Double ERC3 champion Bessenyey is back
Zoltán Bessenyey will return to the FIA European Rally Championship a hero on Rally Hungary this week.
Bessenyey took back-to-back ERC3 titles in 2013 and 2014 but was seriously injured in a testing crash in 2016, the year of his last ERC appearance on the Acropolis Rally.
He’s fought a brave recovery since then but remains confined to a wheelchair due to the severity of his injuries.
While he’s not competing in anger on Rally Hungary this year, he will assist fellow Hungarian János Vida with zero car-driving duties, swapping the steering wheel for the event road book in what will be his first run through the stages of a competitive rally since his accident.
“I have never gone with a car like this, but it is quite pleasant,” said Bessenyey, who will co-drive a Peugeot 208 R2. “I felt great during the test [on Tuesday]. I already sat on the right side, and I think that next to a confident driver it is not a scary experience at all. Jani listens to me, he does what I tell him. I am a kind of leader in the car that fits me well. I really like that I can lead and manage the team.”
As well as the serious job of co-driving the zero car, Bessenyey has used his return to the ERC reacquaint himself with some of his former rivals, such as overall title contender Chris Ingram, who was a regular in ERC3 in 2014.
“I must admit that I support Ingram, so I told him to stay relaxed, because he has the best position in the standings, while the others must push hard,” said Bessenyey. “Then he said that it was easy to say it, but he had never driven at such a difficult Tarmac race and he was a bit scared, though he tries to go his own rhythm.”
Bessenyey isn’t ruling out further outings in a rally car in the future. “I expect that we will get out of the car feeling tired, but smiling after two days. If it happens, we might continue. I would love to do it.”