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Stephane Sarrazin, MINI John Cooper Works - Q&A

11 May 2013

Stephane Sarrazin, who raced just once in F1 in 1999 but who has a strong record of success in the Le Mans 24 Hours, is making his ERC d├ębut on Tour de Corse in a MINI John Cooper Works.

Q:
How did the agreement to drive the MINI come together?

Stephane Sarrazin:
"It was quite late. I was racing in Spa when I got a call from Willy Collignon from First Motorsport, who I know from when we won the French championship together in 2004. I had to get permission from Toyota, which I will drive for in the Le Mans 24 Hours. It has been a very quick experience but a very positive one because I like these very tricky roads with not a lot of straight lines, only corners. I have a very good car and a very good team so I hope I can do something good."

Q:
What experience do you have of the MINI?

Stephane Sarrazin:
"I have none but I will drive the car on Monday for the first time. It is only one day but it is good enough to learn the car."

Q:
Last year you drove the Peugeot 208 R2 as the zero car on Tour de Corse. Will that help you next week?

Stephane Sarrazin:
"It will help a lot because I did the full rally distance and the recce last year. Even though I was in the zero car, I pushed like I was doing the rally. It was a very good help for me, it was perfect, although I obviously didn't know then that I would be doing the rally again in a car that can win."

Q:
What's your aim for the rally?

Stephane Sarrazin:
"I'm going for the win. The last rally I did was the French championship Rallye du Mont-Blanc last year in a Peugeot 207. I won the rally and I have been in Corsica with Subaru three times and finished eighth, sixth and fourth. The car I have won the rally last year so I have no excuse although it will be difficult against drivers like Robert Kubica and Jan Kopecky. He has very good experience here and is fast everywhere. It will be a very good fight."

Q:
How difficult is it to switch from racing to rallying?

Stephane Sarrazin:
"They are so different. An LMP1 car or an LMP2 car are very close but this is day and night. I have experience of both and I am doing a lot of tests with Michelin in rallying so I am quite regular although maybe it can be a bit difficult with the pacenotes at the beginning. But I plan to push myself and be on the pace."

Q:
As a driver what is the biggest challenge you face on the rally?

Stephane Sarrazin:
"It's to avoid touching any concrete on the side of the road. It's so narrow, with narrow bridges and it's easy to touch a wheel, make a small mistake and have a very big effect. There are also some old roads that are very bumpy, it's a very particular and difficult rally."


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