The Frenchman Bryan Bouffier must have been probably the most popular of the participants taking part on Rally Liepāja, round two of the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC). He came to Liepāja nearly having just stepped off the WRC podium – he ranked second in the opening round of the World Rally Championship, giving in only to the world champion Sébastien Ogier (Volkswagen).
- Bryan Bouffier (www.fiaerc.com)
Bouffier was not that lucky in Latvia – on special stage two of Rally Liepāja in a narrow turn his car crashed into a straw roll and the radiator was damaged. Just a few kilometres further the car engine stopped working and he had to withdraw from the event.
The portal “Delfi” invited the French guest to a small discussion.
Announcing your participation in the ERC round in Latvia was a rather unexpected one for Latvian media – and for you?
I had been working on this already earlier, but my entry was approved only during the Rally Monte-Carlo on Thursday, during the event. Anyway – better late than never!
Your rally geography is impressive – a championship in Africa and now Latvia.
I was not really in Africa – Rally de Reunion took place on a French island, but it was part of the African Rally Championship. But I know for sure that this island belongs to France – because it costs the French huge money (laughing)!
The Latvian winter is O.K. Although it is strange that it is cold, freezing, but there isn’t any snow. Still we had time to drive around the country and I saw a river entirely covered by ice for the first time, because I have been in Finland only during summer.
We had a sincere welcoming and I was really happy being here.
Still the question is – why did you chose the round in Latvia instead of one of the traditional, famous European rally such as Ypres Rally in Belgium or Barum in the Czech Republic?
I had intended to contest in the ERC round in Austria, but it didn’t work out, and then I started working on the next – the one in Latvia. This is my strategy for this year – from one round to another.
Do you see yourself in other ERC rounds this year as well?
For now it is only this. Of course, I will try to get into some other rally as well, but we’ll see. We had focussed on the Romanian round, but it was cancelled and now I even don’t know, where my next round will take place. Maybe the Acropolis Rally in Greece.
You drove a Citroën in Latvia, but for most of your career you had driven Peugeot – are you really a fan of this car brand?
No, no, no, I am not that huge fan of this car. I just had the opportunity of driving for Team Peugeot and be the official driver thereof. I like the brand, indeed, but I’m not focussed only on it. This was rather a professional opportunity than my personal choice.
Why did you choose position 16 in Rally Liepāja?
I had the choice between 13 and 16, and I chose the latter. Maybe it was rather a lottery than logical choice, because I didn’t think that the starting position would play such a big role, since the road wouldn’t change.
Which stage of the rally did you like best?
All of them were interesting, but I enjoyed most the longest one – 32 km in Ēdole!
You are the triple Polish rally champion. Why did you choose Poland?
Because my co-driver Xavier Panseri lives in Warsaw. I don’t know his roots, but I know that now he lives in Poland (laughing).
Source: Līga Stirna, www.delfi.lv