Friday | 20 May 2022

‘Super-prepared’ Černý aiming to give Citigo triumphant send-off

On the eve of this weekend’s 2022 FIA European Rallycross Championship curtain-raiser at Nyirád (21-22 May), Škoda star Jan Černý is ‘aiming for nothing else than a win’, as he promises to ‘fearlessly’ take the fight to the hitherto all-conquering Audi brigade.

On the eve of this weekend’s 2022 FIA European Rallycross Championship curtain-raiser at Nyirád (21-22 May), Škoda star Jan Černý is ‘aiming for nothing else than a win’, as he promises to ‘fearlessly’ take the fight to the hitherto all-conquering Audi brigade.

One of the championship’s giant-killers in 2021, Černý – a driver with a successful background in rallying – frequently threatened to upset the Audi applecart in Euro RX3 behind the wheel of his little Škoda Citigo, placing inside the top four in the intermediate standings four times out of five.

Despite progressing through to the final on three of those occasions, for a variety of reasons, the Czech ace never reached the rostrum, meaning he is still searching for his maiden Euro RX podium this year. It is a situation he is aiming to immediately rectify in Hungary.

“We are obviously all here to win, so I’m not going to be the only one saying this, but definitely I want to succeed, the team wants to succeed and getting onto the podium for the first time would be very nice,” Černý acknowledges. “We had lots of fourth places last year, so we’re hoping to put that behind us and bring some trophies home.

“To be completely honest, we’re aiming for nothing less than a win – and not only in the first round, but in each and every round we want to compete with the Audis. We believe we can compete with them and I have full trust in my team that we are going in the right direction to be able to compete with them. I definitely want to make the fans happy with some nice and fearless competition on the track!

“It’s now just a couple of moments before the season starts, and I’m really looking forward to Nyirád. I haven’t driven the Citigo for a long time in a race situation. Let’s see if the changes we have made will get us a little bit closer to the Audis. They had a big advantage last year, but we have focussed on all parts of the team and also on the technical side to develop the Citigo.

“Even though it’s going to be its last year, we want to say goodbye to our little Citigo with a championship. We’ve done a lot of work and the boys have spent days and nights on the car, so I’m looking forward to seeing how fast we can be on the track.”

Indeed, the ageing Citigo will be replaced by a brand new Škoda Fabia at some stage during the campaign, which Černý is confident will mark a significant step forward. He has also been taking his pre-season preparations more seriously than ever this year, both on and off-track...

“I doubled my training sessions over the winter,” reveals the 31-year-old PAJR S.R.O. driver. “I gave it a lot of energy, and we also worked a lot with my mental coach so I’m able to perform at 100 per cent every weekend. We’re fully focussed on our performance and haven’t left a single thing untouched. I’ve gotten better with my physical condition and I feel super-prepared on the mental side.

“I also spent a few weeks in the UK just to get my English ready for the season. I had a free month and the team was preparing the cars on the technical side, so I went and prepared myself in a different environment than I’m used to, just to get my head straight. I’m very happy with my English now, and I don't feel like I have to think so much about what I want to say. We’ll see this year how many interviews I need to do, but I hope it’s going to be a lot...”