Driver ColumnsInterviewsRallySam Tickell (Editor)WRC

Hubert Ptaszek, the latest Polish WRC star – “hungry for something big”

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Hubert Ptaszek is the latest in a line of Polish rally drivers making their mark outside their home country. Creating his own path, the WRC2 driver undertook the rare mission to compete in the entire 2016 Championship but in three different cars – the Skoda, the Fiesta and the Peugeot.

 

“After this year I can say it is not a good idea but at the beginning it was a great offer for me. It is a really good year – I am 23, I have done all the rallies,” Ptaszek said.

“So we drove 12 events – after we withdrew from Italy. So it was a long year for us – full of learning. It was a positive thing as we are getting faster and faster.”

Ptaszek has a few different nicknames – most notably ‘The Birdman’ now adorning his Facebook page. PTock is also around with this website going under the name of theptock.com and his MSport Fiesta R5 carrying ‘D5 PTOCK’ numberplates.

The 2016 season was always going to be one of growth and development for the Pole having stepped up from the R2 cars in the previous year and an occasional run in the S2000 cars.

He scored podiums in the Peugeot Sport Bratislava entry at Mexico, Argentina and Australia. He scored solid points in Monaco and Finland in the Skoda and in the Tour de Corse in the Fiesta.

A few retirements on the way and retiring from Portugal, and miss Italy after injuring his codriver after a heavy landing on the famous Fafe jump would see out his year.

He would finish 8th and 18th in the Championship – having been entered twice for two different teams. For the record he took 8th in the Peugeot Sport Bratislava team.

But the transitions between the cars was a challenge for Ptaszek.

Hubert Ptaszek (POL) competes in Rally Monaco in the Skoda. He would take some points away in the first round // Please go to www.redbullcontentpool.com for further information. //
Hubert Ptaszek (POL) competes in Rally Monaco in the Skoda. He would take some points away in the first round // Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool // Please go to www.redbullcontentpool.com for further information. //

“The problem is these cars are not looking and driving the same. There is a huge difference in the driving style in them. It is really hard to adapt. When you jump into them, it is hard to focus on the job.”

“The problem is these cars are not looking and driving the same. There is a huge difference in the driving style in them. It is really hard to adapt. When you jump into them, it is hard to focus on the job.”

“First you have to focus on how you drive and then focus on the job. For sure you lose a little bit. But I had a really good season.  At the beginning I was not fighting at the front – but this is normal.”

By Australia, he was beginning to show his potential. Going through the event without having to Rally 2. While he did have some issues, he was happy with his overall pace – against a driver with a lot more experience, a lot more seat time and a better sorted car.

“We try to drive fast, if we don’t have any trouble were one second per kilometre or less behind Lappi – for our first time here, this is ok.”

He harbours a desire to continue in the WRC2 Championship but deals are still to be put together, money to be found, contracts to be signed.

But he does hope some of his Polish competitors can come to the world stage.  Rating the WRC Poland as fast if not as challenging as the Finnish rally.

But he wants the challenge.  A step back to a regional or national championship is not at the front of his mind.

“I think the WRC events are the hardest in the scale. The World Championship – you cannot imagine something harder. I hope more Polish drivers will come! They are faster like Kaijo or Kubica for sure.”

Hubert Ptaszek looks at a damaged tyre on the way to a podium in Rally Australia // Photo: Sam Tickell //
Hubert Ptaszek looks at a damaged tyre on the way to a podium in Rally Australia // Photo: Sam Tickell //

“We cannot do more at the moment. We have to drive and learn. This season was my first in WRC2 so I still have to learn a lot for sure.”

“We cannot do more at the moment. We have to drive and learn. This season was my first in WRC2 so I still have to learn a lot for sure.”

He also isn’t just interested in a few podiums. While this may have been a dream at the start of the year, Ptaszek aims higher, also knowing he has time on his side.

“We are still young blood in the WRC Championship.”

“I am quite happy but when you get faster and faster you get a little bit more hungry for something big.”

Game on.

Hubert Ptaszek (POL) On a charge in Argentina // Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool // P-20160423-00046 // Usage for editorial use only // Please go to www.redbullcontentpool.com for further information. //
Hubert Ptaszek (POL) On a charge in Argentina // Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool // P-20160423-00046 // Usage for editorial use only // Please go to www.redbullcontentpool.com for further information. //

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By Sam Tickell, December 2016

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