FIA ERC Junior Championship driver quotes (post-event) SATA Rallye Açores, Round 3 of 6, 4-6 June 2015

Mattias Adielsson (SWE) Born: 11 May 1991 Car: Peugeot 208 R2 Co-driver: Christoffer Bäck (SWE) 5th
“It’s been such a crazy rally, with so many things happening. I misheard a pace note on the Qualifying Stage and didn’t hear ‘tightens’ and hit a wall. We tried to be steady after that, but when the suspension broke on the way to SS12, we decided to drive flat out on the final day. The car was sideways everywhere, but it wouldn’t go straight anyway! It was hot in the car, especially for a Swede, but we are pleased to finish fifth.”

Jon Armstrong (GBR) Born: 11 December 1994 Car: Peugeot 208 R2 Co-driver: Noel O’Sullivan (IRL) DNF
“We haven’t got a great deal of experience on gravel, only the British rally championship in 2013 and a few local rallies, so we were enjoying our run in the Azores. Unfortunately we had to pull over on the second run through Sete Cidades, because the engine was starting to overheat.”

Emil Bergkvist (SWE) Born: 17 June 1994 Car: Opel Adam R2 Co-driver: Joakim Sjöberg (SWE) 4th
“Even in these difficult conditions, we and the Adam R2 were again very quick. Of course we would like to have finished second, but we did almost 50 kilometres with just two gears and had a puncture on last stage. Fourth is not what I wanted, but I am still happy, because it is good points for us in the championship. It was the first time in the Azores for me, and to have experience here is a big advantage, because the stages in the Azores are not like any other.”

Emīls Blūms (LVA) Born: 28 May 1992 Car: Ford Fiesta R2 Co-driver: Reinis Vilsons (LVA) 7th
“Rallye Açores was a very interesting event and a very good experience for us. In the early stage I didn’t know when to brake and we were on the outside of the corners many times, but the more stages we did the better it felt. We lost a front wheel on the second superspecial stage and had to drive to service on three wheels. The team did a fantastic job to repair the car and we are very pleased to have reached the finish.”

Gino Bux (BEL) Born: 11 August 1990 Car: Peugeot 208 R2 Co-driver: Eric Borguet (BEL) 6th
“The only gravel rally I have done is Azores last year. It’s such a long time ago, it was like doing my first gravel rally again. It was really difficult, and I couldn’t imagine how much I would need to discover driving on gravel again. The first three stages on Thursday were a disaster, but then I began to regain my confidence and we improved all the time. Last year in the Azores I finished on the podium, but this year the competition was so much stronger.”

Diogo Gago (PRT) Born: 7 August 1991 Car: Peugeot 208 R2 Co-driver: Jorge Carvahlo (PRT) 2nd
“I had a fantastic week. A big thank you to everyone at the Peugeot Rally Academy for their hard work on the 208 R2. After my mistake on Sete Cidades, I focused on not making any more errors. I used the last day to try to move up the leaderboard and I’m very proud to have come second because it was a tough fight. The level in the ERC Junior is very high and I am pleased with this result on my home event. It’s a big confidence booster ahead of the next round in Ypres where the stages promise to be even harder.”

Marijan Griebel (DEU) Born: 18 May 1989 Car: Opel Adam R2 Co-driver: Stefan Clemens (DEU) DNF
“On day one we had one spin and hit a bank, but my second gravel rally went well after that and we improved a lot. On the final day we set a fastest time on Tronqueira; that stage was not so fast, so it was not so risky for me to push. We were having a lot of fun, the confidence was there and the Adam R2 was working great. Then, just two kilometres from the finish of the final stage, we broke a driveshaft. We pushed the car to the finish, but we quickly realised that it would not be possible to drive the 60 kilometres back to Ponta Delgada, so we had to retire. But at least we finished all the stages and it was a very good experience for us.”

Vasily Gryazin (RUS) Born: 11 November 1993 Car: Peugeot 208 R2 Co-driver: Dmitry Lebedik (RUS) DNF
“I like the Azores stages, but we slipped off the road a little bit on SS3. Without spectators, we couldn’t get back on and lost so much time that we handed our time card in at the end of the day. That was the wrong decision, as leg one continued the following day, and we had to wait until the final day to restart with Rally 2.”

Chris Ingram (GBR) Born: 7 July 1994 Car: Peugeot 208 R2 Co-driver: Gabin Moreau (FRA) 1st
“We came here to win, and I’m delighted with not only our result, but our overall performance throughout the three days of competition. Even when we had a massive off on the Sete Cidades stage, as soon as we knew we didn’t have a puncture, we were flat out again. I really had a lot of confidence in myself and the car to push hard on every stage. The night before the final day of competition was awful, as I was up all night with food poisoning. I really didn’t think I was going to be able to start the next morning, because I felt so weak. But I kept on pushing and I’m absolutely delighted to win in the Azores. I want to thank my dad for getting me here and for Peugeot UK for having belief in me. This victory is for them. This win is the start of a new beginning of success.”

Łukasz Pieniążek (POL) Born: 19 September 1990 Car: Peugeot 208 R2 Co-driver: Jakub Gerber (POL) DNF
“The conditions were very hard. At the beginning of the second run through Sete Cidades we damage the suspension, but we fought on. Next we had a problem with gearbox. Finally, at one of the braking points on SS11, we hit a wall, losing a bumper and damaging the radiator and we had to retire.”

Steve Røkland (NOR) Born: 14 June 1992 Car: Peugeot 208 R2 Co-driver: James Aldridge (GBR) 3rd
“I’m quite pleased to finish third. I was hoping for second place, but Diogo Gago has driven very well and we picked up a puncture on the final stage too. We had a small overshoot on the final morning, which cost us 10 seconds, but I hadn’t driven the car at all for six weeks, so I am happy to finish on the podium in the Azores, as it is such a difficult event.”

Ralfs Sirmacis (LVA) Born: 29 May 1994 Car: Peugeot 208 R2 Co-driver: Artūrs Šimins (LVA) DNF
“It was the first time in the Azores for us and we were going well until we hit a rock on SS11. It squashed the exhaust and the engine refusing to rev over 3,000rpm, costing us seven minutes. Then, on the first stage of the final day, we slipped off the road. The car was undamaged, but there were no spectators and we couldn’t get back on.”

Florin Tincescu (ROU) Born: 8 April 1993 Car: Peugeot 208 R2 Co-driver: Sergiu Itu (ROU) DNF
“Crashing out was definitely not the result I wanted from SATA Rallye Açores, especially after doing the same in 2013, but that’s the way it is! We went out of the road and I was dangling in the only place where there were no spectators. I still have some unfinished business here, and I will return next year. Until then, thank you Azores, you have been wonderful again!”

Aleks Zawada (POL) Born: 31 March 1992 Car: Peugeot 208 R2 Co-driver: Cathy Derousseaux (POL) DNF
​“It was a very difficult and gruelling rally, played out in truly amazing scenery. The Sete Cidades stage around the volcano is probably one of the most beautiful stages in the world. I am very glad to have had the chance to race on those stages. We made steady progress, with a good pace and no problems, and had climbed from eleventh to sixth position. Unfortunately, three stages before the end, we suffered a small technical problem and did not reach the finish line.”