DA: Monsieur Ingrassia, what’s more difficult – flawlessly reading your course notes during a race or doing so while bungee jumping?
Julien Ingrassia (JI): (laughing) Well, when I tried to read my notes recently while in free-fall at the Verzasca dam, it was more of a fun challenge for our website rallytheworld.com. Ola, Miikka and I each had to perform a challenge as part of the “Pace Note Chronicles”. Ola was supposed to do somersaults in the scooter, Miikka loop-the-loops in a glider, and I was assigned the Swiss dam, the same one that James Bond jumped off of in “GoldenEye.” Of course, I didn’t feel under as much pressure doing that. When I’m performing in the WRC, I absolutely want to win; even the smallest error can cost us the victory. The “Pace Note Chronicles,” by contrast, were pure fun.
DA: In the YouTube video of your bungee jump, you didn’t seem scared at all. Does your job as a rally co-driver really toughen you up mentally that much?
JI: At such a fun event, I didn’t want to come across as some kind of party-pooper. I had already made two jumps, in Greece and New Zealand, so I had a decent idea of what I was getting myself into. Besides, I didn’t have much time to think about it. On the day when we were at the dam, it was cloudy all day. When the cloud cover broke for a few seconds, I had to be ready to go. That made it easier. I just looked up to the sky for a second and then just let it happen. In WRC races, I do something similar. I get into the car, bang my helmet against the seat three times, look up to the sky for a second and open up my pace notes. Then I’m ready to go.