestly tell you I didn't know what to do with it. I was wondering what might happen. Will we lose the rear-drive or maybe the rear axle will suddenly block, or maybe it's worth to slow down, reach the finish line of the section, consult our service and possibly continue to drive fast on the next 2 episodes in the loop. A lot of questions about the fact that we had more than 10 kilometres of driving on a very fast asphalt batch. Ultimately we slowed down a bit, but we were driving the whole section in rally mode and the car didn't really show any signs of a slowdown however a few seconds escaped because of my uncertainty.
There was an OS4 ahead of us, short commute between episodes and the differential issue was not fully explained by us. We arrived possible close to the start, we turned off the car and the temperature dropped to about 110 degrees. The episode was clear, all asphalt, only in the last 3 km section, the organizer prepared an element of surprise for us. According to the roadbook, cuts in some corners were supposed to be closed with posts. As it turned out, none of them were set up, so there could have been a lot of mud on the road. And that's how it was in 3-4 corners, while I lost the confidence that I drove slower in the last section. This section also has an oil overheating error again, but I haven't taken it so personally. Finally, we finished the episode in 5th place in the general classification, which I consider a good result. It was the same on OS5 where we write down 9 times, while the loss to the winner is more important to us-0,97 s./ I consider km a decent result.
Next on the service between the loops we were forced to replace the rear differential. We didn't know exactly why it was overheating, so for safety, our mechanics replaced it. We had 2 differentials sealed before the rally, and the other one on which we continued the rally was prepared for wetter and difficult conditions. The characteristics of the car were more pre-drive on it, which did not exclude good driving, but it certainly was not a setup in line with our strategy.
OS 7 turned out to be groundbreaking for us - unfortunately not in our expected direction. We tried to drive a little faster and we caught a slipper on the dirtiest thing for tires. We still had about 13 kilometres to the finish line, so change was necessary. Let me tell you that I don't believe in bad luck, but it's hard for me to draw the right conclusions here and now. The organizer of the European Championship uploads the fastest crew rides on the internet and they pass through dirt fragments incredibly offensive without fear of such an event. I think they have more sense about where you really should be careful, from which angle and with what strength to invade some sharp road ranty and that's where the difference comes from. Us driving with consideration not to catch a slipper, yet we caught it. This moment was quite difficult in connection with the strategy we had for this rally. We didn't have the pace to fight for high positions at this level of my experience, and unfortunately, our argument about equal driving without problems was not used by us.
So that there won't be enough excitement before us was OS 8, my first-night episode of my life. We drove the first part decent, while the above-mentioned batch to the finish line without cutting limiting posts turned out to be very muddy in the 2 loop. What's more, at full speed, it was hard for me to determine at night where matte dark mud is on the road, and on which it's simply asphalt. In this way, the end was uncertain again, and I assessed that it would be safer to reach the finish line by losing more seconds than falling out irresponsibly.
OS 9, the second-night episode ending Saturday's competition proved to be good for us. Once again 5th place in the general classification and good satisfaction of driving. Another progress check out because driving at night alone didn't turn out to be so bad and difficult.
The last day of competition turned out to be a challenge for us. We had a minute loss to Dominik Dinkel, so at a clean pace, we couldn't race. On the other hand, I just wanted to focus on driving and making progress. In this progress, however, it would be inappropriate not to complete the rally due to the classification of the entire season of the Junior European Championship in which we fight. As you can see, a lot of thoughts again. Thoughts that occur primarily because of the lack of my certainty of riding on asphalt tires in difficult dirt and asphalt sections of the road.
While our ride was correct on the asphalt OS10/ 14, two more episodes of OS11/ 15 and OS12/ 16 we just went slow. I tried to catch a pace in the second loop on OS15 while in one of the muddy corners we started to move out of the way, which effectively took my willingness to try again. According to my current perception, the situation during the rally and the disposition of the day, I decided it would be safer to reduce the risk and we did.
Although at this rally we won a special episode in the general classification of the European Championship, we finished 2nd on the urban special episode, I faced for the first time riding at night, riding in the fog, and also really difficult conditions, I miss making progress to satisfaction in this hardest dirt and dirty parts. I know how to get there a little faster, but I feel the parallel slipper risk is very high there. Maybe just the slipper we caught a bit overwhelmed me and hence the situation. Today is only 1 day after the competition, I will probably answer this question anytime soon. I know that when we were returning to the service after the last stage I was already thinking about the Canary Islands Rally, which is our next challenge. The challenge I'm waiting for because I'd like to get back into the rally and find a way to release another speed potential that I believe is inside me.
After 4 rounds of the European Championship, we take 4th place in the Junior European Championship classification. We are 1 point behind Efren Llaren and 1 point ahead of Eric Cais. From one of the slippery routes, we are moving to one of the most griped asphalt.
Thank you very much to all my team members, as well as to you, our fans for cheering!