Michal Makeš admits he didn´t expect he will be as fast as he was in the opening two rounds. He said that and much more in our interview.
The first two rounds of 2021 TCR Eastern Europe season are done. You are second in the championship standings with loss of 17 points to Tomáš Pekař. How are you happy so far?
Personally, I didn´t expect to have such a pace right from the start of the season. Regular podium results and one victory are motivating me and my team for the next races. I´m happy we are on the right way. The races are close and I gain a lot of experience every race, especially in the second races of the weekend with reverse grid.
You achieved your premiere TCR Eastern Europe race victory in Race 1 at Slovakiaring. What does it mean for you?
It´s a great success for me. I didn´t make any mistake in this race. I drove stable times and I increased my lead every lap. The victory was a target for me before the season and I hope I will achieve more victories.
As I already mentioned, you are only behind Tomáš Pekař in the championship standings. What do you think about Tomáš as a racing driver?
Tomáš is a very experienced driver and is a great man. I think anyone in the Czech Republic has more experience with front wheel drive cars than him. I´m very happy he races in complete TCR Eastern Europe season this year, because I´ve wanted to compare myself to him for a long time. I hope we will have proper battles in next races.
I know you don´t want to speak about your championship chances so much untill the half of the season. But at the moment, do you believe you can defeat Tomáš in the championship fight?
It will be a very difficult to get closer to Tomáš with loss of 17 points. He won all races except for Race 1 at Slovakiaring, where he made a mistake, so he shows his experience so far. But I will definitely do my best to get closer to him. I´m able to drive stably at the top so far and I will do by best to continue this way.
We have only drivers of Cupra Leon TCR car on the first three places of the championship standings. In addition, Cupra Leon TCR car won every race this year so far. How do you explain that? Do you think it´s only a coincidence and the main reason is drivers rather than car or do you think there is any other reason according to you?
I definitely agree with the main reason of that are drivers. As I already mentioned, Tomáš (Pekař – editorial note) is very experienced driver and he won three races because he is fast. I manage to finish stably at the top, because we took advantage from winter at most and we learned to drive the car. Sebastian (Steibel – editorial note) showed his experience from TCR Germany a he is able to get stable results
I think everyone expected Milovan (Vesnić – editorial note) will be higher in the championship standings. But unfortunately, he had a bad luck. In Hungary, he came out worse from our collision in Race 1. In Race 2, he wasn´t at the right time in the right place. At Slovakiaring, he didn´t finish because of technical issues and started from the back of the grid in Race 2. But I definitely believe he will at the top in Poland.
What do you expect from the third round in Poznan, Poland?
It will definitely be a challenge to learn new track. But I´m looking forward. It will definitely shuffle the field and we will see if the drivers will be able to quickly adapt to new circuit.
You will start for the first time in Poznan. How does look like your preparation?
I´m training intensively on a simulator, as before every race. The track is really fast and you have to just send it and trust the car in several corners. It´s similar as a turn two at Slovakiaring, for example. It will definitely be a fun.
We have also two Polish drivers on the grid this year. They are Lukasz Stolarczyk and Tomasz Rzepecki. Stolarczyk already achieved the podium result in Race 2 at Hungaroring, where he finished 2nd. Rzepecki achieved his best result in Race 1 at Slovakiaring, where he was 4th. Do you believe they can take advantage of home track and join the fight for the victory?
They will definitely be in front. Their knowledge of the track is definitely an advantage for them. It will all depend on how much testing will take place before the races. In addition, you can try something new in every lap and you can find the limits. The more laps we go, the faster we will be.
Do you think the Poznan round will be different than previous rounds in any way? TCR Eastern Europe will race for the first time there…
I think that we won´t see any big chance. I expect the races will be interesting as the previous two weekends, especially Race 2 with reverse grid. Of course, It will be the brand new track for the most of the grid, so we will see how the drivers will deal with it.
Your last year opponent in the fight for the title of TCR Eastern Europe Junior champion Jáchym Galáš made his debut in TCR Europe at Slovakiaring. Do you also consider the switch to TCR Europe, for example, for the future?
Obviously, I would like to try the races of some higher TCR series, but it´s not realistic for me at the moment. I need a much higher budget for participation in such a series like TCR Europe. TCR Eastern Europe isn´t a cheap thing too. I would need a big support of sponsors for the racing in Europe.
The competition is higher there because the drivers test regularly at the various circuits almost all year round and every kilometer plays a role. After that, you exactly know what to change on the car and how in order to get the most from it in the races. You are able to drive with a minimum of mistakes and to find the last hundredths. Thanks to that, you gained a few tenths per lap.
Opening photo: Petr Frýba