WRC A FULL 2016 / 2017



Special Interview


16th March 2016

From his home in England, Antti us responds to our concerns about his views with respect to WRC, their videos and Formula 1.

What does the WRC for your life and its difference with the F1?

First of all, you shouldn’t compare these two sports. They are completely different. I think at some moment in the early 21st Century people deciding for the WRC matters thought that WRC should be a bit like F1. And that was a huge mistake, a colossal mistake. You must embrace the sport for what it is, an adventure across the landscapes. Not try to change it to some other successful formula that is completely different. I wouldn’t want WRC 24/7 in my life and neither would I want F1 24/7 in my life. You need different things in life, in sport, in everything. If F1 is a 90 minute Hollywood popcorn movie then maybe WRC is more like a three hour art film. But like I said, in life we need both and there is room for both.

Antti, so far how many videos have you done with respect to Rally?

I have honestly lost count. In the early years, starting from 2005, I did a huge amount of videos compared to today as I was just starting. Youtube wasn’t really a thing back then yet and all of those early videos are not even online anymore in any form probably. It must be somewhere around 50 rally videos alone.

Is the Rally Finland for your opinion, is the cutest of the WRC?

Well, it’s my “home rally”. There’s a lot of emotion involved when thinking about Rally Finland as its in those forests and by those lakes that I have been so often watching the rally live. But part of the charm of WRC is that there are events that are completely different. Maybe less so nowadays than in the old days, but WRC still has it and its one of its most important ingredients to have this amazing variety of landscapes, terrains and types of events. And that element should be preserved as much as possible, that’s why the name of the series is World Rally Championship. I remember when I started to follow WRC myself in the late 90s when the season would start in the icy mountains of Monte Carlo, from there move to the snowy forests of Sweden, then to the dusty Safari rally and gravel roads of Portugal, moving on to the wide and smooth tarmac roads of Catalunya which sometimes resemble more a F1 circuit than a rally stage. That’s five completely different type of events with different set of driving skills needed in each event.

What features pilot has to have a driver to win in Jyvaskyla?

Finland really highlights the importance of accurate pace notes, because there are so many blind corners over crests, blind braking areas etc. So to be fast you need to either know the roads really well or have a good pace note system. And of course a generally smooth driving style is good to have as the roads are so fast that you don’t want to lose time by going too much sideways. There’s a good example I think that illustrates these features well. Rally Finland was the weakest event in the whole WRC calendar for Colin McRae. He was an amazing driver with most natural talent of all drivers of his time probably. But Colin’s problem was that his pace notes were relatively simple compared to many other drivers in the sense that they lacked extra information. Also he liked to throw the car sideways a lot which often is not the best style in Finland. I think this was his biggest problem against succeeding in Finland. For example of the foreign drivers of his time, Richard Burns always did better than McRae in Finland. But Burns had very accurate pace notes as well as a very smooth driving style, perfect combination for Finland.

What is the video that you like best of you worked to show the skill that is in the Rally?

WRC – Four Seasons.

A brief concept of topicality of the Finnish drivers of yesterday and today in the WRC?

Well Finland has not had champions in ages. Latvala and Hirvonen have been extremely good drivers, not great, but extremely good. They have been the Barrichellos and Massas of WRC. You have to remember that between them they have seven second places in the WRC season standings. That’s an amazing achievement to have in any sport, but it also tells you that more than likely these men are not winners with a big W, Latvala still has time to grow into one of course. Also you can’t say that either of them would have ever deserved to win the Championship. If the stars had been right, they might have won the title in some seasons but that doesn’t really make a difference. Hirvonen came really close in 2009, but that year belonged to Loeb, no question. If Hirvonen had won it that year, there would have been a similar taste of a fluke like Räikkönen’s championship in F1 in 2007. But Kimi’s championship at least felt a bit like a belated Oscar win for his 2005 performance which was World Champion worthy. There are world champions and then there are World Champions. Both Loeb and Ogier belong to the latter category. They are predators, killers, winning machines if you like, born to win. You just have to look into their eyes and you see it. Ogier is the only true champion in the WRC at the moment, both on paper and in reality, the only real successor to Loeb. Grönholm was a driver like this and Tommi Mäkinen definitely was a winning predator in his time. And sometimes you don’t have to win the world championship to be World Champion, just look at Markku Alén. Now that man oozed the winning killing mentality unlike no other and at one point he held the record for most WRC wins as well as most stage wins in WRC history. But never won a world championship for some reason or another.

What is the scandinavian driver who has impressed you most, Juha Kankkunen, Henri Toivonen, Ari Vatanen, Tommi Mäkinen, Markku Alen, Hannu Mikkola, Marcus Gronholm, etc?

