QUESTION. Before starting: do you consider yourself a legend?
ANSWER. No, I feel like an athlete who was lucky enough to win two World Championships and other important things for this country, of being the first to win rallies when not many knew about them and I feel proud, but not enough to think I'm a legend, that's something big and I don't know if I qualify for that.
Q. You are really humble. When you left the World Championship, your rivals said you were the best in history.
A. That was a great gesture, it is true. It was a survey among drivers and team bosses from many periods and they chose me as the best then. That was for me a great tribute and probably a bigger satisfaction than any other title or award, because having your colleagues' recognition is beautiful.
Q. You did not like the "Matador" nickname at the begining, did you?
A. Not one thing nor the other.I had never gone to a bull fight before, but it looks like abroad bulls and party where related and it looks like I inspired them something like that, I don't really know. From then, Matador, Matador, Matador until today. It doesn't bother me because I know they did it with respect and affection, so I had to like it.
Q. Some say you were almost paranoid when working on the car's set-up. Once you asked to build a 1 mm aluminum piece for a spring to be a bit higher...
A. That's a legend. When I had a test, I had a test and if I had to be there at 8 am I was there at 7:30 and if we had to finish at 18 pm, we did it. It someone wants to give a different name to that, it's ok, but I seized time because I knew it was important for me to drive comfortably and work on the car's set up. Other drivers were lazier or they didn't know what to do or how to do it. I worried about it and worked together with the engineers, but there was nothing like being paranoid. I worked hard, did the homework, tried the tyres, etc. I tried to arrive prepared to every rally.
Q. More legends…
A. Too many legends…
Q. I was told that one day you detected a pressure loss of 200 gr on the Turbo when it got to 6.000 revs and until they did not got it under water they did not see the little fissure...
A. That really is a legend. It is true I know well the cars and if there was an anomaly I noticed it, but from that to what you said... Look, couple of days ago when I was preparing the Dakar with Peugeot, I warned there was a problem with a valve that helps the car to have a litlle bit more bass in the car, and in a given moment I noticed the car had less bass. I told the engineer, they saw it and started laughing: "All the drivers had the same problem, but only you realized", they told me.
Q. Carlos went to the sauna one day and you were already there, cycling for one hour already. "53 years old and still giving me lessons also here", joked his son. How do you do to keep the passion alive?
A. Well, if I decide to race the Dakar, that implies getting up early, cycling under 45 or 50 degrees in order to get ready for driving in Argentina, where by the way is hotter than in Africa. I truly respect Dakar and my career, so I'm not going to race with an official team without being prepared for it.
Check out here the full interview: http://www.marca.com/2015/10/18/motor/rallies/1445154886.html