“TOTAL supported me from the beginning”
A tuned Dacia Logan with a 190 horsepower engine and most of all, a hard-working and motivated pilot: here are the reasons why TOTAL has decided to support Bogdan Rusea for the past three years in the hill climb championship. Interview.
How did your adventure start with TOTAL?
Well, in 2011, I decided to transform my childhood passion into a professional career. I started racing with a regular Dacia Logan with its original 1,6 litre engine. The only modifications I made were a roll-bar, a special car seat and all the safety equipment the hill climb federation obliges. TOTAL believed in my capacities from the very beginning and I received the financial and emotional support I needed, especially from Mihaela Mândrea-Muraru and Franck Haëttel.
Can you describe your way to success?
I won the national championship in my engine category the first year. The second year, in 2012, I became more demanding and together with my team, we tried to boost the car in order to obtain better performances. We've managed to bring the original engine to 190 horsepower and I won the 1,6 litre national championship again. But other competitors did better, too. Dedicated cars for hill climb competition, like Peugeot Sport or Renault Sport, appeared. The third year, we improved our Dacia Logan with a sequential gearbox and worked on the handling for better stability. I performed well and finished second that year. Finally, my team and I succeeded to correct the little imperfections and I regained the first place last year. But my competitor was only at a hundredth of a second distance.
At this level of competition, how important is the lubricant's performance?
It's crucial because your engine reliability directly depends on it. Our Dacia Logan engine is now very different compared to an original one. It operates at 8,400 RPM. So, the lubricant you use is extremely important. From this point of view, I have never had any problems during the last four years.
I understand your collaboration with TOTAL is more than a simple business partnership. How would you like to continue this relation in the future?
I would like to make this partnership last in order to promote the TOTAL brand as much as possible. I would also be happy to see it become a reference name in the motor sports area. At each race, we try to increase awareness both among public and competitors. In these four years, several partnerships have been signed with the organisers, so TOTAL and Serus became official partners of the competition. Our brands appeared on banners and on the podium.
What are your objectives for the next period?
My aim now is to go on a higher category. The Serus Racing Club team worked two years long on a new car I will drive this year. It's a Renault Megane from 1997. This car has been made by Renault Sport and is dedicated to competitions. We reconditioned it in order to enter the 2 litres engine category. We built it up from zero, so it took us a while to reach the performances we wanted. This year I will try it in the middle of the championship. People will be able to see it at the Sinaia race, on the 25th and 26th July. The Dacia Logan will remain in the pits for the moment. On the long term, I would like to have a car to win the general competition, which means tuned motors above 2 litres. The competition is now dominated by a few 700 or 800 horsepower “monsters”.