29 Jan 2021
NICOLAS LATIL : RAISED ON RALLY
Where are you from? What team do you drive with and for how long have you been with them?
I am from Sisteron, a city well-known in motorsport. It is the start of one of the Rally Monte-Carlo stages. Today I live in Gap and have lived in the Hautes-Alpes region for 30 years.
I joined CHL Sport Auto in 2017, with whom I won my 3rd Rally Monte-Carlo in 2018 in the 208 R2. It is a team that I know well and appreciate a great deal. Patrice Pochon, site director, was my co-driver for quite a long time.
How long have you raced in motorsport? Always in rally?
I started racing in motorsport at 16 as a junior co-driver beside my dad in a Peugeot 205 GTI. I then evolved in the Peugeot Cup. Tarmac roads are my specialty. I participated in a number of rounds in the French Rally Championship and in the French Cup, which I won in 2017 with the 207 S2000. I’ve always been loyal to Peugeot and PSA, with my driving school like with my every day car, I drive a 208 GTI.
Where did you get your passion for motorsport?
It should be noted that in the Latil family, I am the third generation to take over the driving school. It is thanks to my father that I was submerged in motorsport at such a young age.The moment I got my drivers license I entered into my first rally. The very first rally I participated in was a hilly climb 2 days after I passed my driving test. It is the rally atmosphere and ambiance that hooks me, I have more than 200 rallies under my belt. I still have the same hunger for the sport and as long as I can go fast, Ill keep on racing.
What is your favorite moment during a race?
Before the start, what I appreciate above all, is the adrenaline rush and pressure that I get to share with my partners. I like the process of preparing a season, finding sponsors, organising promotional events and communication around the common goal. During a race, the first stage is always the moment where you never know where you might end up, you want to be the best, without pushing it too hard. Then, I love the end of the race. At Monte-Carlo when you start the descent onto Monaco, the release after having summiting the Himalaya. I tell myself, “look, you made it, you are at the finish line of such a complicated, demanding and taxing rally. “ But that is why we love this race. Looking back, the experience of having taken on what we did is absolutely magic!
Why the 208 Rally 4?
I like to be at the height of the trend, and have latest car, the car of that is in right now.When a manufacturer has a promotional championship, you know that there is a certain level of seriousness and professionalism. Peugeot Sport has never let me know on this front. When the 207 S2000 came out, it was the car of the times and I have some great memories at the wheel. Driving the 208 Rally 4 at Monte-Carlo is great value for the price, the level of performance, and fun, the whole package is at reasonable and affordable. Following my last season, I didn’t have great results, so I came back to the 2 wheel drive category, behind the wheel of a car that I know better. I prefer to be at the top of my category thean somewhere in the middle.
CHL offers to lease cars. It is a great team, with a great car and technical support from Peugeot Sport experts. I knew the car was reliable so the decision wasn’t hard to make.
How many times have you raced the Rally Monte-Carlo?
This year will have been my 7th Monte-Carlo. I participated several times as an opener as well. I drive the mountain roads everyday so I have a bit of a home-court advantage and experience.
What will we see from you this 2021 season?
I would like to come back to the French Rally Championship, it is a great organisation. Hopefully I will be able to do the rounds that mean most to me, but this time in the RC2 category. I’d like to start at the Lyon-Charbonnières race and if I could be at the wheel of the C3Rally2 I would be a very happy man!
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