There was a lot of speculation this past week at the Rallye Defi, round 3 of the 2013 Canadian Rally Championship surrounding the absence of one of the top runners, “Crazy” Leo Urlichich.
Urlichich has been a top competitor on the Canadian rally scene for the past three years, but he decided to put his career on hold to work on a new and exciting program.
|“Crazy” Leo Urlichich (Photo: René Fagnan)
“I’m currently in Europe trying to put together a program to compete in one of the junior categories of the World Rally Championship (WRC) next year,” Leo told Auto123.com on Monday.
“Last winter, I injured myself while skiing and I got some time to stop and think about what I really wanted to do,” he continued.
“When it comes to rallying in Canada, my car [Subaru Impreza] is not recent, and the only way I can touch Antoine’s [L’Estage] pace is to get a newer one. There’s no point. And in Rally America series, the style of rallying forbids proper recces. And since the WRC has always been a dream, I decided now is the time to push for it. I worked on getting ideas on paper about sponsorship, the car, the team to run it, the social networks, the exposure, the physical and mental preparation, etc.”
“Don’t be mistaken: I am fully aware that the WRC is another world. It is completely different from what I am used. I did the recce of the ADAC Rallye Deutschland recently and I realised how tough it is, and how much the pace notes are crucial,” Leo added.
Last year, Leo competed with Welsh co-driver Carl Williamson, who has co-driven for Jari-Matti Latvala in the Stobart Ford World Rally Team. Leo admits Williamson has helped fine tuning his drivng style.
“I developed my own note system which uses fewer words but gives a lot more information. I am now looking to find a new co-driver who could take notes using the same system. Because success in WRC is closely linked to getting the notes exactly right,” he told Auto123.com.
“Crazy” Leo confirmed he still owns his Impreza rally car, and he will still do some events in Canada.
He also expressed his gratitude to his mentors and sponsors Can-Jam Motorsports, for the support that is now becoming increasingly international. Right now Leo's side of the team is putting all the effort to the WRC project.
“I’ll definitely do something here in Europe next year,” said the Russian-born Canadian.