Vít Smejkal is a newcomer in TCR Eastern Europe. He bought a Cupra from last year’s champion, and the second round of the season at Red Bull Ring was Smejkal’s first event with a TCR car. He had a really good run under the ADITIS Racing team banner and scored points for eighth and tenth places.
How do you rate your debut weekend in TCR at Red Bull Ring? Did you fulfil your expectations?
It was an amazing experience. I know Red Bull Ring from the simulator, but in reality, its character is at a higher level. Some parts of the track are quite difficult and you find yourself braking from high speeds into uneasy turns. I arrived there as a novice and, since my first practice sessions, I have been building up my speed step by step. Since we found an ideal car setup, it was then only up to me to be faster. The opponents are tough and they aren’t afraid of contacts. Overall, I’m very satisfied with our first TCR Eastern Europe weekends and [the championship] has exceeded our expectations.
What was the hardest part of your debut?
With the exception of one short test drive, I didn’t drive the car properly, so I had to learn how to drive the car with the new setup, which was way different than my testing setup. Practice sessions at the Red Bull Ring were held together with faster GT cars and they filled my rear-view mirrors quite often, so there was quite a lot of traffic on the track. But traffic aside, everything went well with the team and the car, so I was continuously gaining experience.
And what about your start from the first row in the second race? Were you nervous?
It’s an amazing feeling to stand in the first row as a novice at a place like the Red Bull Ring in the TCR Eastern Europe championship. Of course, I was thinking a lot, my nervousness was increasing with each flash of starting light, signalling the countdown to the start. My goal was simple: make a good start and enter the first turn cleanly. Unfortunately, on the way out of the first turn, one opponent hit me on the front left wheel, which affected the rest of my race.
Team ADITIS Racing looked after your car. What advice did you get from team boss and fellow driver Radim Adámek and second teammate Bartosz Groszek?
The cooperation and atmosphere in ADITIS Racing were really pleasant throughout the whole weekend. Mechanics took care of the car perfectly, both before and during the events. Team manager “Mirzza” gave us drivers advice about driving, braking, and where we could be faster. So we gained information from each other, and I was learning from and getting closer to a few experienced drivers. It’s a shame that Radim, who started from pole-position in the second race, was hit by an opponent. He had a great race and a good shot at achieving a nice result.
How did the cooperation with ADITIS Racing come about?
I know Radim from Carbonia Cup, and I received a good recommendation for him and his team. After considering the possibilities of cooperation, Radim called me with an offer, suggesting that I could drive with them as a third car. His team has experience in TCR, so we agreed quite quickly that we would give it a try and see what such a cooperation would bring about. I have to say that the whole team worked at the top-most level and that that work is reflected in the Red Bull Ring results, and that they deserve my greatest thanks.
You finished eighth and tenth at Red Bull Ring, so how are you planning your next appearance in TCR Eastern Europe? Are you going to race there for rest of the season?
I want race in two more events this year. One will definitely be at the home track, Most. I’m really looking forward to it and I hope that we’ll have nice results again – this time in front of our fans and sponsors. But for now, we are going to prepare for Slovakiaring and we’ll do our best to make our results even better than those we achieved in Austria.