Being the first ever woman to win the WRC is a great success. It is clear that you have been an inspiration to many women, but so far no other woman was able to win a WRC rally. Does it ever make you feel sad that no other woman ever won in WRC after you?
Sad is not the right word, but it is disappointing of course because I still believe that if I did it, more women could do it too. To be able to compete and succeed at the highest level you need the same conditions and materials; the support of a manufacturer, the right car, the right team, and the right time is also important. It’s not so easy to get that opportunity but it is not impossible. I got the chance and you have to grab it, so I really hope we can find some new success stories with female rally drivers as there is already talent out there.
-What did you feel on the day when you left all the male drivers behind? How did they react?
I didn’t think so much about them, I thought more about myself. It gives you more confidence and motivation because when you manage to win one event, you believe so strongly that you can win again.
-What kind of difficulties did you face as a female rally driver and how did you overcome them?
I’m sure I faced all the same difficulties and concerns every competitor did. It’s not easy to be the best and I always pushed myself to be at the top. I was very lucky to get the confidence of manufacturers at every level so this helped.
-You were one of the supporters of Turkey’s entrance to the WRC calendar. What was the thing that impressed you the most about the stages in Turkey?
The variety of roads and landscape is something very different and really interesting for the Championship. The route has really nice technical stages that are an ever-changing mix of wide, narrow, smooth or rough; it has everything and this variety could make for an exceptional gravel rally.
-What are you comments on motor sports in Turkey?
I dont really know enough to comment about the whole of motor sport in Turkey. I attended the WRC event in Antalya but don’t remember seeing too many spectators. I hope that will change and that the WRC will be really interesting for the Turkish people.
-What do you feel when you are behind the steering wheel of a car?
I still like driving and I’m never fed up behind the wheel, but today the car is more about transportation than enjoyment of particular roads.
-Would you have liked to compete in WRC nowadays?
No, I never regret anything and always look to the future. I am very happy doing my work with the FIA and trying to continue improving safety in the sport. It is enough of a motivation for me.
-When looking back at your rallying career do you have any regrets or moments you say ‘”I wish it was….’’?
No, none. What is done is history. I never look back, it’s always about today and the future.
-What would you suggest to young people, especially women, interested in motor sport?
To a man or woman it’s the same; you need motivation and with that nothing is impossible if you want it enough. It’s not easy, but it’s about chasing your dream.
-Which were the stages that challenged you the most in your career?
There are so many different rallies and stages it was a challenge everywhere, but I suppose I always preferred the rough stages as you had to be tactical and mix caution with speed.
-Would you share with us the morst awkward memory you have on motor sport?
I would probably say Pikes Peak, when I had to fight against difficult conditions to even start the race. But it increased my motivation, so much so that I won!