Jáchym Galáš definitely can’t say that his debut season in TCR was not successful. The GT2 Motorsport driver managed to win a couple of races in the overall TCR standings and also in the endurance TC-3500 class. He finished in 2nd place in the ESET TCR championship and next year, he would like to get one step further.
Jáchym, this year’s ESET V4 Cup championship brought you several achievements. You have finished 2nd in the ESET TCR standings, you have won several races in the TC-3500 category and also in the overall TCR category. And you also finished 3rd in the Juniors championship. But how would you personally rate the season?
I’m very happy with the results, especially considering it was my first season in the TCR and just my second season in car racing. The ESET TCR championship was a big challenge for me this year because we had no previous experience with the car. But the engineers, mechanics and I have quickly learnt how to work with this car and we were able to fight for the win in the 2nd event of the season already. I’m really excited about the overall 2nd place. And it means a lot to be able to beat Fulín – Wittke in the endurance racing. And I’ve been also nominated to the Zlatý Volant award. Amazingly, that I’ve achieved all this as just a 17-year-old.
Your 2019 achievements are even more impressive considering it was your first ever season behind the wheel of a TCR car. Your results even suggest you had no trouble switching from the Renault Clio Cup car. But how difficult it really was for you to switch to the Volkswagen Golf GTI?
As I’ve mentioned before, it didn’t take me long to get used to the car. We even went to test the Golf for three days in Spring already. The first two drives were not very comfortable for me as it was the first time I got behind the wheel after a long winter and suddenly I was in a car that had over 100 horsepower more than Clio. But after that, I was able to set quick and consistent lap times.
What is your favourite moment of the season?
My favourite moment would be most definitely the last race at Masarykův okruh in Brno, where I managed to keep Dušan Kouřil and Milovan Vesnič behind me for the whole race. They kept attacking for almost the whole time, but then Kouřil made a mistake, which also cost Vesnič some time and that gave me a chance to build some gap. And then I managed to keep it that way until the end and I ended the season with a win.
And what about the least favourite moment of the season?
Probably my least favourite moment of the whole season would be the 2nd race at Red Bull Ring. When after a long battle with Tomáš Pekař and Dušan Kouřil I finally took the lead and started to build a gap, I got a puncture on my front right tyre with just 3 minutes to go. I lost my first win there.
You had your ESET TCR championship debut at Hungaroring back in April. And it was quite spectacular because the series shared its grid with TCR Europe in both races. How did it feel to be on the same grid with big names like Josh Files, Maťo Homola, Aurélien Comte, Luca Filippi or Gianni Morbidelli?
It was a great experience for me because I had some good racing in TCR Europe, so I gained lots of experience. On the other hand, I didn’t enjoy combining the ESET TCR with TCR Europe, because I didn’t race against the guys I was supposed to. And when you have two different races in one, there are often situations when you find yourself battling with someone, who is actually ten cars away from you, cars that are in a different race than you.
As we’ve already mentioned before, you managed to finish 2nd in your first ever ESET TCR season. Only Milovan Vesnič was better. Do you think that racing against such an experienced Serbian driver has given you something?
Vesnič is a very experienced driver who rarely makes mistakes and is difficult to pass. But if you manage to beat such driver, it’s always much more valuable. I have no doubts that racing against him has given me something because I had to learn how to be patient and think ahead, which I think is a very valuable experience.
And how would you rate the ESET TCR championship? What kind of future does it have?
To me personally, the ESET TCR championship has a very big value, because there are some very fast and experienced drivers like Milovan Vesnič, who I fought against in the championship battle. Then also Tomáš Pekař, last year’s Renault Clio Cup Central Europe champion or Martin Ryba, who has valuable experience from the TCR Europe series. I see a positive future for the ESET TCR because it’s a very prestigious series that is visiting some famous tracks like Hungaroring or Red Bull Ring. And it’s much cheaper than the TCR Europe.
The next question is about your plans for the next season. Are we going to see you in the ESET TCR series again? To try to win the title? Or are you thinking about another championship?
I’m sure that I’ll race in this championship again next season and I’m going to try to win the title. I don’t have a single reason to go to a different series.
Michal Makeš, who managed to win the last two Renault Clio Cup seasons and beat you in 2018, is another driver thinking about moving to the TCR. Are you looking forward to battling him on the racetrack again? Would you have any kind of advice for him to adapt to the new class quicker?
I look forward to battling Michal, as we’ve always fought hard but fair, which is the best kind of racing for me. There is not much I can tell him about adaption to the new car. The driving style is exactly the same for both series and I think that he will get used to it very quickly, as TCR has a front-wheel-drive just like Renault. The TCR cars are pretty much faster and better-looking Clios.