Pierre Campana left a positive impression on the MINI WRC Team at last week’s Rallye Monte Carlo, finishing in a highly respectable seventh place and picking up valuable points for MINI in the season opening World Rally Championship event.
With confidence building over the five days of special stages, Pierre raised eyebrows with some highly competitive performance, particularly on the third and fourth days in which he was regularly inside the top six and among some of WRC’s finest drivers. Pierre reflects on a positive start to 2012.
Q+A with Pierre Campana:
Q: Pierre, how do you look back on your performances in Monte Carlo?
PC: “On the whole, I think the end result was quite good and I was pleased with how I ended the rally. The first couple of days were tough because of the typically tough weather and ground conditions in Monte Carlo with snow and ice, but I took a cautious approach to make sure we made it to the end of all stages without too much trouble. On Friday, I found my rhythm and was able to really extract the full performance from the MINI. The car was great to drive for the whole event and it was a great experience to work directly with the MINI WRC team for this event.”
Q: What were your highlights of the event?
PC: “I have to say the final days were truly incredible. I have never experienced such support from the fans as I did during the Col du Turini stages. There were so many people, it was an amazing sight and an image that will stay with me forever. Those stages were fun to drive and I think that was reflected in the top six position I achieved in both day and evening stage. Stage 12 on the previous day was another highlight because the MINI team did an outstanding job on the strategy and tyre call, which gave me so much confidence and we ended up third right on the pace of the overall rally winner.”
Q: And the challenges, how did you manage the early stages of the rally?
PC: “I knew the first stages were going to be tough so I took a deliberately measured approach to minimise errors and get to the end of each stage. As we saw from the number of retirements in the first days, it is easy to make a mistake in difficult conditions and considering my limited WRC experience, I wanted to play things safe. I got into my stride after the second day and I think my performances reflected that. The power stage on Sunday morning was also really fun even if a power steering problem meant I couldn’t fight for the top positions, as I think I would have been able to.”
Q: What’s next for you?
PC: “I hope my performances in Monte Carlo have opened up my potential to teams and manufacturers. MINI have been fantastic to me and it was a joy to work with them and to drive the MINI John Cooper Works WRC car again in a WRC event. I was definitely happy to get the positive feedback from the team and from David Richards at the end of the rally. I am hopeful that this might unlock some opportunities for me for 2012 and I am keen to return to WRC as soon as possible to put this valuable experience into practice.”