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Interview: Hungarian Sandor Kis about his plans in 2008.

Some weeks after the dramatic announcement of the cancellation of the 2008 Dakar Rally our collegues from [ ] were interviewing the famous Hungarian Driver Sándor Kis about his feelings on the resignation of the desert challenge and about his and his teams’ future plans. How do you feel about the day when it turned out that the rally is cancelled?

Our whole team’s scrutineering had finished on Thursday, so I was in the hotel when the news started to spread about the suspension of the scrutineerings and the emergency briefing at noon. Then calls were received about the possible topic of the announcement from teammates who were on the spot of the technical scrutineerings. By the time of the official announcement, we were quire sure what it is going to be about. First, it seemed unbelievable, though everyone had been talking about some kinds of changes for days. I still cannot believe that I am sitting in my office in this soggy winter weather when I should in my shell seat, enjoying the heat.

This decision left us no choices, so we started to concentrate on the primary and upcoming tasks. Certainly, the first task was to organize our trip back home, because it was not among our plans that the people and the technology has to be shipped back from the starting point. By late afternoon, after organizing everything we held a group-meeting to let everyone know when and how would they get home, and of course we tried to get over the news.

We phoned all our partners, our phones were constantly ringing. We had to answer thousands of questions of our friends, acquaintances and the media. What is your personal opinion about the cancellation of the race?

There must be serious reasons for canceling such a big event with great tradition and history and taking the responsibility of the decision. Every racer and team was stricken very hardly by this conclusion, but as I have already said before, we were left without choices, we had to accept it. One year of hard work, a lot of energy and undoubtedly lots of money was invested into our project, no question we wanted to set off and participate in the race. But safety has priority importance among all, and no one would have risked their peers’ lives or the safety of the technology if there is no guarantee for secure partaking. Desert racing is very dangerous, every participant knows that, but exaggerated risks should not be taken. We accepted the decision and now we are waiting for the organizers’ offers. Did you calculate the losses of the team? How did the sponsors react to the cancellation of the desert show?

We are done with the cost calculation, so now we know how much we have spent on nothing, but we have to know what compensations we can rely on. The total cost of such a big event adds up of different items. Some are refundable, but some may not be reimbursed. There are promises of refunding the entrance fee and other charged costs, but it takes time for the organizers and the collaborating companies, so we cannot do anything else but wait. We definitely have losses, I personally calculate with ten-millions (HUF), but we do not know exactly yet, we can only make guesses. What’s next? Dakar or cross-country rally?

More than 5 years ago, at the beginning of the decade we practically started racing to get to the Dakar, to the rally and reach the African finish with better and better results gradually. Everything that Péter, the team and I brought about was in the favor of this aim. When we started, I planned 10 Dakar set-offs and many are still ahead of us. That time there was no chance for a Hungarian start, of course I would not miss that!

What happened now technically interrupted a unique series that will definitely bring changes. There are only assumptions and guesses about the future events, but I would say that we rather hear what we would like to hear. The organizers will surely find the way out and the possibilities of compensation. About Peter’s any my participation, we are waiting eagerly for it. The car is prepared and everything is ready for racing even if the start is in a couple days. As I have said, the backbone of our racing is the Dakar, our whole sporting career is subordinated to it, and hence, the future of the desert challenge has a great impact on our future too. If we know that the show goes on, we will know which direction to take. We will definitely set off on those races which contribute to our Dakar partaking, so the participation in special series and winning titles on every race will not be our primary target.

But life goes on and as cross-country races and championships take place in the world independently of the Dakar. During the years behind us formed our great team, accumulated great knowledge and experience. With the help of these all we are able to build cars and maintain them and take part in these series. It would be a shame not to use this background; therefore in the future more emphasis will be put on development and on our customer project. Finally, where can we see Sándor Kiss and Péter Czeglédi racing next time?

I mentioned previously, that we are waiting for the Dakar sequels, most things depend on that. Now, I think that the next race will be the Italian Baja in the middle of March, we have nice memories about that. Among the Hungarian ones, the Hungarian Baja is sure, and we will see about the other Hungarian races, the world cup and the other baja races.

2008/01/21 | 04:08 CET | Editor: MR/HS/

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