16 March 2007
PWRC: Q&A: Mark Higgins - EXCLUSIVE.
I think you need to get a comfortable pace and keep going and try and stay away from problems. It is a rally similar in its own way to Mexico but rougher. Like Mexico, when we did the recce, it seems very smooth, but there are these harsh compressions that really knock the car about. Punctures are always going to be a real problem when you are not running mousse [in the tyres] too. So that for me is something you have got to look out for. You have got to get a good clean consistent run, have no problems with the car and then hopefully you get some good points.
Of course as well as doing the PWRC this season, I understand you are also going to be defending your title in the BRC and doing the Irish tarmac championship, a packaged scheduled by all accounts.
We are very lucky this year. That is one of the reasons we are not doing Argentina. It is actually one of the events I really like and I have always gone very well there. But that clashes with Killarney and then we have got the BRC starting with the Pirelli.
So, there are quite a lot of things going on at the moment. You think you have got nothing in December and then suddenly it all turns around and we are doing three championships. We have got a very, very full and packed year with a Group N Subaru [in the BRC], a Group N Mitsubishi [in the PWRC] and a World Rally Car Subaru [in the ITC]. So it is just about remembering which car you are in when you get on the start line! [laughs]
Will all that extra experience help to keep you match fit then or is there a danger of burning out?
There is a bit of both. I am doing a lot of testing as well, because I am Pirelli's test driver, so that keeps me very busy and especially now they have got the contract for next year. But you can do too much.
The one thing that doesn't help with Group N or the WRC is going between the two cars, because they are very, very different to drive and if you are not careful you end up driving them both 95 per cent, as opposed to driving one of them 100 per cent. But if we can get a bit of testing in before the rallies, we can hopefully overcome that.
Will the experience in the Irish Tarmac Championship help for Rally Ireland?
Yeah it should do, but obviously we are doing it in a WRC car. It would have been nice to do Rally Ireland at the end of the year in a WRC car but it is obviously a round of the Production Cup. I have always done quite well on the Irish tarmac though and hopefully that should be a strong event for us. Nobody knows a lot about it that is coming over to it for the PWRC and so we are looking forward to that. Then we have Rally GB to finish with.
Generally speaking, what are your thoughts on the state of the WRC this year?
It would be nice to have more manufacturers in there, but from our side, the PWRC is very healthy at the moment. There are twenty or so cars in there.
Going back to the top level though, Ford is dominating it. It is pretty much a one-make championship with all the Focus WRC cars, which is fantastic for M-Sport.
But it would be nice to see some more manufacturers and some more opportunities for the young guys. These guys are committing and investing into the championship and there is no where to go unfortunately, unless you have £2-3 million behind you. It is getting very difficult. Maybe they need to look at Super 2000 or a different formula. I don't know. It is very hard to say.
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