In the lead-up to the third round of the season at the 2012 Neste Oil Rally Finland next month, we caught up with FIA WRC Academy leader, Alastair Fisher, as he gave us an insight into his career and revealed something you wouldn’t expect.
Q: How long have you been rallying for?
A: Since 2006 so that is six years now.
Q: What was your first rally car?
A: It was a 1300cc black Suzuki Swift.
Q: Which rally would you most like to win and why?
A: Rally Finland, if you can be fast there it means a lot, it is such a prestigious rally.
Q: Which driver, past or present, would you most like to compete against and why?
A: It would obviously be nice to compete against [Sébastien] Loeb because he has won so many events and championships. It would be a great experience to compare yourself to someone like him.
Q: What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
A: Just to believe in your own ability and be confident.
Q: Who is your rally idol?
A: My uncle, Bertie Fisher, he was a legend in Irish motorsport.
Q: What is your most memorable rally moment?
A: I have a few! When we came second in the Donegal Rally last year in the Ford Fiesta S2000 – that was very special. Also to have been leading Rally Finland in the WRC Academy last year and then winning the WRC Academy round in France were also two very special moments for me.
Q: What is the most important thing you hope to get out of the WRC Academy this year?
A: We hope to win the series and take the prize to progress next year. But the WRC Academy is also about building up confidence and gaining good knowledge of each WRC event.
Q: With a win in Portugal and second place in Greece, you are currently leading the WRC Academy, how does it feel?
A: I have to be happy with my performance this year. The win in Portugal was a great feeling. The rally was a real challenge and a lot tougher than last year but to an extent we were a lot better prepared this time round – both physically and mentally. We managed to get a good rhythm in the wet conditions and had good control throughout the rally – I think that was what won us the event. Then we secured a good second place in Greece which was good as every good result helps towards the final result at the end of the year.
Q: There are a lot of quick drivers in the WRC Academy this year, who do you see as your biggest competition?
A: Everyone! Everyone seems to have upped their game from last year and the new guys are already setting a good pace so the championship is wide open!
Q: How has your involvement in the WRC Academy been received at home?
A: There has been a lot of interest in the [WRC] Academy at home. What with Craig [Breen] winning last year, everyone has realised how good it is to win the series and the opportunities for further progress it can generate. I have had a lot of support from fans and friends with lots of emails and phone calls and texts.
Q: Have you found the WRC Academy training useful?
A: It was rally nice to sit down with Chris [Patterson, co-driver to factory Ford driver Petter Solberg, who gave the WRC Academy crews advise on pacenotes training] in Portugal. Of course everyone has their own technique when it comes to making pacenotes, but we picked up a few tips that we will integrate to make our own notes even stronger.
Then in Greece, the ‘bush mechanics’ was really useful and it was great to get an insight into something we had never covered before. Darren [Mason, technician for the Ford World Rally Team] told us a lot of useful tips. Hopefully we will never have to use them, but it was fantastic to have the opportunity to increase our knowledge!
Q: How are you preparing for Finland?
A: We are just trying to get as much seat time as possible before Finland. We hope to have a couple of tests at home and I’ll keeping up my fitness programme. The competition in Finland is definitely going to be tough!
QUICK FIRE QUESTIONS….
Gravel or asphalt?
Twitter or Facebook?
Q: Tea or Coffee?
Q: Book or Film?
Q: Where do you live?
A: Trillick in County Tyrone (Northern Ireland).
Q: What is your favourite food?
A: Ham and cheese sandwich.
Q: What’s your favourite music?
A: Dance music.
Q: What is your degree in?
A: Construction engineering and management.
Q: What are you scared of?
A: Not winning the WRC Academy.
Q: If you were an animal, what animal would you be?
A: I would be a fly on the wall.
Q: Tell us something about your co-driver.
A: He is a big Burnley Football Club fan.
Q: Tell us something most people don’t know about you.
A: I used to represent my county in the sport of lawn bowls!
Q: If you were stuck on a desert island, which three items would you take with you?
A: Sunscreen, a bottle of water and a pair of shorts.
- Alastair Fisher flies to victory in FIA WRC Academy
- Alastair Fisher scoops maiden WRC Academy Cup victory at Rallye de France
- Alastair Fisher heads to Portugal for WRC Academy debut
- FIA WRC Academy – Interview with Chris Duplessis
- FIA WRC Academy interview with Pontus Tidemand
- Alastair Fisher to contest Rally of Scotland in Fiesta S2000
- Alastair Fisher flies to second overall on the Donegal International Rally
- Interview with John MacCrone
- FIA WRC Academy regulations published
- Rising star Alastair Fisher prepares for an IRC double