Team Peugeot Rally Academy driver Catie Munnings says that she wants her 2019 ERC3 campaign to be built around a consistent set of performances across the season.
Speaking with The Checkered Flag, the Red Bull-backed driver explained that she wants to think about each event on a stage-by-stage basis and with the aim of gaining as much experience as possible.
“This season is all about progress and consistency.” said Munnings. “Rallying is a special sport and you have to often deal with all types of different conditions within a short space of time.
“It can go from blazing hot sunshine to pouring with rain very quickly and that changes how much grip you’ve got on any particular corner.”
“To be on the limit at this level you have to have as much experience as possible and learn from every stage you do. You have to keep learning – you can’t learn if you’re at the side of a road stuck in a ditch!”
“I’ve been working with Red Bull and that’s been really good for my preparation. I’ve been training with them and they’ve been helping me get to my peak performance levels ahead of the new season.”
“I’ve also been using one of the same coaches as Sebastien Ogier and you can see from his win in Mexico last weekend from a physiological point of view just how cool and calm he is when he’s behind the wheel. This is something I want to try and copy this season for sure.”
2019 sees Munnings eligible for both ERC3 and ERC Junior Under 27 points and she admitted that she wants to try and complete the full eight-round ERC3 calendar this season as well as a one-off appearance on Wales Rally GB.
“We’re looking at Wales Rally GB later this year as well as trying to get to all of the ERC3 rounds to make up the full season. I think we’re in good shape going into 2019 and podiums are definitely possible and by the end of the year we’ll be up there hopefully!”
“Thinking about the future I’d love to be part of the WRC! I’d love to drive a stage in Corsica in a modern WRC machine and I’ve been told the feeling of doing it is incredible! I like the European championship, especially with the coverage on Eurosport, but the WRC has much longer events that is taxing on everything including you as a driver and the car you’re driving!”
Munnings also told The Checkered Flag about how the deal with Peugeot came about for this season where she’ll partner Yohan Rossel in the Peugeot Rally Academy team for 2019 as well as having a new co-driver in the form of Veronica Engan.
“I’ve been working with Peugeot UK as an ambassador for the last couple of years and they’re under the same umbrella as the academy. The teams been created as part of the prize drive awarded in the 208 Cup in France where Yohan won last year.”
“To be honest, Veronica and I haven’t been in a rally car together yet, but she’s worked with both Petter and Oliver Solberg before and has World Championship experience too.
“We worked together in Sweden a little while ago and you could tell right away when you get on with someone well. We’re both looking forward to Azores now!”
“Everyone in the team has lots of experience with the car and I feel like everyone knows what to do ahead of this year. Yohan is an incredibly talented driver and I’m honoured to be driving alongside him.
“It’s hard to say how close we’ll be – he has already been testing and has more experience, but I’ve taken part in most of the ERC events, so it should be close!”
“I’m looking forward to both Rally Gran Canaria and the event in Cyprus this year. They’re completely different events to each other, but I like them both.
“Gran Canaria is like a race track but up the side of a mountain and you can kind of relax a little when you’re in the car, whereas Cyprus is made up of rough gravel stages that let you get sideways and that’s a great feeling when you’re driving a rally car!”
Azores Rallye kicks of the FIA ERC season next weekend (21-23 March), The Checkered Flag will be reporting on all rallies throughout the season.
For more information on Catie Munnings, head to RedBull.com