The Czech team Janík Motorsport is going to have the largest field in the opening round of TCR Eastern Europe. Two Hyundai Elantra N TCRs will be driven by Maťo Homola and Jáchym Galáš. Petr Semerád and team boss Václav Janík will be racing with Hyundai i30 N TCRs.
We are at the beginning of the 2022 season. How intense are the preparations?
The preparations are hectic because, in addition to circuits, we also participate in hill climb races. For circuit racing, we have four cars – two Hyundai i30 N TCRs and two new Hyundai Elantra N TCRs, which we bought from Hyundai Motorsport and which will be transported from Germany straight to Hungary for the first training session at Hungaroring.
Maťo Homola and Jáchym Galáš are going to participate in TCR Europe again, however the first round of TCR Eastern Europe is an opportunity for them to get to know their new cars. So what’s the strategy? Are you going for results, or can we expect safer drives from them?
It should be safe driving, but you know how it is sometimes… The race starts and everything changes. We will evaluate our strategy and goals after the first rounds of practice. There is always the possibility of a problem occurring or some unexpected difficulties that could prevent us from racing. After all, the cars are raw and we will take them straight from Germany to Hungary, where our mechanics will work on them all night. We are not aiming for a win at any cost. It’s important for us to gather data from the car and from the new tyres, and to be ready for the inaugural TCR Europe race.
You have achieved two podiums, including a victory in the last season of TCR Europe. What are your goals for the 2022 season?
We will do everything to be as far ahead as possible. We represent Hyundai Motorsport, which is great for us, but also comes with the responsibility of achieving solid results. We would like to follow up on the second half of the 2022 season, in which we fought for positions in the Top 5 and managed to get a podium. We would be really happy with such results.
You and Petr Semerád will drive Hyundai i30 N TCRs at Hungaroring. What made you want to try a touring car?
I just wanted to explore the touring car world. As I said, we have some hill climb and circuit races, so there are some date clashes, but besides Hungaroring, we would like to take part in the Red Bull Ring, Slovakia Ring, and Most events. Hungaroring will be a test for me, determining whether I can and should race with touring cars.
Prototype cars and touring cars are very different. For example, prototypes have rear-wheel drive, while touring cars have front-wheel drive. How difficult will this change in driving technique be for you?
The last car I drove with front-wheel drive was a Škoda Felicia at some hill climb race, so it’s been a long time. However, the more I drive such a car, the better I will understand it. We have great guys on the team who can help me and to whom I can compare myself. Fortunately, I’m used to changing cars during the season, so I don’t think it will be an issue.
What result would please you and make you say, “Let’s go full-time in TCR Eastern Europe”?
It would be good to finish somewhere in the middle of the field. From there, we would move forward and improve. Although our priority is TCR Europe, if the following events don’t clash, we may reconsider our plans and complete more TCR Eastern Europe races. We’ll see after Hungaroring. Our goal there is to enjoy it and then evaluate the possibilities.
Your teammate will be Petr Semerád. How are you looking forward to that cooperation?
I am glad that Petr will be with us. I think he’s a very good guy and he definitely deserves a chance. I understand that his priority will be the rally, but I’m looking forward to Hungaroring to see what we can do together. Maybe he’ll join us at the Red Bull Ring. And if not, we have some other drivers. Everything is still open.
So TCR Eastern Europe could serve as a driver’s “scholarship” for TCR Europe. It sounds good, doesn’t it?
It’s a nice idea, and if it worked out that way, it would be amazing. We have established an excellent collaboration with Hyundai Motor Czech and Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Czech in Nošovice, and we have already achieved a lot together, so we will see. It would be a great way to train new drivers.