Q&A with Jan Kopecky
"It was really nice and exciting for us"
Jan Kopecký began his 2012 Intercontinental Rally Challenge campaign with a dramatic final-stage victory on Rally Islas Canarias El Corte Inglés last week. He spoke to ircseries.com at the finish in Las Palmas.
Last year you lost out by 1.5s, this year you’ve taken the victory but in such dramatic circumstances?
“We were pushing quite much on the last three stages and finally Andreas had some problems. I don’t feel so happy because we didn’t beat him by the fight but this belongs to rally and it can happen next time to me. Thanks to ŠKODA because they gave me the opportunity to be over here and thanks to my co-driver because today he improved himself a lot and did a great job.”
There was never more than a few seconds between you until that final stage. What was going through your mind when you knew Andreas had a problem and you could take the win?
“I have to say I didn’t know he had some problems. He said it seemed the engine was not running well but when he was passing us for me it seemed normal. I was pushing a lot and on the last two stages I had two big moments so I was keeping on pushing and waiting for him until he came to the finish.”
What’s it like to win again?
“Always when you are on the top it’s a great feeling. After such a big battle it’s even more better.”
You said in the penultimate service you wouldn’t give up but did you really imagine you’d win?
“Of course I wanted to win and I always said everything can happen. On the last stage you need to come back to the service. It’s the rally and you never know what will happen. Here Andreas had a problem.”
It was a great battle with you and Andreas. What was it like inside the car?
“It was really nice and exciting for us. You are much more concentrated when the battle is still going on it’s really great fun in the car. I have to congratulate Andreas because compared to last year he did a really great job.”
This is the third year in a row that ŠKODA has won in Gran Canaria. Why do you think this is?
“Because it’s ŠKODA, it’s a really good car. I must say we were working very hard from the beginning. I know the team and how they work. I did the first drives in the prototype car and from my first feeling I knew it would be a really great car.”