Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Chapter 10: Mea culpa

I have had questions about what my mistakes were, over the years, from people on motorsportforums.com.  Here it goes:

  • The mental side of things.  I had a big problem getting into it right from the start.  I went and lost a half a minute on the first stage because I was asleep...Which made me angry, and therefore awake for the second one.  The thing is that if you lose, like me, right from the start it's usually downhill from there on.  I play competition table tennis these days.  For this sport, which is super fast and on/off all the time, you need to be focused on every point.  So now at 32 years of age I got this finally covered... 
  • Ever heard of the 3 year plan?  I have...back in december of 2002.  This was my first mistake, to listen to that pile of garbage about "taking it slow the first year, blah blah blah..."  Taking it slow, for me, meant that I did not crash much, sure, but it also meant that I wasn't trying to look for the limit, which in turn meant that I was not able to determine the right setups for the car, was not able to take correct notes, etc.  Oh yes, all these things like setup and notes work specifically if you attack, otherwise forget it.
  • Jumping too quickly into a WRC car.  I should have spent a couple seasons with a Saxo kit car, out of the spotlight, or something like that in local championships.  Learn all the basics before jumping in the big pot.  I was too impatient.  Ok if you have an open check book, and can afford 5 or 6 seasons in a WRC car then who knows...  What Ogier did is the way to go, in my opinion.  The problem with the "3 year plan" or whatever you want to call it is: if and when you actually start going quick one day...nobody cares anymore.  You are already old news.  I have personal experience of this when, back in Sweden 2005, on leg 3,  I was 2nd on the road behind Duval.  There was fresh snow and we both had this little competition going on.  He had fallen back and was trying to overhaul me, meanwhile I had a thing going on with Ekström for 10th place or 11th place, I don't remember exactly, which I missed out on by one tenth, by the way...  Well, it turns out I could actually keep up with Duval.  We did the "Rammen" stage and just before the next one, which I think was "Malta", his co-driver comes up to me, laughing, and says: "...we got this call from Frequelin and he yelled at us because we are going slow..." So here we have this boss who, seeing his driver having equal stage times as me, automatically assumes it's Duval who is slow and nothing else.  I can't blame him, really.  The reason is that I had already been there too long, without results.  Ridiculous and big mistake.  
  • Consistency.  My main problem.  When I did find some speed, it was difficult to keep going trouble free.  I don't know if I could have gone past this problem.  
  • Keeping my mouth shut.  I was a bit of a "speak your mind, think later, kinda guy"... Doesn't go well with the politics of the sport.


  1. Hello Antony.
    In 2005 one of Ford works drivers was Roman Kresta. How he was? He´s my favourite driver since I started to follow rallying. Any interesting memories with him?
    Thank you for the blog, really cool!
    Regards, Mark.

  2. I just had a professional relationship with him, as team mate. As far as that is concerned the guy was very serious and pleasant to be with.

  3. Ok, understand. Thank your for your feedback Antony.

  4. Order is Heaven's first law.

  5. Hello Antony,

    I'm a bit late to the party but I've read all your posts with interest. My questions are related to your father's manager role in your career.

    You mention how important it is to discuss the drive deal in details and to have someone listening behind the scenes. In hindsight, was your father filling those shoes?

    Did he know that privateers were given worse cars?

    Besides, in chapter 1, you mention finding out about the differences in cars during the first year. Weren't you tempted to get a deal with a different team for years 2 and 3?

    Bien le bonjour de Paris,

    I am not trying to sound harsh, I merely find it interesting that even you, leveraging your father's rally experience, weren't able to avoid the pitfalls.

  6. Hi Anis,
    In hindsight we always have 20/20 vision.. I could give you philosophical answers etc. All I can say is my dad did everything he could to help me achieve my dream. I was extremely lucky to get to drive a WRC car for 3 years in the World Championship, next to guys like Loeb, Solberg, Grönholm and the list goes on.
    I try to look at those days with humility. Back then, when we were in the moment, things looked different. It's like having tunnel vision and when you are out of it... it starts to make sense and come together.
    On aurait pu en parler en français..lol