Seventh place in his category at the Mecsek Rally




Tamás Tóth-Gili, student of the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Pécs, and his navigator Péter "V8" Németh finished seventh in his category at the Mecsek Rallye round of the National Rally Championship. The water polo player of the PTE-PEAC Mighty Bulls has achieved outstanding results at the MEFOB and the Medic Cup this year. The versatile sportsman competed for the third time in the most prestigious Hungarian motorsport competition, adding to his list of sporting successes.

How do you feel after the race? How do you evaluate your participation this year?
After a rally race, you slow down and reflect on your life, there's a bit of a sense of emptiness. Even today, I would love to get in the car and keep racing. I think that what we came for, we were able to achieve to the maximum.

We were even within reach of the podium, but due to technical glitches our chance was gone.

Nevertheless, we had very encouraging partial results, with second and third times in several fast stages. Overall, we are completely satisfied with the weekend.

Which was the most difficult section of the rally for you?

For many of us, the Pécsvárad rapid was the most difficult.

On the one hand, the road was very narrow and the asphalt was of poor quality, with a lot of gravel, which made it very difficult to calculate braking distances and cornering. In addition, I had never driven in this direction on this road before. When I tried it in the opposite direction in 2022, I couldn't get through because we slid into the ditch and they couldn't get the car out. So my experience on this track is very negative.  I have spoken to my fellow drivers and many of them have similar complaints about this track. For some reason, only a few people like it because it's very difficult, rhythmless and throwy, and you need to have the car perfectly set up to perform well on it. Going fast on this track requires a lot of experience, which I don't have yet, so I opted for the safer option.

Source: Zsombiphoto

You mentioned that you have also faced unexpected challenges as well as surprises and breakdowns. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
In the final stage on Friday evening we had to deal with problems with the spark plug and the HC fuel pump. The car choked at every shift. It didn't stop completely, but the revs dropped and the car didn't have a decent speed, we couldn't accelerate enough, so our accelerations were not good. 

On Saturday, we had a slow puncture on the left front tyre in the first fast stage. As there is a limited amount of tyres that can be used for a race - and we didn't buy any new ones - we decided not to change them, as we had already used up all our choices and had only one usable tyre left for the whole day. We over-inflated the tyres at the start of every stage of the quick stages, and we had to keep stopping to pump them up during the race to make sure they didn't deflate completely. That's how we completed the first lap.

On the second lap we put the remaining tyre - the only one - on, but it's very difficult to race when the guys we were racing with were only racing on new tyres and we were racing on one-and-a-half to two-year-old tyres. So we didn't really have any grip.

At the start of the second lap on Saturday, we even had a podium finish in sight, but we let it go because we simply had no grip and I didn't want to risk seventh place.

Can you share some details about your vehicle? What modifications or special features does it have? 
This year we had a 210 hp Ford Fiesta Rally4 as our partner. It has 99 cc and around 315 newtons of torque. Around 1200 kilos, I think, but I wouldn't swear to it. It has a five-speed sequential gearbox, I know that for sure because I've used it a lot. Sometimes I tried to shift it up to sixth, but somehow it didn't work.

Tamás Tóth-Gili and Péter Németh
Source: rallytourist

Many people don't realise that such a race is also a physical challenge. It's not necessarily a case of just getting in the car and going. What kind of training is needed to prepare for a rally like the Mecsek? Can you tell us about your training and preparation routine, if you have any?
In my opinion, I have an easier job than my other competitors in this area, because I am an athlete by profession. I have a basic stamina and physical strength. However, I do a lot of simulator training to improve my reflexes for racing and to keep them at a good level. Also, mentally, a race like this takes a lot out of you, because you have to cope with the heat, the cold, whether it's winter or summer. 

Rally racing is not just about speed, it's also about strategy and teamwork. Can you tell us more about your team and how you work together during a race?
My father is the team leader. Therefore, he makes the major strategic decisions. The mechanic guys are from Budapest and have been in the rally business for decades.  They are extremely enthusiastic, have a great team spirit and do their job on an exceptionally high standard. As for my navigator, there has been a change compared to last year, because this year a friend of mine from Pécs,

Péter Németh, who won the category as a driver last year, has joined me. It's rare for a driver to navigate alongside another driver, because usually drivers are very scared on the right side.

Personally, I am terrified. I told Peter that it would not work mutually. In that sense, forget about me. Joking aside, I would like to highlight the work of Péter Németh, because he has done a brilliant job. Considering that this was his first race as a navigator, our first race together and the first time with this car, I think we both passed the test well.

What advice would you give to those who are interested in rally racing and want to get involved?
Get involved, do some research on the subject. Rallying is an extremely complex sport with a number of rules. To get to grips with it, you need to know the basics. You cannot make a living from rallying in Hungary because it is a very expensive technical sport. If you are starting from scratch and you did not grow up in this environment, a lot of research and learning is needed. For me, it was easier to start in this sport because my father introduced me to the world of motorsport at an early age, as a child. He was a respected driver in Hungary in the 90s, a three-time Hungarian champion.

Rally is not just a sport, it is a way of life. 

It's a very closed environment where people like to belong, because there's a special atmosphere, both at the track, in the car and the service park.

Finally, what are your goals for the future? Do you have any upcoming competitions or plans that you can share with us?
It's easier for me to talk about water polo because

in mid-July we'll be taking part in the European University Championships in Miskolc.

We want to achieve the best possible result there. And we want to win the water polo championship next year. We came third this year. 

Source: Zsombiphoto

From a motorsport perspective, I'm trying to get the support of sponsors who can help me to participate in more races and improve. It is important to stress that this is a very expensive sport and without sponsors it is not possible to do this sport.

I want to develop a strong group of sponsors who will support us in achieving our goals.

Our goal is to complete a full season in one of the premier championships and improve enough to be on the podium in the category within two or three years.

Let's root for Tamás Tóth-Gili together!
Go UP! 

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