That’s from Ayrton Senna, arguably the greatest racing driver that ever lived. But if racing is such an all-pervasive thing, how come so many racing drivers at some point have a go at rallying?
Even Senna himself was no exception, once testing a MG Metro 6R4 in Britain while he was driving for Lotus-Renault. Now, Andy Priaulx is the latest man to give rally cars a whirl, scratching an itch by having a shot in a MINI WRC during a test late last year.
One of his key rivals in the World Touring Car Championship, Yvan Muller, actually went one stage further by competing on the Rallye de France-Alsace back in October. And while Priaulx is ruling out a full-time switch, he’d love to do the same one day.
Go back a few years, and the distinction between rally drivers and circuit racers was much less distinct. If it had four wheels and a competition number, drivers from any discipline would get involved.
Formula One drivers regularly contested events as diverse as Le Mans and the Indy 500 - as well as the major international rallies. Jim Clark, for example, drove a Lotus Cortina on the RAC Rally. Conversely, Sandro Munari was a regular competitor on the Targa Florio.
But as the cars have become more specialised, so have the drivers. It’s something that Kimi Raikkonen found out during his debut season in the WRC in 2010, sometimes the hard way.
“There’s really nothing in common between rallying and Formula One,” says Raikkonen. “It’s a totally different sport: like learning to drive all over again. But of course it’s a lot of fun. On a circuit you maybe have 14 or 15 corners to learn but on a rally there are thousands and they are all different. For me, it’s certainly harder than Formula One, but that’s because my background is in racing. If you asked Sebastien Loeb, he would say that Formula One is harder.”
Another man in a strong position to judge is Robert Kubica. The Pole is widely regarded as one of the most promising up-and-coming Grand Prix stars, but his hobby is rallying. He has his own rally car, which he likes to run around in back home in Poland, and he recently set some fastest overall stage times on France’s Rallye du Var in a Renault Clio Super 1600 last November.
“For so many years I’ve been driving on the race track, driving 150-120 laps on every day of testing, 18 races, always the same corners, the same conditions unless it’s raining,” explains Kubica. “It’s very similar conditions in the dry. You want to try something else. I was a big fan of rallying when I was younger and now I luckily have the chance to try it for myself.”
So there you have it. Formula One, the pinnacle of motorsport? Hardly...