Who better to tell you about ERC Fafe Rally Montelongo than the driver himself!
Here is Miko Marczyks story about his adventures and experience in Portugal last weekend.
2020 is unique and demanding - both in everyday life and in our car racing. The season that was supposed to start in March with the Azores Rally began only at the end of July with the Rally of Rome. In mid-September, we were supposed to take part in the supervisor rally in the Azores, while 3 weeks before the rally the organizer informed us about the cancellation of this round. A moment later we received information that in a month we will compete in a brand new rally unknown to anyone in Portugal.
At first, we thought the rally would be dirt because it is around Fafe that the round of the WRC World Cup takes place on a loose surface. However, it was a big surprise when it turned out to be an asphalt event that was a district rally in the past. In this unpredictable season, the Fafe Montelongo Rally became the round of the European Championship.
Although such calendar changes require quick action, high flexibility and in many moments of improvisation, I was pleased with this solution. Simon and I are making our debut this year in each of the rallies. Here for the first time, the light in the tunnel lit. This time, apart from the fact that it was a new rally for us, it was also a new rally for all competitors.
After the Liepaja Rally, I knew that we took the next step in driving on the dirt, but for some time I felt stagnation related to my asphalt driving rate. In the Rally of Rome, we presented similar speed to the one we had in 2019 in the Polish Championships. After a long break, it was hard for me to jump to the next level and I really wanted to take the next step and just speed up. Unfortunately, this development never comes here and now that I would like to, and it is an accident of proper analysis (driving techniques, description, car settings) and the right mental attitude that allows me to drive freely the way I feel.
On Wednesday we had a test day before the rally. It wasn't easy at first, horses and bulls ran out in our first rides, and that didn't improve my certainty behind the wheel. The episode was technically demanding, no place for errors. Overall, although I tried hard, the speed did not appear. I tried to force her, be more decisive on brakes and bring higher speed into corners, while I lacked certainty and proper feeling. The thought that the rally will begin in 48 hours and our rally stable is located 4000 km from Portugal also convinced me that it is not worth the risk to just have something to take part in the rally 🙂
There was a test episode on Friday. Let me tell you, I was so uncertain that I didn't really want to participate. We went, however, the weather changed in every crossing, and I didn't drive so bad. The last 4 shakedown ride we beat on a wet surface turned out to be very important, and for the first time in my life I thought ′′ let it rain even harder because I feel like I have control and speed in these tricky conditions ". It was a feeling on which I've been waiting for really long. Recently I've been a little worried that this may never happen and I won't become a competitive driver when the road becomes wet and dirty. A well-set auto-Skoda Fabia Rally 2 Evo played a big role in my unlock here. The second important aspect was Szymon, who since we ride together told me to be patient and that in my own time I will learn to control in such conditions. I think he believes in me very much, which gives me great strength.
However, moving on to the most important thing - the test episode turned out to be no coincidence, and I brought well-being and hunger to compete with me for the whole weekend. On Saturday we started a rally consisting of 18 special episodes. These are 18 different adventures each of which required a special approach, understanding and proper 'controlled' improvisation. That's 18 tire-related decisions we made in the last minutes before the episode. This time I can't tell you all the stories and situations that took place because so much has happened. In the first loop we braked practically to zero to Emil Lindholm's accident, in the second loop while braking from nearly 160 km / h I blocked the wheels on moist asphalt and we had to go back to the episode, in 3 loops we were ahead of Oliver Solberg on the episode of Oliver Solberg who had a failure ... There were episodes where we had to ride for 14 kilometres on a dry surface on rainwater, and there were also those we joined on sliki, and 2 minutes before our launch a big rain began. Among many of these stories I knew one thing - I won't let go because I feel like this is going to be our good rally. We will not give up on these difficulties and no matter what happens to us on the episode, we will fight and try - I felt that this time we can.
That's how it was. Day 2 is a big fight against Eric Cais, Dominik Dinkiel and Norbert Herczig. We managed to finish it at the forefront. There is a great credit to our team who followed the weather the whole time. They did a great job. All of this together allowed us to take 2nd place in the European Junior Championships classification and 4th place in the general classification of the European Championship. Thus, this is our best result so far. We lost at the finish line 0,57 s./ km to the winner Alexey Lukyanuk and 0,2 s./ km to the podium in general classification. This is in my analysis, definitely more than one step towards faster asphalt ride. This weekend, although very mentally demanding for me, is a rally dream come true and gaining a new big faith in our possibilities.
After 3 rounds of the European Championships, we are 3nd in the European Junior Championships classification and 5th place in general classification.
Let me tell you that I love what I do, although sometimes I think it requires too much from me. However, when I survive such a difficult moment, the satisfaction of completing the task compensates for every such moment.
Greetings to you and thank you for your support, numerous comments and faith in our possibilities,