by Rob Wilkins
TO HEAR THE INTERVIEW IN FULL WITH CONRAD RAUTENBACH: CLICK HERE
Conrad Rautenbach made the step up to the top level this year in the World Rally Championship - and while the first half of the year was something of a rollercoaster ride for the former JWRC driver, there were still a lot of positives. Crash.net Radio
caught up with the 2007 FIA African Rally champion recently and spoke to him about the year to date...
Conrad, we are halfway through the year now, what has it been like competing in the World Rally Championship in a Citroen
C4 WRC car?
It has been fantastic. It is a great opportunity for me. The beginning of the year was quite difficult but it has been getting better and better. I have had a nice break now and I can't wait to get going again.
You started the year with the Xsara WRC before switching to the C4 WRC in Mexico. How big a learning curve has it been because last year of course you were competing in the Junior WRC?
Obviously it is a huge learning curve with a WRC car. It takes time to find out what they can do and what they are capable off. We haven't had that much testing but we have been able to do all of the events this year, which is great. We are trying to treat it as a learning year. But it is quite a big step. We have made a few mistakes. However I have enjoyed it. It seems to be getting better and better all the time and the car is getting better too.
I think it is fair to say there have been plenty of ups and downs. I assume the highlights are those points' finishes in Argentina and Turkey?
Exactly - when we have been able to stay out of trouble we have been able to do okay. We have had a few problems. But like I said it is getting better and better. I am getting more comfortable with the car. I am really looking forward to the second half of the season because we have done most of the rallies before in the Juniors and so we have the pace-notes already. That should be a big help.
You were fourth in Argentina - that must have been quite a surprise?
It was fantastic for me and for the team because we were battling a bit before it. It was really unexpected. It was a very difficult rally and we managed to get through it without any problems and it paid off. It was nice for everyone in the team.
What was the biggest low?