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Interview with Petr Fulín about the 2019 season


Which plans does Petr Fulín have for the upcoming season? Fulda spoke in the interview (not only) about his racing future...

Petr, new season is coming, how is yours going to look like?

This year, I should compete in four endurance races in ESET V4 Cup. It is, in fact, continuation of our cooperation with Carol Wittke. I am going to race together with him in CUPRA TCR and we are negotiating another project, but at the moment nothing is clear, so I don’t wanna be very specific. All I can tell is that it will be separate start in a sprint race.

That sounds like another visit in the WTCR on wild card… Could it be Slovakiaring?

Unfortunately not. I got an offer from the promoter, but we have decided to not use it this time.

Isn’t that a waste?

Yes and no… Situation in the TCR world changed dramatically. Nowadays it is no longer possible to compete in TCR-based series without being a member of "A" team, supported by a factory. As private team we simply have no chance. It is not only about data and setup, we found out last year that even engine maps can differ. To fight in a field, where every hundredth counts, is simply a waste of energy and money. Wild card in WTCR means additional 20 kilos handicap. And that on six kilometer long Slovakiaring means three tenths per lap.

Is there a chance to negotiate at the FIA individual terms, because, after all, wild card entries are not eligible to score points this year…?

It is he FIA, who sings this 20 kilos handicap rule. This is justified with an idea of prohibiting guest starters to meddle in front runners fights. And that is insane, for me even unacceptable. I am not willing to pay check equal of small family house for tormenting myself somewhere in the back.

How can we explain your fifth place in the main WTCR race on Slovakiaring?

I had luck, for sure, some drivers lost their places due to mess in the first lap, all my maneuvres were successful, even though they were on the edge, and yes, we have managed something I will value even more in the future. Today I know that it was not a fair fight.

What about your "FULLINRACE ACADEMY", are you going to coach this year again?

Absolutely and I am looking forward to it. Because promoter of the Octavia Cup announced the end of his project and the series will not last any longer, we had to find another competition. We bought my last year’s CUPRA, which Petr Čížek will drive entire TCR Eastern Europe with. He will be joined with Carol Wittke, who has my ex-car from 2017. So in our workshop we have my two former cars, which are being prepaired for Hungaroring, where guys will compete in TCR Europe, which will join the World Cup.

And you will be without racing seat there. Really?


How is it gonna be like?

I think that I have solved this in my mind already, so it won’t affect me. The reason why I am competing is simply the great feeling from the driving itself. And I am not going to miss it. During our testing I will be behind the wheel for sure and there are mentioned races with Carol. It is not about shine or Eurosport broadcasting… the prestige itself is not the reason why I am sitting in a car. I enjoy the progress of drivers I am trying to pass something to.

Back to Octavia Cup, which you mentioned. I gave a lot to this series, do you have any bad sentiment about the end of it?

I do, a lot…

What was the reason of this end?

It is too complicated, I guess. And I don’t think I should publicly comment any links. Let’s keep fingers crossed for them, hopefully the series will kick off one day. Czech republic simply needs its own circuit series.

In winter you tried virtual Octavia Cup, how was it?

Absolutely great. I enjoyed it a lot, it had plenty of positives. First of all, you get into a group of good guys, who make a great atmosphere on assettocorsa.eu. They are nerds in the best possible meaning. And you get a lot of fun, which costs you just your time. You don’t feel thy physics, G-force especially, but the rest is as good as the reality. Thanks to the fact that it is all "free", there are thirty people on a grid and they all have intensive training. It is really hard to break through, so during thirty minutes of races your mental strength gets superb training. And to add… there are no journalists, no politics, no BOP (balance of performance) experiments, all cars are the same and fair behavior is controlled by real stewards. It is all about the sport as it should always be!

What about your linkage to SEAT, are you still cooperating?

Of course we are. Cooperation is now in a different scheme, but it is still going on. We have scheduled several events, during which I should contribute to presentation of CUPRA brand.

Let’s talk about different things for a while. I know you are keen viewer of motorsport in general. What do you think about season starts in WTCR, F1 and MotoGP?

WTCR is crowded in a good way. The first weekend showed it will be decided in thousandths and maybe nobody will be able to dominate regularly. Whoever wins will have to more than ever finish races and collect points constantly. From the rookies, Azcona caught my eye, he took spot after Oriola and so far represents CUPRA brand very well. From the returning drivers I liked Catsburg and Monteiro. The latter, despite missing majority of the last season, drove perfectly and I am happy he is back and in a good form. Formula 1 hasn’t offered much action so far, if we don’t count retirements in Bahrain. It is, however, interesting there as well. I focus on teammates’ comparison. It is like a separate race of mental abilities, especially for some drivers. Now in the beginning of the season, the most interesting fight is between Vettel and Leclerc. I think Sebastian as the champion isn’t handling it well. Same situation is in Renault, Mercedes and Red Bull. On the contrary, Kimi is without any pressure and he can only surprise. We will see. And the MotoGP? That is simply awesome. It is great to watch small margins in qualifications. The biggest surprise for me is Quartararo, who well managed the team switch. It is interesting as well to watch mental strengths of teammates. Most appealing it is at Honda, to compare Lorenzo with Marquez. The latter competed in his own race in Argentina, as he was completely elsewhere to the others pace-wise, but Rossi was on the podium after a long time as he finished second. Most of the field finished with minimal margins. To sum it up, I enjoy all three championships and so far it is very entertaining.

Back to you. Tell us your plans for the future, especially long-term plan for the future seasons…?

Logical, but very difficult question… My dream is to drive in WTCR, ideally with the new CUPRA. But all depends on several uncertainties. It is necessary to get needed budget, get a place in a team supported by factory and last but not least it is crucial to acknowledge that WTCR is running the last year of TCR homologation. It is, thus, very hard to form any conception for the future.

Thank you for the interview and we will keep fingers crossed for you.

Foto k novince: Interview with Petr Fulín about the 2019 season

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