He is one of the most experienced co-drivers on the grid. He is known to be outspoken. Lately he was elected in the drivers committee. We talked with Joseph Kmeid on the Margin of the first official Shakedown day at Arsoun.
Joseph we see here with the fans watching the test. What’s the purpose of your presence?
Well as you know I am in the drivers committee so I’m here to see if anybody needs anything. It’s better to be here and not on the phone all day. I am also here to watch and enjoy the day. Our car will present tomorrow for my testing with Eddy Bou Karam.
How do you see the atmosphere in general?
Well I guess there are many outsiders in the rally community lately. Many people are trying to create problems out of nothing. The reasons behind all the fuss lately in motorsports is nothing and it can be solved between the parties involved and ATCL. The negative atmosphere is having some bad effects on the sport and we are all against it. The drivers and the teams are all against it. We are here to do our hobby and enjoy it and our duty is abide by the law as drivers and ATCL’s duty to impose the law.
The good thing is that ATCL is listening to our needs and concerns. I am telling you this because alongside Joseph Mattar and Bechara Beshir, I am having direct contact with ATCL.
Back to rallying we have a tough week ahead of us everything is now tight in terms of schedule. We have a ceremonial start on Friday which is more the good of the sport. Today the test is an amazing idea everyone is trying his car legally and the road is fully equipped and safe, with all the precautions possible.
Lately we saw on your Facebook profile a note for all drivers and teams to concentrate on rallying and performance, why is that precisely?
The basic issue is the illegal testing and I have my personal view about it. Everyone who breaks the law will be punished by ATCL. It is not the duty of the drivers and teams to do ATCL’s job. There are people responsible to impose the law. The relationship should remain between ATCL and the violators. What I am seeing is that some people are creating clashes between teams and drivers and it really worth it. We don’t need this. We are happy that we have 26 cars in the rally and this means that the sport is improving in Lebanon. The coverage has increased. We have 2 big teams in Lebanon today and this helps the competition. Everything should remain under the umbrella of good sportsmanship and competition between MotorTune and TG Rally Skills. Every team should his job and may the better win.
Jospeh you an experienced co-driver but we see you this year with a new drivers, Eddy Bou Karam. How is it going so far?
The good thing about Eddy is that he knows that he is a rookie and he entered the spring rally in this spirit in order to learn. The spring rally was all about adaption and car understanding since he didn’t get to have a lot of mileage in ROL 2010. Starting from this rally we should start making bigger steps, and every rally eh does will gain more experience and become better.
It’s like when Gilbert Bannout started improving in 2007. He climbed the ladder step by step. In 2008 he got more competitive when we finished 3rd and in 2009 we also finished 2nd. This gave Gilbert a place between the top drivers.
With Eddy I don’t have a full contract. We are working event by event. I advise him to continue because if he stops now he wouldn’t have benefited from anything.
We used to see you with Gilbert Bannout as a co-driver. What’s the reason behind the split? Is there any problem?
No there is no problem. He had a schedule to rally in France and he had no program in Lebanon. He decided to warm up with Cathy in the Spring Rally. It seems that he felt good with her and he want to continue both the Cedars Rally and the ROL with Cathy. There is no problem at all.
Gilbert is a friend and everything is alright. I just want to send Gilbert a message for him to concentrate more on his performance and improve it. He should not be distracted by other things now. I hope he improves himself more because I know that he has the potential. He has a good opportunity in the Cedars rally. In the Spring Rally we saw that Nicolas Amiouni was very fast and he could have battled for the podium if he didn’t have the puncture. The competition is tough in the Cedars. Gilbert he should work more because I know that he can go faster.