AFTER 27 YEARS, 93 WRC-RALLYS AND 4 BELGIAN TITLES, FREDDY LOIX IS RETIRING FROM RALLYING. DRIVR CAUGHT UP WITH HIM PRIOR TO ONE OF HIS LAST RALLieS.
What's the best rally-car you've ever driven?
'That would be my current one, the Skoda Fabia R5. And I'm not saying that because I'm on the payroll at Skoda. The last-gen Super 2000 and the current R5 really are the best-sorted cars I've ever competed in. And I ought to know: my other job as a tyre-tester for Michelin means I get to drive a lot of different rally-cars, like the Citroen and the Ford. Both are great, too - but my little Skoda still gives me the biggest kick.'
Is there a street-legal car that comes close?
'I'd say the Porsche GT3 RS, an unbelievably capable car. You can drive it to the shops - but at the same time, scare the bejeezus out of passengers. And it goes sideways rather well. Actually, it's more of a racecar converted for the road, with great quality running through its parts. The brakes are magnificent, too - which allows to to enjoy the performance more of the time. I'd even go so far as to say that the current 911 GT RS is my dream-car, by quite some margin.'
So you have one of those in your personal garage?
'I'd love to say I own a Porsche or a McLaren, but I don't. The Skoda Octavia Scout my employer gave me suits me just fine, since I have to negotiate a kilometer of dirt road before reaching my house. Furthermore: if you drive a rally-car for a living, you get your kicks that way. I really don't need another car to satisfy my thirst for speed.'
Have those 28 years of rally-experience turned you into a better commuter, too?
‘Of course. The alertness and vision you develop in rallying helps you at a slower pace, too. And to be frank: I've become quite a sedate driver over the years. For me, driving on public roads is all about relaxing nowadays. The need to give it some stick doesn't even occur any more. I keep that stored for the weekends, on the rally-stages.
Do you still consider yourself a true petrolhead, then?
'Once a petrolhead, always a petrolhead. I got into cars at the age of 15, working on them together with my dad. I haven't done that in quite some time, but I'd still be able to repare a car. Over the years, I've also restored some cars. And if the urge becomes too big, I visit my dad to work on some cars together.'
You already have a restoration-project in mind, then?
'Not really. But if I do commit to one, I'd tackle it from start to finish. An older Porsche from the secenties of eighties would suit me just fine. But it'd have to be a Targa or a convertible, since I don't intend to trash it.'
We'd gladly come along for the ride, Mr. Loix!
TIP: Check the full slideshow and (Dutch) interview on drivr.be/2016/05/23/rally-interview-freddy-loix-skoda-fabia-r5-fotospecial/
[Credits: Nils Quitenlier (interview), Bert Claes (photos), Ken Divjak (translation)]