Q & A: Panizzi on his first day back

After his first loop of stages for two years, AUTOSPORT caught up with Proton's new signing Gilles Panizzi, who is making his Intercontinental Rally Challenge debut in Sanremo

Q & A: Panizzi on his first day back

Despite his absence, and his current 20th place in the order, Panizzi's trademark enthusiasm for all things rally remains utterly undimmed.

Q. How does it feel to be back?

Gilles Panizzi: Fantastic. I don't think you remember how much you have missed something until you haven't done it for a while. The rally is a big part of my life, it's very nice to be back and to be back on a rally I enjoy and have so many friends on.

Q. And what about this deal with Proton?

GP: It's nice, a nice car. I like, I like the car. Yes, yes, there are places where we can work on the car, but for the basic car it is good. You know, we have the wheel at every corner and it's low. This might sound strange, but these are the most important parts of the dynamic, you need nothing ahead of the wheel and nothing behind and you want it almost on the ground.

Q. What can you do on the rally? Can you win?

GP: Me, win? Phew, no, no. I'm not here for the win. I didn't drive for two days, I didn't test the car for more than two days, so, no I'm here to learn with Proton. Win? No. Me? No. I am not Jesus, I cannot walk on the water.

Q. Are you looking to next season?

GP: Yes, for sure. This is why I am here. To learn about the car and the team and to look what we can do for the next season. I'd like this to be the start of a new relationship.

It's nice, we have the big people from Malaysia from Proton here in the service park and it's interesting to meet them and to talk to them about the future and what we can achieve together. For sure, this team and this car can have the very big future together.

Q. And how was the first loop?

GP: Okay. It was good. Like I say, I learn, learn, learn all the time. I want to know what is the car doing. Why is it like this and not that? This is nice, yes, yes, no - I don't like that so much; we change here, we make an adjust there and then we can see what is the car doing. For me now, I have to make some change, but this is what I expect. This, for me, is the new car.

Q. A difficult start for your team-mate Niall McShea?

GP: Yes. I saw him in service, it's a shame, it's tough for him. We've worked well together, he's a nice guy and as a driver this is not the easy situation when you stop so early.

Q. But good to be back in Sanremo?

GP: Yes, of course. It's a beautiful rally with some fantastic roads. I like, I like.

Andreucci takes Sanremo lead

Previous article

Andreucci takes Sanremo lead

Next article

Basso blasts into Sanremo lead

Basso blasts into Sanremo lead
Load comments
Ireland deserves a WRC round Plus

Ireland deserves a WRC round

Drivers are in accordance: Ireland should be in the World Rally Championship. DAVID EVANS followed the Circuit of Ireland and was left with no doubt that the drivers are right

Apr 23, 2014
Kubica's rally to recovery Plus

Kubica's rally to recovery

Robert Kubica's rally speed is obviously there - in abundance - but he's got to stop crashing. Charles Bradley went to the Azores to get the lowdown on the ex-F1 star's comeback trail

May 3, 2013
Why Kubica can win on ERC debut Plus

Why Kubica can win on ERC debut

Former GP winner Robert Kubica makes his international comeback this week in the Canaries Rally. And David Evans reckons he'll win aboard a Citroen DS3 RRC

Mar 21, 2013
Rallying's new era keeps the best of the old Plus

Rallying's new era keeps the best of the old

As the IRC to ERC transformation takes effect in Austria, David Evans is excited that the IRC's promotional strengths will carry over - but still wishes the WRC could get some of that magic

Jan 3, 2013
Farewell IRC, long live ERC Plus

Farewell IRC, long live ERC

As the Intercontinental Rally Challenge prepares for its swansong in Cyprus, David Evans recalls the shortlived series' heyday - and looks ahead to its European successor

Nov 1, 2012
The 2011 IRC season review Plus

The 2011 IRC season review

The fifth Intercontinental Rally Challenge was the best yet, and it was Skoda UK driver Andreas Mikkelsen who emerged as champion from a tense five-way shootout at the season finale. Matt Beer reviews the season

Nov 22, 2011
Who to watch in the Monte Carlo Rally Plus

Who to watch in the Monte Carlo Rally

This year is the Monte Carlo Rally's centenary and, just as in recent years, there's no shortage of World Rally Championship stars turning up to give the IRC regulars a run for their money

Jan 18, 2011
The top 10 IRC drivers of 2010 Plus

The top 10 IRC drivers of 2010

The competition didn't run as deep as it might have, but there was plenty of fight at the front with six of our top 10 winning rallies during the season. Matt Beer puts them in order

Nov 29, 2010