Local man Nicolas Bernardi and co-driver Denis Giraudet, won the Junior World Rally Championship [JWRC] category on the Rallye Monte Carlo at the weekend. Here they reflect on their success and look ahead to the rest of the year...

Q:
Nicolas [Bernardi], you started the rally and then set some fantastic times in the fog. How did you manage that?

Nicolas Bernardi:
Denis helped me a lot in keeping my concentration. It is a difficult rally. I know the roads because I am from this region, especially regarding the third leg. The important thing was to have a well-balanced car, and it proved crucial in the fog.

Q:
Denis [Giraudet], we've been used to seeing you with Didier Auriol recently and have a lot of experience. What do you think of your new driver?

Denis Giraudet:
When you are the winner of such a difficult event, you are for sure a very good driver, so I am happy about that. The stages are not as much fun than in WRC cars of course, but when you see on the time-boards that you are fighting with somebody, it's much better than being in a slow WRC.

Q:
Nicolas, you are from here. How much help does that give you?

NB:
It definitely helped me today [Sunday] in the Turini, but in other stages I think the drivers who raced here last year know them about as well as I do. I was lucky to be able to set a good pace this morning, giving me a safety margin, and that was the main difference compared to other drivers.

Q:
Denis, what are the main differences between a Super 1600 car and a WRC car?

DG:
During the first leg, the main difference was the traffic on the road because many spectators had already left, and we got caught in some traffic jams. More seriously, on slippery uphill roads it's not much fun, but in the downhill with a good driver it is fine.

Q:
Nicolas, what are your plans now for the rest of the championship? Do you feel as confident on gravel as you do here?

NB:
My experience is seven or eight years spent rallying, 70 per cent of which spent on tarmac. In France I got used to do a single run during the recce, and it is a valuable experience. I don't think I am bad on gravel anyway.

Q:
You participated in some races last year in the Super 1600 category. This year, you are competing in the whole Championship. There are some new cars. Do you think the level is higher than last year?

NB:
It is difficult to say. You have to reach the finish line. Some people made more mistakes than we did. The competition will be tough this year, with many drivers able to win races. I hope it will go on like here.

 

Comments

Loading Comments...