CHILEAN RALLY STAR PEDRO HELLER, WINNER OF WRC 2 AT LAST WEEKEND’S XION RALLY ARGENTINA, TALKS US THROUGH WHAT TO EXPECT FROM HIS HOME ROUND OF THE FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP, NEXT WEEK’S COPEC RALLY CHILE.
We are all really excited about the WRC coming to Chile. I live 100km to the east, into the mountains, so to have the championship coming so close to my home is really perfect.
The organisers ran a candidate event in preparation for the WRC round last year, so we have driven half of the stages we will use next week.
Generally, I would say the roads are a mixture of New Zealand and Wales. But maybe they’re more like Wales, especially if it is raining during the event. Then the surface and the view of the forests and the trees looks a lot like Rally GB.
If you look at the videos from the organisers you will see some dust and some sunny conditions, but this recce was made in the summer. Now, for us, it’s winter time and in this region is it usually raining quite a lot.
Even though it is winter, the climate is not like some parts of Europe – we don’t get snow in Concepcion, for example. If the sun comes out, it will be a similar kind of temperature to when it was sunny in Argentina last week (around 20 degrees). But in the night it will go cold again.
If you ask me to pick a special stage from the route, I would say there are two – we did these last year on the candidate event and they are really nice.
They both run on the second day of the event and the first one is Maria Las Cruces (SS8/11, 23.09km). The second is the stage which follows, called Pelun (SS9/12, 16.59km). If we don’t have fog on this [Pelun] stage then it is going to be a really, really beautiful view.
These stages are quite typical of the whole route – they have a little bit of everything in them. They are technical, twisty and also fast. It will be a real challenge for the crews in terms of the pace notes and making the car set-up correct.
The service park is in the city of Concepcion, which is the second city in Chile, behind Santiago. It’s a good place with good logistics.
We are all really looking forward to saying hello to the WRC!