Enthusiasm fuels our team, says Žarko Knego

Enthusiasm fuels our team, says Žarko Knego

5. 8. 2022 0 News , , ,

Croatian racer Žarko Knego experienced an unfortunate weekend during the fourth round of the TCR Eastern Europe series in Grobnik.

Although it’s true that Grobnik is his home circuit, the journey he has to take to the track is much longer than it is for other drivers and teams. “Even though it’s my home race, it’s about 700 kilometres from my house, so it’s a long trip for me, meaning that the limitation for testing there is very big,” said Knego during the weekend at Grobnik, where he displayed a really good pace. He qualified fourth and managed to get as high as second in the course of the race. Unfortunately, some technical issues put a stop to his efforts and he had to retire. His hopes for a second race were high, but that race never happened.

“The fuel pump overheated and stopped working at some point. The car wasn’t working as it should and had multiple issues. Eventually it stopped working and I parked the car. Bad luck,” said Knego, who scored his first points at Poznaň. “It was my first race there and it took me some time to get used to it. But it was an ok weekend. However, I did some great racing in Austria, where I started sixth and stayed in high places, but eventually the same problem happened as now – [an issue with] the fuel pump. I didn’t finish either race, but they were my best races so far, in which I didn’t score points.”

Knego is part of the Auto Klub Dubrovnik team, which is the oldest and most successful club in Dubrovnik and has its own TCR department. “Actually, we have four TCR cars in our club, but I’m the only one who is competing outside of Croatia. Our team here,” Knego looked around his garage, “has four permanent members. Me, an engineer, and two additional members. Another one or two are changing. And the work is based on enthusiasm; it fuels our team.”

Enthusiasm is also part of Knego’s life, which is divided between racing and family business. He doesn’t have the time or the financial resources to be a full-time racing driver because he also loves his job. “I have a family company and I employ 45 people. So when I’m done driving on the track, I open my computer and start working, making phone calls and so on. I’m not like the other guys, who concentrate only on driving, but I’m fine with this situation. I like my job, I like racing. I’m also happy in TCR Eastern Europe. It’s a serious championship, but not as expensive as WTCR or TCR Europe.”

There are two rounds remaining in the championship – one at Slovakia Ring in Slovakia and another at Most in the Czech Republic. Knego is planning to be at both race weekends. The original idea was to do a whole season and he is sticking to it so far. But it’s not easy for him, mainly because of sponsors. “If you look at my car, it’s sponsored by my company, or partners’ or friends’ companies. We hardly have any sponsorship help in Croatia. It’s very hard to find anyone here. Our country is focused on tourism, not industry, which would make it easier to find sponsors. But it is what it is and I’m working on getting some support for next season. Although, in order to get some support, we need to get some results. It’s kind of a catch-22,” said Knego, finishing our talk at Grobnik.