Not many people know more about driving fast cars than Jan Kopecký, the 31-year-old reigning European Rally champion. He spent some time in his terrifyingly loud, souped-up Skoda telling FHM about life in the fast lane...
I started motorsport young. I was 11 when I first rode a go-kart and then 15 when I swapped to circuit racing.
Rally driving is very physically demanding. Even if it’s cold outside, it gets very warm inside the car. In Greece, for example, when it’s 35 degrees Celsius outside the car summer, inside the car it can be 70.
I nearly died in 2003. I was doing a fast rally and fighting for first place, going flat out around a corner. We had a problem with the front right tyre, which exploded at 120 kmph. We went into the field and rolled many times.
When I woke up I was injured so bad I spent 6 hours in a coma. When I woke up in hospital my first question was if I could start the next rally. Unfortunately the doctor said no.
Being successful at rally driving is down to three things. First it’s having a very good car. Then you must have a very good co-driver, and finally you have to be a talented driver.
Rally driving is in some ways more difficult than F1. You need to drive on very different surfaces, in different conditions - one day you can be on gravel, the next on snow or ice.
When there’s a tragic accident in rallying, you accept it. No one wants it to happen but sometimes it does. It’s a dangerous sport.
British drivers are fast. They’re some of the fastest in the world.
There are a lot of hazards in rally driving. Sometimes you have people on the track, or sometimes animals. In somewhere like Corsica, you can meet some wild cow or pig. I’ve never hit anything, but I did just miss a cow running on the track.
I have the best job in the world. I never want to stop.
Words by: Dan Jude