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NATIONAL : ERC: 57 crews in rally of Bulgaria - 16 June 2004 - 15:42
Interview with belgian pilot Bruno Thiry

57 crews will start in the 35th rally Bulgaria. This was told by the head technical delegate Dimitar Aliokov at the first press conference. All 57 cars which were at the scrutineering are allowed to entry the race. The entry requests were 76 but due to different problems, one of which was the bad weather, 19 of the crews didnít manage to arrive in Borovetz.

“ I canít remember worse weather till now” Ė said Mr. Aliokov Ė “It made it difficult for us but though didnít interrupt our work. We managed to start and to finish our scrutineering just in time. It is true that all the written records went wet but it is all right now they are drying up”.

Bruno Thiry and Nicolas Gilsoul continue their European campaign during the coming weekend in the Bulgaria Rally. A brief conversation with the CitroŽn C2 Super 1600 driver, a few hours prior to the start of his Bulgarian race.

Bruno, it seems that you appreciate this race very much?
"Indeed I do. No doubt that my former experiences has contributed to my appreciation of this race. I will be driving this rally for the 4th time, I've won here twice before. My first victory goes back to the 2000 edition. At that time, I drove the CitroŽn Xsara kit-car in the European championship. My second victory was last year."

So you know the race quite well. How would you describe the stages?
"The 2004 edition is almost identical to last year's. The roads look a bit like those we had to tackle in Poland. One big difference: the average speed won't be so high because of the Bulgarian hillside. The roads are very often very wide. So you almost have to drive as if you were driving on a racetrack. We tackle some heights, but we don't drive in the mountains. Another characteristic of the race: on Saturday we drive the stages in one direction, on Sunday we drive the same stages in the opposite direction. The brakes have a hard time, because the track will be dirty. It is already very slippery, because of the rainfall during the last couple of days.

Will the weather conditions have a decisive influence on the race?
"Definitely! The locals told me that the weather conditions can change very quickly; the weather never stays the same for long. We may start on slicks for the dry conditions but we might have to drive in the pouring rain during three special stages. Personally, I would love to do the race in the same conditions as last year: blistering heat for the whole of the race. On dry roads, I think I can handle the C2 Super 1600 entirely. If it should rain, the car's handling will be totally unknown to me. In Poland we did two stages in the pouring rain. But since then, I haven't had the opportunity to get accustomed to the CitroŽn's behavior in the wet."

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