Welcome to the Rally universe with the famous Austrian co-driver, Ilka Minor.
1- How long have you been fascinating by Motorsport? How did your passion start?
I started my rally career without any fascination or passion for that sport. I did my first rally just to help out as my partner at that time was searching for a co-driver. As it went closer to the first event of the season and he still hadn’t found a co-driver we decided that I will sit in just for that one event. That was in April 1994.
2- Do you remember the first race that you watched on TV? Which image will you keep about it?
I watched a summary of Rally of New Zealand (maybe it was not the first race but one I memorized). Cars were “dancing” through the corners. Then I started to dream just to go once in my life to New Zealand to do the rally there. Finally it was the second WRC event I did in my life in 1998. I have been there 8 times since then and still love it.
3- It is an extraordinary and unique experience when we attend at a Motorsport event for the first time. Which memory will you keep about yours?
I was just stressed. From the day my partner decided that I should sit next to him for this one-off thing to the start of the event I had just 5 days to accommodate with that idea. And I had no clue about anything. Finally it worked out well but all in all it was panic to just no make a mistake.
4- Do you have any idol in Motorsport?
Ayrton Senna was a great personality. At the present I’m a great admirer of Jari-Matti Latvala. As I think he is the completest driver. Unfortunately he is followed by a bit of bad luck this year. As I got plunged in at the deep end I couldn’t make up an idol in the co-driver business. I learned it myself from scratch. It was sure a privilege to meet some great co-drivers during my career like Michael Park, Phil Mills, Daniel Elena etc. just to name some.
5- What could you tell us about your career in Rally?
Like I said before I started my career from scratch – no knowledge about anything, nothing to do with motorsport, just watching a bit F1 but that was it. Then I just wanted to help and do this on-off event and forget about rally after this. But there we go – we have 2012 now and I’m still doing it. And it’s passion. I started from 1994 – 2000 to do the Austrian Championship, 2000 also the German Championship and some international events. From 2001 onwards I spend most the time in the WRC of course with breaks in between. I’m not too far away from my 100’s WRC event. Hope I can continue for some more years.
6- Which is the moment in your career that you will never forget?
I must say that getting the Michael “Beef” Park trophy last year was a big moment for me. As my biggest critic, I always think I can do things better than I do them. I was very proud and it was very nice to see that other people think my work is good.
7- Which constraint linked to your job is the most difficult to accept?
It’s more a general thing: It’s that rally is not everywhere well-beloved and we all get judged as crazy and destroying the environment. Most of these people probably drive 300m in their cars to the next grocery. But yea we have to accept this.
8- Which advices could you give to the young Rally drivers?
Just follow your own way. Don’t let other people get too involved in what you want to do.
9- Many Formula One drivers say that Rally is more dangerous than their sport and also requires more driving qualities. It is exciting and it attracts them a lot. What do you think?
We don’t have the run-out areas like on a circuit that makes rally a bit more spectacular. In the forests the trees are just beside the road but that belongs to the sport.
I think Kimi Räikkkonen got a good impression about rallying in the last years. I must say that he adapted himself quite quickly and you could see how he is getting better and better.
10- Would you like to try another series in Motorsport? If yes, which would it be and why?
Marathon Rally’s would also interest me, like to do the Dakar. Still Rally but different.
11- What do you think about the recruitment of both of Maria De Villota and Susie Wolff in Formula One?
There are anyway not enough women in motorsport and then to have two in the highest class of motorsport is a perfect achievement. I hope that they can provide a good job for the teams and show their capacities.
12- You meet a lot of people with your job, which are the most prominent for you?
Kimi Räikkkonen, Michel Mouton, Carlos Sainz…… loads more but most are well known rally drivers.
13- “Living the dream” is a very famous quote in Motorsport. What is your own motto?
We’re here for a good time, not a long time.
(credit pic: pic found on google)