Rally Finland starts just the next week and that means it’s perfect time to ask team manager Pavel Hortek what he thinks about it.
What have FIA President Jean Todt and ŠKODA Motorsport team manager Pavel Hortek got in common? Both began their careers in motorsport as rally co-drivers.
Hortek got started in motorsport in 1969. After becoming the Czech rally champion in 1974, he was given the “passenger” seat in what was then the ŠKODA Works Team, where he got to co-drive the first famous 130 RS.
In modern rallying, co-drivers are ideal for the role of team manager: they‘re used to working under pressure, they‘re organized and they always keep their cool, even when it gets hot and chaotic during a rally. That describes Pavel Hortek, from Prague, perfectly. He has worked continuously for ŠKODA since 2001, and as team manager since 2007. With three young talents driving for ŠKODA in 2018, his experience and his people skills are particularly crucial.
- Do you have any free time in Finland?
Hortek: That’s something you wouldn’t normally have at a World Rally Championship event. There’s always something to do.
- Any places you would recommend to fans? Places with a really good view of the rally,for example, or any other sights worth seeing / experiencing?
Hortek: The service park in the heart of Jyväskylä is absolutely worth a visit; you can see the mechanics working on the cars and the atmosphere is great, especially in the evening. Concerning the stages, I’d recommend the first stage, Harju, which offers good viewing points for spectators. Other must-sees are the famous Kakaristo hairpin and the Ruuhimäki stage’s big jumps.
- They say that the rally is a great party for Finns. Do you have any chance to take in the atmosphere?
Hortek: Finland is a rally country, it’s like a national sport. There’s no wonder that so many world champions grow up on these fantastic gravel stages. You can feel the enthusiastic atmosphere everywhere.
- Any personal thoughts on Rally Finland?
Hortek: It’s one of the most fascinating events in the World Rally Championship, because of the incredibly fast driving on the gravel tracks and the huge number of jumps. Compared to a race track, the stages of Rally Finland are like the “Nürburgring Nordschleife on gravel”.
- And what do other team members think about the upcoming rally? Read Q&As with Kalle Rovanperä and his co-driver Jonne Halttunen, with O.C. Veiby or with technical chief Eric Mommey!