It is not our first interview with Joe Ghanem this season, but this young man has a lot to say. He is outspoken and straight forward and his honesty has been a major part of this interview. Joe won 2/2 of Hill Climbs this season for the group N category. He was confident that he could have done 3 out of 3 but the rumors and the controversy around his participation in Deir El Qamar made him miss on that ambition. Joe who drove an EVO 10 with TGRS never disappointed this season, and proved he is a tough competitor for some of the more experienced driver. Although his team went on to win Syley in Deir El Qamar Joe has put the past behind him and promised he will keep pushing to give the best.
After the race in Bteghrine Joe elaborated the issue of the organization in full details and explained to us all about the race in addition to some hints about his future.
A new win in the group N category, don’t you regret not participating in the second Hill Climb?
Well I knew that this thing would happen. I was confident that I will win in Deir El Qamar and likewise today. As I said before this is a loss for me and the team, but we should not look backwards and whatever event we will be tackling in the future we will be making sure to do our best.
We saw that you suffered some problems in the second run and you were a bit slow. Explain to us in details what happened.
I was even a bit slow in the first run too. I couldn’t warm up as I wanted and I was very cautious on the braking points, and the result showed this. I played it safe in the first run and its fine and I was 0.8 behind Tamer Ghandour. On the second run I had a very good pace, but through my experience in motorsports I am witnessing a lot of things, and I suffered a total brake in the acceleration pedal. Some of these things are very weird and they happen in motorsport and this was a very down point in my race were I thought it was over and I was out of the car. But after some thinking, I really figured out a way to continue. I fixed the pedal and used it through the front inside of the car and was able to take the car to service, where we fixed the pedal.
On the last run I was under a lot of pressure to be honest but I was able to crack it. It’s nice when you are put under pressure and you are able to extract more out of yourself. The run was clean and I had very good pace. I even pushed myself into extracting new stuff from myself. I was 2.3 seconds faster than my competitors so it was very good for me.
How did you see the organization of this event?
Well I need to talk thoroughly about the organization. I mentioned earlier at your website about the fact that I happy that they changed the venue and changed the style of the roads, but after the experience they have committed some huge organizational mistakes. I guess they should take the opinion of the drivers because they are the ones who are driving and not them. The chicanes are positioned in a very negative way. They are very narrow and the kill the speeds of the car in addition to the fact that the number of chicanes is very big relatively. On the other hand the absence of penalties was very questionable. We practiced based on the fact that there will be penalties imposed, but we were shocked that there was none.
They cannot organize an international FIA event that is not very fair. When people knew that there were no penalties they hit the barriers on purpose to gain time. On the other hand the water barriers were a very bad idea. They should have filled the barriers with other material. Powder or sand would have been better. With filling the barriers with water the event got really delayed and it was not fair because the water would hurt the people running straight after the car that hit the barrier.
There are 7 chicane on the road. If we multiple 7 by 3 the race would be focused only on avoiding penalties so this is another point to think of. So penalties, in my opinion should have been imposed on the exit of the chicane. In addition to this we had a problem in warming up were the area assigned was not enough and did help prepare well.
I was really surprised by the organization and I didn’t totally enjoy the race because of the road and the organization.
I am really honest, and I would like to say it out loud. Many people came here and saw the road and didn’t like it, or saw that they will not be competitive, so they decided to withdraw. I am very happy today because I proved all the critics wrong. People used to claim that I can’t win except at my home town in Falougha, but I proved them wrong and I tell everybody that whatever the road is I am ready to be fast break times.
Are you going to tackle the Rally of Lebanon in September?
Well I will not be able too. I will declare now that I will be going to the UAE to establish myself there. I have to prepare for 2 seasons that will start in the period of the ROL. This is my priority now and I need time to prepare before I leave. I hope that this will open for me some doors to Europe and my plan will proceed as I want.