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GP Week : Issue 162
33 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: RALLY >>> INTERVIEW GPWEEK: How did you first get into rallying? HARRY HUNT: I've always been interested in motor sport, but I guess I was just taken in with the idea of rallying, the two or three days of endurance testing, going from one stage to the next, always knowing that you have to be as much in the event at the end as you were at the start. Nobody introduced me to rallying, I found it by myself, a lot from watching television. I wanted to try rallying so I went to Wales and did a sort of Red Letter activity thing, really liked it. I started enquiring about things, went up to M-Sport in Cumbria to speak with Richard Millener, their Client Liaison Manager. I got him to tell me exactly what rallying was about, and spent a day at Carlisle Airfield riding in the cars and looking at the stuff they had. Richard found me a Fiesta ST to buy and put me in touch with Iwan Evans who runs i-Cars Motorsport preparation company. It just exploded from there. I guess 99 percent of rally people get lured into rallying by friends, or had a mate at school or a dad who was interested, something like that, but not me. I know it sounds weird, it’s just the way it is. You started your rally career quite late when you were 19 or 20, did some local stage rallies in Wales in 2009 in a Ford ST, getting tempted with some national events and then going to do Sanremo, before getting a Fiesta R2 for 2010. What lured you to Ford? I spoke to a lot of people about how to get started in rallying and where to start off and it was a choice between the Peugeot 205 Challenge and the Fiesta Challenge. After talking with Richard, Iwan and iCars, we went Ford. This was a new life. You get taken along in the sport. Rallying gets you going down these weird and wonderful roads, it’s just amazing. Doing things in cars you can't do in the middle of London. I'd love a superspecial to be in the middle of London. Awesome! I wouldn't have to recce it, I'd know where corners are, where the slippery parts are. I would be unbeatable because of my local knowledge! Then came 2010. I threw myself in to the deep end. I knew what I was letting myself in for but I didn't really realise how deep you go. The scale of learning and the need to pick things up so quickly, you have to really concentrate on every little bit. It was a real eye opener, but obviously I've loved it because I've carried on doing it. I've had tuition from a lot of people in the last couple of years. I think the first was Gwyndaf Evans, because he knew Iwan. In due course there have been people like Mark Higgins, Philippe Bugalski, Thierry Neuville, Aaron Burkart, a wide range of people who I have met on rallies. Then on the pacenotes side, obviously my navigators have helped as have Phil Mills and Nicky Grist. A wide spectrum of people. Was the Fiesta a good basis? The Fiesta R2 was a great car for what I needed at entry level and then beyond. It allowed me to do a wide variety of championships with the same car, which was great. That gave me a solid base. In the end the Fiestas gave me three titles. The most competitive series was the Fiesta Sporting Trophy International, the most important was the FIA JWRC Rookie Cup even if that was not really competitive and then there was the IRC two-wheel Cup. The IRC series is always a hard battle because every rally attracts good local drivers experienced on their events and they take the top points off you. The local two-wheel guys are always quick whether they are in an S1600 or an R3. Last year I was only in an R2, one grade down from them. 2010 taught me a lot. I mostly learned about preservation of the car, to keep the car going through rough rallies like Cyprus or long rallies in IRC like Corsica. It is hard but it is good fun” . From winning three titles in 2010, you went up a step in 2011 to a Citroen DS3 R3 in which you contested the FIA Production Car and the IRC two wheel series. At the time the Citroen R3 was an unknown car. Nobody knew much about the R3T at that time.