One of the Asturian drivers who marked a golden age in the Spanish Championship during his active years, with two titles, and who is loved by all the fans. Surely the name of Alberto Hevia has come to mind. Tramalón has asked with him to learn about his memories of all the cars and why not, ask about a possible sporadic return to the left seat.
Renault Clio S1600, from 2003 to 2005
After passing through the Clio Cup, with the title of Champion of Asturias included in 2002, the French brand signed Hevia as an official driver with the Renault Clio S1600. The union lasted three years (2003-2005) and the memories of the Asturian are very moving. This is how he tells us:
“The Clio S1600 was a real racing car. It didn’t have a lot of power, but the braking and cornering impressed. The best memory I have was from my time as a factory driver, and that was a great peace of mind. Antonio Galisteo was incredible with me, I thank him very much for his help“.
Hevia didn’t get a car win at the 2003 CERA, but the big feat came a year later. The one from Pola de Siero, accompanied by Alberto Iglesias “Pin”, won the 2004 title. His victories in Villa Joiosa, Ourense, Avilés and Príncipe de Asturias were key to beating Vinyes, Ojeda and Vallejo. “What struggles we had, the battle with Sordo and Martí in 2005 was another of the great ones of those years” he recalls.
Peugeot 206 S1600 in 2006
In 2006, Alberto Hevia got into the Peugeot 206 S1600 for the first time in order to perform the best possible role. In this campaign, Dani Solà took the national title aboard the Citroën C2 S1600. Our protagonist, meanwhile, ranked fourth. This is how the campaign for Tramalón recalls:
In addition, he adds about those cars: “With the S1600 you could go very fast, but the settings were very important. The most beautiful time was that of the Clio. Racing as 100% official is the dream of any competitor who loves this sport and is dedicate to it”.
What car was better?
“They were two real machines, but with differences. With good asphalt the Peugeot went better, but in boat areas and worse firm Renault defended itself a lot. Ojeda and Vinyes made it run a lot during those years. If I have to stay with some S1600 (of which I have taken) would be the Clio without any doubt“, he highlights.
Volkswagen Polo S2000 in 2007
In 2007 came the time of the Volkswagen Polo S2000, a totally unprecedented mount in the Spanish Championship. Hevia added his first kilometers with an all-wheel drive in the CERA, not counting his sporadic appearances with Mitsubishi in the Asturian Regional. This is how he defines it:
“The downside of that non-factory car. It was quite heavy and gave us a lot of problems“ he recalls. The car came from a Belgian team, René Georges Rallysport, and the Asturian team used it as a rental. In Hevia’s words, “they were not very happy“ with the performance.
Despite that, Hevia made him run, and cute. They arrived in Costa Brava with options to win the title against Miguel Fuster and Punto S2000, but things did not turn out well: “The day we played the Championship in Catalonia, the direction of the Polo was fatal. The electro fan broke, we broke two collectors, a ball joint … That was to forget. We played everything and the car didn`t come in good condition“, he admits.
Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX (2008)
The team rented a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX from RMC in 2008. Hevia and Pin won this year’s Mitsubishi Lancer Evo Cup ahead of Carlos Márquez and Jordi Martí. They even achieved an absolute podium, as in the Rally of Ferrol. 2008 was the year of the duel between Ojeda (Peugeot) and Vallejo (Porsche) with a final victory for the Cantabrian.
This is how “Berti” recalls his journey with the Japanese machine: “When we rented the Mitsubishi from Roberto, he did not give us any problems. It was a very fun car, with a lot of torque and easy to drive. It did not run much with the 32 flange, and it is A car that we have great memories of. It didn’t brake and grip as much with the older S1600 and S2000, but it was really fine”.
Skoda Fabia S2000 (2009-2012)
Hevia and Pin achieved their second Spanish Asphalt Rally Champions title with this car. Again, a beautiful stage, with intense rivalry in our championship. “We had good equipment, but we lacked the budget to be able to carry out some more tests and have more spare parts. When you race with your car, with 300,000 euros under your ass … Things change a lot. I noticed that, when I was turning years old, I was slower” reveals Hevia.
The union led to several victories and beautiful moments for them: “We had very acceptable races, like that Prince of Asturias in the European Championship. The Skoda and the Clio were the two that I liked driving the most. The car’s settings were wonderful, already you could see every detail and I loved trying different parameters“.
Hevia wanted to highlight the following: “We had support from the brand, but not as officers. The last time I looked a lot less agile than years ago, but it was very beautiful. My first daughter was born and I changed the chip completely, it was very different. He wasn’t so comfortable at the races”.
Suzuki Swift S1600
After three seasons off, Suzuki Ibérica gave Hevia the opportunity to replace Joan Vinyes for three races at CERA 2015. It was aboard the Swift S1600, and the Asturian showed that he had more than enough pace to put up a lot of battle. He was fifth in the Rally de Ourense, and he only has words of thanks:
“I am very grateful to Manel and Frade for the opportunity they gave me. Manel and Sandra were my mentors, without them I would not have won any championship. They called me to replace Joan, recalling the time of the S1600. The Suzuki was going very well, I adapted and we had good times. A magnificent car”.
Have you had a chance to test any R5?
The answer is yes: “I had the opportunity to test Óscar Palacio’s Ford Fiesta R5. It reminded me of the S2000, but with a lot more torque below. They are racing cars, which are great, but they are still expensive for a private team. Now there are few official brands and everything is complicated, even more so considering the situation today”.
And the million dollar question. Could we see “Berti” Hevia in a racing car again?
It is the question that many fans ask themselves who will never forget the feat of the Asturian driver in our championship. Asked about it, the Asturian is quite clear about his priorities near his 47th birthday:
“Honestly, I look old enough to live the rhythm that I like to have in the races. One day, a loose race if I would like, a climb or something like that. If they called me right now to replace Vinyes again -as an example- I don’t think I would be trained. I’m focused on business and family“.
From here we can only thank the time and kindness that “Berti” has given to this communication medium. Great in and out of racing. Enjoy the interview!