BAUMANIS: "I HOPE THAT EACH RACE WILL BE A DIFFERENT WINNER"
Latvia’s Janis Baumanis was announced as one of two new drivers for World RX Team Austria’s second season in the FIA World Rallycross Championship last week, alongside former European Supercar champion Timur Timerzyanov.
We caught up with the 2015 Euro RX Super1600 champion to get his thoughts on the season ahead.
Q: How does it feel to have signed for World RX Team Austria?
JB: “I am very thankful to World RX Team Austria owner Max Pucher for this opportunity. It feels great that my dream will come true and I will drive for a full season in the World Championship.”
Q: What was the best part of working with the team on your one-off drive in Argentina last year?
JB: “World RX Team Austria is a fantastic group of people with a perfect atmosphere. It was easy to work with the engineers, mechanics and Manfred [Stohl] as a driver. Also I was positively shocked about the car. It is incredible to build such a competitive car in less than one year while other teams have years of experience.”
Q: What was the deciding factor in your decision to join the team for this year?
JB: “In Argentina I saw that the team has great potential. During the winter Max has invested a lot in the car’s development and Stohl Racing has performed some technical miracles, so I think this is a good decision for my first year in the World Championship.”
Q: Do you think your experience of the circuits and racing in Super1600 will help you this season?
JB: “I think it will help me a lot. I know almost every track in Europe, but it is a big difference between driving a Super1600 car and a Supercar. Lines are similar but in Supercar everything happens much faster. Super1600 is one of the best schools for Supercar. A lot of guys have proved that and I will try to do the same.”
Q: Is it a big step to move from Super1600 to World RX Supercar in one go?
JB: “I did several races in a Supercar last season in World RX, Euro RX and Estonian RX. I mean, Supercar is not new for me. World RX is a great championship where I can grow as a race car driver and person as well. It will not be easy and that’s what makes this project more interesting.”
Q: What will be the biggest challenge racing in World RX this season?
JB: “The biggest challenge for me will be racing together with the best World RX drivers. I will work hard to fight for championship points and to work together as a team with Timur [Timerzyanov]. Of course it is not easy to have answers before the season starts.”
Q: Does your result from Argentina (fourth) add any more pressure for you?
JB: “Not a lot. Of course I got lots of questions about how my result in Argentina affected my future plans. Mostly its positive pressure.”
Q: Which events are you most looking forward to?
JB: “I am looking forward to every event this year. Of course I can't wait for the first round in Portugal! I’m really excited for my home race in Latvia. There will be a lot of my fans, sponsors, supporters, friends and family.”
Q: How will it be to be Timur's team mate, will his experience help you?
JB: “Timur has achieved three European championship titles. He is a very experienced driver and good person too. I believe that he can help me a lot during the season.”
Q: What are your hopes for the season?
JB: “My main mission for this year is to learn and gain experience, and to get maximum points for me and my team.”
Q: Who do you expect to be the biggest competition in 2016?
JB: “It is really nice to see how the championship is growing, especially when such good drivers and teams are joining World RX, it will be a very competitive year. I hope that each race there will be a different winner. That would be a perfect championship for everyone.”
Q: How do you think it will feel to be a World Championship competitor at home in Latvia for the Riga event?
JB: “It will be one of the hardest races of my career. But for sure, I want to enjoy it and show my best speed at my home race. I will do my best as always.”
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