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ERC: Kevin Abbring, Peugeot – Q&A

Peugeot's Kevin Abbring looks ahead to the Acropolis Rally of Greece, the next round in the FIA European Rally Championship, where he will pilot the new 208 T16...
Along with Peugeot Rally Academy team-mate Craig Breen, highly-rated Dutchman Kevin Abbring is one of two drivers charged with giving Peugeot's 208 T16 its FIA European Rally Championship debut on the Acropolis Rally in Greece next week. Here he looks ahead to that event and talks about his return to the international scene...


Q:
Kevin, before we talk about your exciting new car, how good does it feel to be back at international level?

Kevin Abbring:
It feels good to be back of course. My last year competing internationally was in 2012 when I did not have so much luck. After that I could no longer stay in the [WRC] game so I took a risk and drove in the 208 Rally Cup in France. But it really helped because the prize is to drive the 208 T16 in the ERC. Also, the level was high, I'd never driven an R2 car before and every rally there was pressure because if I didn't do my job I knew it would be difficult to continue. But I am back doing six rallies in the ERC, which is very good with Eurosport promoting it. Also, I have a brand-new car and although we don't quite know where we stand at the moment it's very exciting.

Q:
You mentioned the car, what do you think of your new Peugeot 208 T16?

Kevin Abbring:
We did some testing together with Craig and we worked well together. I appreciate him as a driver and as a friend. When we compare things we try different things and combine the knowledge to set up the car well. I haven't been driving the car yet on asphalt but we will do a test before the rally and every metre is welcome, because the speed difference compared to the R2 is really huge. I can adapt to a new car quite easily but the difference in speed to adapt the pacenotes is the most difficult thing.

Q:
And you will have a new co-driver in Sebastian Marshall to read your pacenotes…

Kevin Abbring:
I wanted to switch to English pacenotes and I think he's the right guy. I trust him and we get along well. Not only is it a new car, it's a new co-driver as well but we need to start somewhere. We just need to focus on ourselves and find the rhythm to do well in the future.

Q:
The Acropolis Rally has a reputation for being a tough event. Do you agree?

Kevin Abbring:
The good thing is at least the tarmac on the first day is new for everyone. As we have seen before when I was in the JWRC in Ireland and Poland when the rally was all new, I set the fastest times on nearly every stage. Okay, this will be different now because the R5 is really new for me. The rally will be rough when it goes to gravel and you wait for the big stones. It's about surviving but the cars won't be weak.

Q:
What do you look to achieve in Greece?

Kevin Abbring:
It will be hard to keep up with the pace of the fastest drivers from the beginning because I won't have the rhythm, and that's because I haven't been driving a four-wheel-drive car for at least a year. I just want to show the potential of the car throughout the rally and the potential of myself. It's hard to say where we will stand against the others and particularly the Regional Rally Car of Bryan Bouffier.


Related Pictures

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Kevin Abbring (NL) Erwin Mombaerts (B) Renault Clio RS

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