December 18, 2016 – With a few weeks left till the end of 2016, Lebanese rally driver Joseph Hindy has revealed his plans for the upcoming year, which include a full-time program in the Lebanese Rally Championship in a Mitsubishi Evo X R4. We went into details with Joseph in a recent interview.
Q: Joseph, you missed most of the season this year. You finished Jezzine Rally and registered for Rally of Lebanon but withdrew before the rally had even started. Tell us more about your 2016.
A: I was pre-occupied with my work in Dubai, so I couldn’t dedicate much time to the championship this year. I like to prepare well ahead of each round and there was no time for that. There was also a matter of budget. These are the main reasons that prevented me from doing the full championship. I missed Rally of Lebanon due to the same reasons and I preferred to save the money for next year.
I competed in Jezzine Rally because it’s a rally that I love and I really wanted to take part in it on my Mitsubishi Evo X in order to re-familiarize myself with the car, and I managed a good result considering I hadn’t driven the car for almost 2 years.
Q: What’s your plan for next year?
A: I will compete in a Mitsubishi Evo X R4 prepared by Tony Germany Rally Skills (TGRS) in the full 2017 Lebanese Rally Championship season. I believe that it’s a car that one can win in and compete in, both in terms of power and budget. We’ve already seen that it’s a race-winning car, judging by its results in 2016.
To be honest, I felt more comfortable in the Evo X than in the Ford Fiesta R5 in Lebanon. I drove the Fiesta R5 in 2015, but it wasn’t a good experience as I only managed to finish the Spring Rally, whereas I had an accident in Jezzine Rally and faced mechanical issues in Cedars Rally and Rally of Lebanon.
Q: Your last race in Jezzine Rally was alongside Vicken Kanledjian. Are you gonna keep Vicken as your co-driver for next year?
A: Yes, my co-driver will remain Vicken Kanledjian. He’s a lovable person and a very nice guy who’s very passionate about the sport. I competed with Vicken in Jezzine Rally this year and he’s going to be part of the full-time program next year.
Q: What’s your main target for the 2017 season?
A: To be honest, I never have any targets. I compete in order to have fun, but the good results are a plus. However, good results have no true value in Lebanon. One of my favorite rallies was the 2016 Jezzine Rally (4th Group N, 6th overall) because I truly enjoyed myself out there. Sure, it’s nice to climb on the podium but I don’t care about the results and points because there’s no real benefit, there’s nothing to gain from it.
Q: Have you found any sponsors or are you still in search?
A: I have no sponsors so far, but we’re definitely working on it. We’re always looking for sponsors, but it gets to a point where you feel as if you’re begging for the money. Sponsors are attracted when there’s exposure for their brand. Unfortunately, motorsport is not given priority by the media as the coverage is limited, so a better marketing plan should be put in place in order to encourage sponsors to put their names out there and to give them reassurance that their support will pay off. The absence of a proper plan is very damaging to the drivers because they can hardly find the support needed to participate. I’m paying from my own pocket at the moment, and I’ll keep doing that for as long as I can.
Q: Are there any people that you would like to thank for the support and help?
A: I would truly like to thank Tony Germany. I raced with Tony from 2010 until 2013, before switching teams in 2014 and returning to Tony’s team (TGRS) last year. Tony is a person who heartily puts all of his effort into this sport, he’s a person you can rely on and trust, which is hard to do with other people. I would also like to thank Vicken for his great support. Of course, there are more people I’m grateful to, but they are many so I won’t name them all.