Wrc.com caught up with the Monster World Rally Team ace to find out what he’s been up to recently and discover that the American is particularly partial to the odd steak when he’s not behind the wheel of his Ford Fiesta RS WRC.
You’ve been missed in the WRC. What have you been up to since your last event in Portugal?
“It’s been about eight weeks since I was in a rally car and last time I was upside down. I had to schedule this particular part of the year to be off to be at home with my wife because we had our third child. While I was gone we had a little boy named Mika. It was really great to have some time off and enjoy the time at home with my family and be there with my wife. I’m very happy to be back here and looking forward to getting back out in my rally car.”
And are mother and son doing well?
Portugal wasn’t so great for you when you crashed in shakedown and were unable to start. Have you got that out of your system?
“The things I take away from Portugal is the fact all my testing that went on before Portugal and even Mexico all went really well. I’ve come a long way in the last year. My times have improved dramatically compared to last year. It was such a bummer what happened in Portugal. The rear end stepped out and I couldn’t get it back. I felt really confident coming into that event. Any time you have that big a shunt mentally it has its drawbacks. But I’ve had a long time to think about it during this break. I love doing what I do and I can’t wait to get back in the car and continue that progress I was making.”
So you’ve not driven anything since Portugal?
“Nothing, not even a test. Because of the rules with long haul testing I would have had to fly to Europe to actually get a test in and I just didn’t have the time. I knew this event is so tough and I knew I would use it as a bit of a confidence builder to get back in the car and get used to it again. It is what it is.”
There are some shots of you on your website training. Have you been doing that to keep sharp?
“Yeah and I did it as much as I could. I enjoy working out and I enjoy being in shape to actually do this.”
What do you think of the stages here now that you’ve done the recce?
“Stage three, the second stage on Friday, is probably the roughest, most difficult stage you’ve ever been on. El Condor after that is a continuation when it goes down hill onto the Tarmac. They are just incredible stages. They’re a bit like Portugal with turns over crests. But they vary a lot more, very unique. It’s probably some of the most difficult roads I’ve ever seen.”
What preparation have you done for this event?
“I’ve watched the WRC programme from the past, watched some of the in-car footage I could get. I do the preparation for every event but this event in particular I’ve focused a lot of time in the past week. Being away from the car and the events for so long I really wanted to be prepared when I got back in so I’m feeling the way I did after the first two runs in Portugal.”
Now Argentina is big on steaks. Do you get the time to sample a few cuts?
“I’ve been eating steaks everyday. I’ve really enjoyed my time here in Argentina. People are very nice, the steaks obviously are quite good and the fans have been really friendly and come out of everywhere. It’s the most fans I’ve seen on recce. Getting out of my recce car on the final day of the recce to come into the hotel there were 100 people around my car. It’s just cool to see the enthusiasm people have for rallying.”
Given you’re in roughly the same continent do you feel at home here?
“Not at all. I’ve seen Peugeot trucks here and I never see Peugeot trucks. Mexico feels closer to home. I’ve never been to Argentina so it’s a cool experience to come down here and see this part of the world.”