GCK Motorsport won its first international rally in Morocco’s Rallye du Maroc. The Motul-sponsored team, owned by driver Guerlain Chicherit, held its own against a formidable field, winning a leg of the FIA W2RC. Even more incredible, the team had only recently taken delivery of the vehicle. We caught up with Guerlain to find out more about this historic achievement.
Your tests before this rally in Morocco went very well, which seems to have helped you on the rally. How was it?
Honestly, I've never been stressed. Because, as I said during testing, I have the car and I felt comfortable in it straight away. And I felt the potential very quickly. Suddenly, we arrived on the first special stage and discovered that we were on it right away. We didn't win the special as we had a few minor navigation issues and punctures. But in terms of performance, we were pretty fast, and we managed to keep that pace throughout the race. So, it happened really naturally.
How difficult is the Morocco Rally?
In Morocco, so much can happen. And as we have seen, there have been plenty of twists and turns. It is a very difficult rally. Cars can suffer a lot. I also had to adapt my way of driving.
Is Morocco a good test for the Dakar?
Yes. It was great to learn from Morocco. But the Dakar is a little longer, and a little more specific. It actually allows us to understand a lot of things. Alex Winocq also gained confidence in navigation. He became aware of the speed of the car and what information I needed from him and when. I also understood how I had to manage my tyres because, on the Dakar, we will have specials that are even longer. So, we'll always have spare tyres.
In these kinds of rallies, how crucial is getting your navigation right?
Honestly, we made more mistakes than the others. It was in an area where there hadn't been rallies for years, so a lot of tracks were cleared. There was also a lot of wind and, as a result, there were plenty of tracks that were not visible. And so, when you arrive as the first car on the road, there are intersections where we hesitated a bit. There are times when we got a little lost. Each time we passed other cars we suddenly found ourselves opening the road. It’s about finding a good rhythm.
You came to this rally as a bit of an underdog. Has that perception now changed?
Yes, it's definitely changed because it's been five or six years since I drove on the Dakar with a high-performance car. So maybe some people had forgotten the speed we had. There are times I had to compensate, and I made mistakes. You begin to doubt whether it’s me or the car. But the speed is still there, and I have a car that allows me to do it. That has already taken a huge weight off me. I’m now really looking forward to the Dakar and I'm much more relaxed about it.