Petr Čížek has left Petr Fulín’s team after seven seasons and headed to Expres Auto, where he will not only be a teammate of Vít Smejkal, but both will be in charge of the team´s operations. Čížek, who finished third in the final standings last year, expects a completely different season than the last one.
Peter, after years with Petr Fulín, you are now a member of Expres Auto. Why did you choose Vít Smejkal’s team?
It’s simple, his offer was simply the best. Moreover, we live not far from each other, so we can practice coordination meetings on a personal basis. Vit and I have been meeting at various races and test days for a years now, so I knew, at least partly, what I was getting into.
You are joining the team as a Cupra driver and partly as a manager. How will you divide the responsibilities and managerial duties with Vít? Or who will be in charge of what?
Yes, that’s right, more or less it’s all about half and half, we try to do as many things together as possible and if we can’t, we always inform each other right away about what someone did, with whom and where he negotiated and what the result was. But at the races themselves we want to concentrate on driving, so the agenda will be handled by designated team member.
You have been driving for Fulín’s team for seven seasons. How hard was to leave the team? Especially after such a successful last season?
It was not an easy decision. After all, Petr taught me a lot and over the years we have developed a personal friendship. I’ll be happy to continue to meet him in the paddock, I respect him as a competitor, mentor and as a person.
How hard do you think it will be to defend last year’s third place in the driver standings?
I’m sure it’s always hard to follow up on a success, but I don’t think like that, I don’t get caught up in that at all. Next season will definitely be a completely different, with many variables at play, from the starting field, to the technique of the opponents, and also luck will be important.
What do you think about the new track on the calendar – Oschersleben? Have you ever raced there before?
We are really looking forward to Germany, it will be a new track in the championship, so a challenge. We used to test there in preparation for the Octavia Cup with an older Leon Supercopa. We would like to go to Oschersleben before the season for some testing and we will also try the track on the simulator.
Will you be concentrating solely on TCR Eastern Europe, or are you planning starts elsewhere?
The main plan will definitely be TCR EE, we will concentrate on that, we don’t want to play second fiddle there. But if there is a desire and some money left, we will not be against a one-off start in another championship, but we don’t have a concrete idea yet.