Name: Didier Auriol
Motorsport Class: 1994 World Rally Champion
At what age were you when you first got involved with motorsport?
I was 20
What was your very first rally car?
Simca 1000 Rallye II
Having driven numerous competition cars, which has been the most memorable and why?
1992 lancia Delta Martini. Working closely with engineers, I was able to bring my experience to help develop the Deltas wider track, suspension, box, motor etc. … We won 6 races and the car was virtually unbeatable at this time. I drove to the millimeter so I trusted her and her reactions.
What is the stage / ultimate rally special for you?
“Ouninpohja” in Finland
“The Aiglun Mas” in Monte-Carlo
“Tarzan” in Greece
“Whaanga Coast” in New Zealand
Each rally has its specialty. I think these are the best rallies : Tour de Corse, Greece and New Zealand.
It was great to see you here in New Zealand Otago Rally recently. Having been to New Zealand on previous occasions, how was your first trip to the South Island?
The island is very beautiful and the reception by Brent was exceptional, felt “at home”. Even the whole organization of the rally and all the drivers was the same. Fifteen unforgettable days!
How was the wine?
The wine Brent recommended was excellent but I already had great memories of the wine from my visit in 1990’s.
The Rossendale Escort looked immaculately turned out. How was it to drive?
The team was very efficient, and the car was very reliable. I am very sharp on settings and after a small change with 5 stages to go, I really started to enjoy myself in the car although the times are not immediately felt. Too bad there wasn’t one more day!
Did the Otago Classic Rally meet your expectations?
Yes, of course, we would have just liked to be on the podium but that’s racing. The stages are very nice but I think a few too fast in the first leg.
What vehicle format would you recommend for young drivers entering motorsport today? Front wheel drive, rear wheel drive or 4 wheel drive?
Evidence shows that a 4wd is faster, so therefore I would recommend a 4wd if you want to progress quicker.
What advice could you give an up and coming driver looking for sponsorship?
It is very difficult today to find a sponsor therefore the relational, the professionalism as well as the job of image must be very important. Check first all needs it not to know how to drive quickly!!! hahaha
As once said to me by Ove Andersson: “I make fun that you are physically fir and look good, what I want first of all is to know that you know how to hold a steering wheel ”
What do you like to do to relax?
I quite enjoy solitary sports – Cycling. I also enjoy listening to 60’s music.
What’s one thing that would surprise most people to know? (are you an aspiring artist / musician etc?)
I am an artist with my feet and my hands
I am a dancer with my car between every turn
I am musician because I like to hear and to understand the slightest noise of my car.
The rest is a secret!