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“I was almost crying like a baby!”

“I was almost crying like a baby!”


Four questions to Martins Zulis, Sébastien Loeb’s chief mechanic:

Is it extra pressure to be in charge of Sébastien Loeb’s car?

I don’t think it’s more pressure but it’s very exciting. First of all, he’s a racing driver and, only after, comes the fact that he is a nine-time world champion and his personality. For me, in terms of pressure, it’s the same as another racing driver. Of course, sometimes I think about his titles… I enjoy working with him. We have respect for each other and a very good relationship.


What is the most challenging part of your job and what does it take to be a good chief mechanic?

The biggest challenge is to win the races! Even if I know that we are maybe not the fastest, my main target is always to win the race and try to do my very best. It’s not easy to be perfect each time but, at least, I try to concentrate to give my maximum. To do this this job properly, you have to be able to manage a group of people who have their own personality. You need to find the way to work with everyone. As a chief mechanic, you work with two or three other mechanics and you have to find the way to make all these people work together efficiently. At the same time, you need to be kind and flexible but also strong. Otherwise, there is no respect. You need to have authority. During a race weekend, another challenge is between the semis and the final. There is so little time to fix the car. This year at Lydden Hill was a good example of this kind of rush.


What is your best memory with Team Peugeot Hansen?

I have a lot of good memories because it’s a fantastic team. But if I could only pick one, for sure, it’s Riga last year! Riga is my home race and it was Sébastien’s first win. What more could I wish for? It was a perfect week-end. Before the race, I told him: “It’s now or never”. He and all the team did a brilliant job and he won, and Timmy was on the podium too. It was a great day! I was almost crying like a baby!


How did you start in motorsport?

My dad was a rally mechanic. So, when I was a kid, I knew I would do something in motorsport. I had a really good school and I started working for some teams in Latvia. One of them bought a car from Kenneth. It was necessary for two mechanics to work on the car to prepare it and Kenneth asked me if I could help for some races in his team. One or two races, and then more and more. And now I have worked for him for eight years and I have to thanks my family who support me even though I am often away. It’s not easy for my wife and my daughter but they understand my job and know that I am happy doing this.