In Conversation with Rally Driver Maider Usandizaga

Guest blog by Thiemo Albers-Daly

What got you into motor racing?

In my town and especially in my family, there is a lot of love for motorsport. Three cousins of my family participate in motorsport and I can tell that since I was little I have been surrounded by wheels and gasoline. When I was older, I started going to different races that have been celebrated in the Basque Country, where I live. After that, when I was 18 years old, I had the opportunity to start competing as a co-driver.

What is about rallying that you love so much?

First of all, I have to say that like every sport, rallying is not easy. We spend a lot of time preparing the race car before the competitions. It is a sport that requires a lot of money, there are many moments of tension and adrenaline, but at the same time all of that is what motivates us to continue.

At the same time, I have to say that all of us who compete in rallying, we are one big family. And whenever we need something there is always someone willing to help you. This makes everything much easier and motivates you to keep going.

How is 2022 going for you so far?

Very well, the truth is that I could not be happier. This season we have focused on gravel rallies and it is going very well. I’m competing as both driver and co-driver. So I’m very happy to be able to do what I love the most.

What are the biggest challenges of being a rally co-driver?

I think that all the co-drivers first go through the “small” cars and little by little, based on races and experience we are co-driving in more “powerful” cars. I think the dream of every co-driver/driver is to get to compete with powerful cars and be able to enjoy what you are doing. With which, I would say that it would be taking small steps towards where you would like to be.

What’s your favourite racing memory so far?

If I have to tell the truth, I have a lot of good memories. One of them was the year 2019, when I participated in the Ford Focus cup (as a co-driver). In one of the races, in the morning stages, the gearbox began to fail. The second and third gears did not work. So, at midday assists (1:30h), we were able to finish the rallie by getting on the podium and taking first place in the Ford Focus Cup.

What rallies would you love to take part in in the future?

I have always liked gravel rallies so I would love to participate in the Spanish gravel championship or in some race in snow too.

Tell us about the rallygirls team. Do you see yourself as a role model?

@focus_rallygirls It’s a women’s team we created last year. Debora, my co-driver and I, as a driver, decided to participate in the ford focus cup. The truth is that every day we have more women who participate in motorsport, and I think it is necessary to have women references in motorsport. I hope that the little ones of today remember us and we can be referents of many of them. This will be amazing.

What do you like doing in your spare time?

The truth is that I really like to do outdoor sports; go to the mountains, ride a bike… and when it’s not sport, I also like to spend time with my friends, enjoying a good meal or a small talk that always goes well.

What’s your favourite meal to eat?

I love to eat, it’s one of the things I enjoy the most… but if I had to choose a meal, I would keep the fish soup.

Finally, do you believe in ghosts?

No.

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