After a busy start to the World Rally Championship season, the drivers and teams now have almost two months off without a rally.
Standing still simply isn’t an option in professional sport so there’s no chance that a six-week holiday is now on the cards for the world’s finest rally drivers. But equally, with the season intensifying post-Croatia, this is a good time for a bit of a break.
So what are the WRC drivers going to get up to over the next month-and-a-bit? For a bit of fun, Colin Clark asked them all at the end of last weekend’s Rally Sweden to find out exactly that.
You might think that plans would be similar given they’re all like-minded individuals who love rallying, but as you’re about to discover, the world’s best have very different ideas when it comes to spending time off.
“I will be following my brother this weekend who is doing a historic rally in Belgium and I will be following with the helicopter which is always nice, and other than that it will be a bit of testing, preparation, a few days off at home as well and yeah, I’m sure I’m going to find something to do. That’s never missing.”
“Hopefully nothing related to rally at least! Just a bit of holiday and that’s always good.”
We quite often see you in your drift car, have the team stopped you from doing that or are you still allowed to go drifting?
“No they are not really stopping me, I think it’s always quite clear also it’s always good to drive anything you can and like sometimes I do drifting and stuff and I think it’s really good training for handling of the car and stuff, so there shouldn’t be any issue to do those things also.”
“I’ve not planned anything yet, I was so concentrated on this event [Sweden]. But definitely how we can prepare is go through very deeply let’s say the debrief of last year of the event from our team, check the onboards, check the let’s say not pacenotes but check some info about the slippery places if the other guys can share these things.
“And all these kind of things. But to drive? I don’t know.”
“For sure it’s very important to keep concentration and you know like focus, but sometimes you really need to do less, especially WRC season you have really a long time [on rallies] and you have tests and you have not much at home. So this time is only we have one month in the season, so I try to spend time with family, do a bit less and then end of March maybe start to focus more.”
Will you go back to Japan with the family?
“Maybe not this time, I stay in Finland and my small baby son is four months old so he needs to get used to Finnish temperature.”
And your wife probably needs some rest so you’re going to have to do some work!
“Yeah exactly [for] that I’m a bit nervous!”
“I will spend time with the family. I will enjoy that.”
Can I ask you about your Telletubies gardening? You said you were going to build an incredible feature in your garden for your children, how is that coming on?
“It’s still a long time away from Teletubbies.”
Can we see it when it’s finished?
“I had a small training camp at home with my co-driver this week just for fun. And then probably a lot of testing and then, we’ll see what we can do. But there will be a lot of things going on.”
Will you look to do any small events to keep the eye in?
“What car should I use? I don’t have one!”
You have lots of cars!
“Yeah but not the right brand! But anyway, I think no. Maybe we do some go-karting or some track driving. All practice is good practice. We just need to work a little bit more than everyone else, both as a team and as drivers.”
“We’ve got a bit of time off. I’m spending quite a bit of time in London with my trainer over the next month, three days a week in London and the rest back in Manchester, just training.
“It’s a very busy period of the season so now I’ve got a month off, I don’t really want to sit on my arse and do nothing. So keeping myself training.”
“I’ll have a holiday next week. It’s the first time I’ve been on a holiday where I’ve packed my bag and put only holiday stuff inside and not rally stuff I’d say in about 10 years. So I’m looking forward to that.”