Everyone has impressed me in their own way. The amazing thing about the Finnish rally heroes have been that they have all been such different personalities, both on and off the stage. There is no single “winning Finnish rally driver personality”. But it’s the same with the Frenchmen, Auriol, Loeb and Ogier, all completely different characters on and off the stage. Kankkunen impressed me his absolute smoothness and his relaxed attitude, Toivonen with his pure speed, especially on tarmac, Vatanen with his views on life and amazing comeback to life after his serious injury, Mäkinen with his amazing versatility and intelligence, Markku Alén for his winning attitude that I was talking about, Mikkola for his longevity in the sport, Grönholm for many of the same reasons than Markku Alén, total winning mentality.

What can you tell us about the great time living with Toni Gardemeister by TGS Team and Fabia R5 of the Teemu Suninen?

I don’t know enough about Suninen to make a comment. I know he is a promising driver who is on the way up and that’s it.

Will the next big star of the WRC, maybe Kalle Rovanperä? What with only 15 years is dazzling all the wheel of the Fabia Super 2000 by TGS Team?

Too early to tell. It’s just best to enjoy his talents now for what they are and not start to write stories yet. To be a star or World Champion you need something more than just talent or possibility to drive rally cars all your life like Kalle Rovanperä. There are many drivers who never won a World Championship despite the talent and a lot of resources since young age. Let’s wait and see patiently and enjoy Kalle’s talent.

What do you think the project is evaluating Tommi Mäkinen do with Toyota’s entry in the 2017 WRC?

With an almost full squad from Scandinavia and observing the idea to convince Sébastien Loeb & Petter Solberg to join the Yaris WRC program in one year? Considering a third pilot finnish, Jari-Matti Latvala or Esapekka Lappi, etc?

I have a suggestion, Tommi should bring his old friends Juha Kankkunen and Carlos Sainz to develop the car. If you put those two guys to develop a car under the guidance of Tommi Mäkinen, you will have a winning car I promise you. Sainz and Kankkunen are the greatest development drivers in WRC history and it is not a coincidende that Sainz was orchestrating both Citroen’s and VW’s mega success. If you want to develop a car, call Carlos. Petter’s development skills I feel much more suspect about honestly, when he was left alone at Subaru when Mäkinen left the team, things started to get gradually worse and worse. About race pilots, it’s harder to tell and depends who is available/willing to try something new. If everyone was available then you would take Loeb and Ogier and never look back. But realistically thinking would be nice to see a young guy get a chance alongside an experienced and ultra consistent guy like Dani Sordo or maybe Hirvonen if Tommi can bring him back from retirement. It’s a waste of time to put there two number two drivers, so one strong number two like Sordo or Hirvonen and a young potential future number one in the other seat. Neuville has potential to be a number one if he gets his head back together, but at the moment he is a very rough diamond.

Can Toyota with TMR, think about cutting the current domain with Sébastien Ogier Volkswagen?

Of course. That is the attitude they must have. Otherwise what’s the point at all. Tommi Mäkinen and Toyota is such a strong combination that you would think if anyone can, they can.

Like the idea that originates the FIA, with the WRC 2017 regulatory change, with more powerful cars and lightweight aerodynamics, to qualify with similar new car to Group B of the future?

Purely from the point of view of spectacle, yes. The problem with these ideas is that they should be kept somehow cost effective that the series won’t start to lose participants. What WRC needs is consistency and strength in its rule making, not to scare people away with indecision and lack of direction. The sport needs a strong and sure pair of hands which will convince people that the series is worth trusting in. We shouldn’t compare these new regulations to Group B though. That time will never come back. You have to remember that the WRC cars have evolved so much from those days and a modern car would be a lot easier to drive with similar amounts of horse power than the Group B car had. I don’t think safety would be a problem either. It would still be pretty much as safe/dangerous as it is right now. The safety equipments of the car are at a completely different level nowadays than in the Group B days and I would say that driving a modern WRC car with Group B levels of horsepower is much more safe than driving a 1987 Group A car with 300 horsepowers. Sometimes it can actually be safer to drive when you have more power at your use, you can escape situations that you couldn’t escape with a less powerful car.

To conclude, that video has in mind with respect to rally in the short term and a small denomination, their special video Born to Race?

That is a very personal video. It is an artistic video as well and hopefully something people can relate with, but it is also a personal video. Every video I make is personal to some extent, but this was on another level in that regard. It captures my dreams in a very literal way. And they are real dreams, real ambitions and honest thoughts from inside of me. I didn’t make anything up for that video, it’s all what I thought back then and think still inside of me. I don’t expect anyone else to understand that video completely like I do because it’s so personal, but hopefully people can still find some inspiration to their own lives from it.

Thank you Pablo.

Made By Antti

FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP 2015 -WRC Finland (FIN) - WRC 30/07/2015 to 02/08/2015 - PHOTO : @World

FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP 2015 -WRC Finland (FIN) - WRC 30/07/2015 to 02/08/2015 - PHOTO : @World

FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP 2015 -WRC Finland (FIN) - WRC 30/07/2015 to 02/08/2015 - PHOTO : @World


All The Best, Pablito, Pablo MACHI WRC
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Photos: Germano Gritti / Anna Canata / Race & Motion / Italia
André Lavadinho / @World / Portugal

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