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Podiums The Goal For Franceschi

French driver Mathieu Franceschi is climbing the rallying ranks in the AMD Motorsport team. Just like last year, Mathieu will be competing in the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC), but this time in a brand new Škoda Fabia RS Rally2. After last year's rookie season, however, he has higher ambitions.

Mathieu Franceschi is a truly gifted driver; if only because, while many pilots from the Gallic cockerel country are very fast on asphalt, Mathieu enjoys gravel. But he can be fast on tarmac too. In 2022, he pulled off a truly unprecedented feat: he won all six rounds of the French Gravel Championship in a Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo. He became the first driver ever to do so in the history of the event.

Thanks to this, he moved up to the European Championship last year with the same car and the AMD Motorsport team, where he eventually finished sixth. At the end of the season, he tried out the new Škoda Fabia RS Rally2. The AMD Motorsport team has purchased a brand new specimen of this rally special just for the purpose of participating in the ERC this season and Mathieu wants to aim higher than last year.

What are your goals for this year and how do you want to follow up last year's debut season in Europe?Last year was all about gaining experience. It was exciting, but we had to go for confidence first and foremost, we wanted to get to know each event, get to know the stages and just reach the finish line. The goal wasn't absolute speed, we didn't want to make a mistake and lose the opportunity to put miles on the track or, even worse, damage the car. We managed to keep all of these aims. But this year we don't want to be so conservative. We already know the competitions, there are four new events in the championship, but these are new to everyone. We also have a new car, better equipment, and better budget. So we want to be one of the top, the goal is podium finishes, of course I would like to win. But first I actually want to find out where my limit lies, especially with a new car.

You already have experience with the Fabia RS Rally2 from the end of last season. How would you compare the car with the previous Fabia Rally2 evo, which you drove for two seasons?
For me, there is a big difference between the cars, especially in the fast sections. I feel very comfortable in the Fabia RS Rally2, I have a great driving position and the car handles well. I'm more comfortable with the gearshift and the power delivery of the engine, I can simply drive and I don't have to concentrate on the gearshift. I'm really looking forward to driving on my favourite gravel, because last year I only managed to do asphalt events with the car.

What do you appreciate the most about the Fabia RS Rally2?
Not only do we like the car a lot in terms of looks, but of course it is very competitive. I find it good to drive and the mechanics are also good to work with.

You said your favourite surface is gravel? Why, when many of your compatriots prefer tarmac?
I don't really have that much experience on tarmac. But I just like gravel better. You can slide nicely on it, there's more emotion, more room to enjoy the car. On tarmac it's about finding the exact braking points, I don't enjoy that so much. I still want to have fun behind the wheel, I still want to laugh.

In the 2022 season, when you won all the events of the French Gravel Championship, you showed that you can really do it on this surface. How was it?
When we bought the car before the season and tested it, I felt very comfortable in it, so the goal was ambitious from the start. We just wanted to win. And we did it in the first race. The second one was completely different, narrow, very broken roads, we had to drive smart. And we won again. The third race, which was my favourite, I just had to win there. And again it worked. We were always and everywhere fast, in every competition we started fast and then kept the lead, we could drive with less risk and we enjoyed the advantages of a clean track, so it was easier not to make mistakes. It was great.

How did you start racing?
I started late; I didn't get into it until I got my driver's license. In 2017, I entered the Rally Jeunes championship, which has been won by the likes of Sébastien Ogier in the past. Then I moved up to the Junior French Championship and gradually tried other competitions until I landed with the AMD team in 2022.

External Credits:

Skoda Motorsport


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