Driver POV… Ritsona Hillclimb 26-27/06/2021

On the weekend of June 26-27, we participate at Ritsona Hillclimb after 2 years of inactivity… The unbearable heat bothered us, but also some technical problems occurred ..
The familiar festive atmosphere in the pit area that we loved for years, put us in the mood from Saturday morning. After all this time you could see in the eyes of all, drivers, engineers, spectators waiting finally to relive another Ritsona, the “Mecca” of Greek hillclimbs!

On Saturday morning, however, the problems began… .beyond the heat. We were asked to do a rapid test, otherwise we would not be allowed to start! like all engineers and attendants, to be allowed to stay in the pits!
Is reasonable? yes, but no one had thought that doctors was set down at the intersection about 3 km from the pits, where we waited patiently in the sun to complete the rapid test process to finally start the heat with big delay.
In the competitive part: The first and most important personal conclusion is the lack from abstaining from racing…
1st heat and I am out of rythm dispite the update of “Laurent” (the way I called my 106 rallye). I didn’t have confidense and the brand new slick tyres they increased it.
…at some point the handle of the lever broke and a 2nd entered instead of a 4th, I said “I broke everything”, but the Peugeot survived!
Fine, let’s go for the 2nd heat. I start furiously, a little more aggresive, the tires start to have grip but on fast section before the “elenit” (k7 to k8) the car making cut-offs and the engine stalls…
After a while engine is running again… and I try just to finish slowly…
From there on, my engineers take over – George Politis and Achilleas Garagounis – to whom I owe them a Huge Thank you for searching, finding and fixing the problem. Was the altenator and they change it.

I mention all this to say that, just saying how you did that time or how you changed, for example, an altenator is ok, and so what? But how did you experience all this? Exhausted from fatigue and the heat all day from 7.30 am and the afternoon must to do this too! And of course I’m talking about my engineers.
After all this we was deserve a relaxing evening on hotel roof overlooking Chalkidas bridge.
Sunday morning we starting in different mood! Always the race is activating you differently! 1ο σκέλος, όλα καλά το αμάξι πάει μια χαρά, πατάει καλά, κρατάει, απλά εγώ δεν έχω το ρυθμό που θα ήθελα και δεν εκμεταλλεύομαι όλη τη δύναμη του μοτέρ. Back to pits, looking the incar video, discussion and remarks on things I need to correct my driving style.
At the same time, the heat has become unbearable, the spectators leave for the beaches, we drink infinite water and we can’t cool down and we just wait for the race end….

In the 2nd heat -although tired of all this- I enter more determined and aggressive, having in my mind the mistakes of the previous heat. of course on the intensity of the race many times we inadvertently make the same mistakes, thinking that we are going better. I start by spinning – on the limiter – at least to enjoy the lion’s power -hahahaha- I try to keep pace with the closed sectors k2 & k3 turns and then flatout at the fast sectors and finally at the “drivers turn”… as long as I’m not afraid because it wants big…

The 2’38” a cold number among many others does not tell me anything ….
The road matters…

Αριστείδης Οιχαλιώτης