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Sarrazin: “It’s a very good chapter for me now”

Focus | Interviews

  • Sarrazin has a great history in rallying
  • 'Mr Versatile' has competed in many different categories of racing

Venturi Formula E driver Stephane Sarrazin recently debuted his own team, Sarrazin Motorsport, at the Tour de Corsica in the World Rally Championship. Noor Amylia Hilda caught up with the Frenchman following the event.

He’s nicknamed Mr Versatile in the paddock and rightly so, Sarrazin has raced in just about every form of racing under the sun from Formula One to GT to prototypes to rallying and Formula E and that’s just a part of his CV. He’s now taken another step forward by setting up his own private racing team, Sarrazin Motorsport.

The team made an impressive debut at last weekend’s Tour de Corsica in the FIA World Rally Championship, where the Frenchman was behind the wheel of the Skoda Fabia R5.

“I finished third and it was a really good race for us. It was my first rally with my team, Sarrazin Motorsport so I’m very pleased with the team and it was a great pleasure and a good start for me,” says a very cheerful Sarrazin over a phone interview.

So where did the initial idea to begin Sarazzin Motorsport come from?

“I had this idea since two years ago to start my own team because when I was with Formula E and with some private teams, it was complicated, so I wanted to have my own team and to also to be a part of the racing and I’ve always liked rallies, so I thought with rallies it’s a smaller team we can rent an efficient car and get a very good set up with my experience.”

The new outfit is based in Cévennes, France and currently has two Skoda WRC rally cars and a Hyuandi 120 R5 in the workshop. Rallying is a sport that’s close to Sarrazin’s heart, his father was an amateur rally driver so it was something he grew up around and is very familiar with.

It also helps that he was the 2004 French Champion and was also the winner of the Tour of Corisca in the ERC finale back in 2014, so it only made sense to venture into rallying with his team, although he doesn’t shake off the idea of one day going into other forms of racing as well.

“In rallying, it’s easier for me to start my own team. It’s not as expensive and the programme is smaller, which makes everything sort of easier and I wanted to start slowly,” he said.

Although his priorities are still set on Toyota’s Gazoo endurance programme and with Venturi, I asked why did he feel that now is the right time to launch his this project?

“Because I have more time with my programme and I have a good opportunity to buy a rally car to and I feel like now’s the right time…you know sometimes in life I just feel like things are in order for me to do it, and I was ready to do it.

“Yes, I have a very busy schedule with Toyota and Venturi but I like to be busy and for me it’s part of my life. I’m racing all the time, and I have the opportunity with work and it’s what I like and what I dream to do. I’m lucky to do this because I’m driving an amazing car with Toyota and I’m racing at Le Mans and I’m also racing in Formula E on amazing tracks and it’s also an amazing championship so I’m very proud of that, so it’s a very good chapter for me now.” he said.

From Formula E to WEC and back to rallying, just how does he manage to adapt himself to the different disciplines?

“I’m used to having to change cars all the time so I don’t know…I learn very quick and I’m testing a lot with Toyota all the time. I jump in a car and I’m normally on the pace and I feel good you know. I feel like I just drove it yesterday.”

He tells me that one of the objectives of Sarrazin Motorsport is also to help young drivers and guide them into their professional careers.

“Yes, I try to find young drivers and they will (learn) with me in the team and we will try to give them my experience and what I learnt from my racing career. Even if I am still racing at this level, I’m hoping I can help young drivers.”

Moving on to the topic of Formula E, what does he think of Venturi’s performance in season 3 so far?

“We had some difficulty and some problems with the new gearbox but now it’s fixed. We were very quick in Mexico, and we had a penalty because of the accident, but I’m guessing in Paris we can be fast, we can be on the same pace as last year where we were top five most of the time and I’m sure this season we can achieve better results.

“Monaco will be an amazing race for us, it’s a very important race and Paris will also be very important and it will be very exciting to race at home. I hope to fight for the top five so we’ll see how but I’m very motivated and I’m excited and I’m sure we can achieve a very good result with the team in that one.”

Sarrazin is also set to pilot the #9 Toyota TS050 Hybrid at Le Mans this June.

“Le Mans will be very special for us again, it’s a very fast car and I hope we can fight for the win and I have very good team-mates with Nicolas Lapierre and Yuji Kunimoto, he’s a very good driver and we have a very good team and I think and this year I think we can really fight for the win.”

Noor Amylia Hilda | e-racing.net

Images courtesy of Rajan Jangda
Rallying image labelled for reuse

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