Rodolfo del Barrio is, without a doubt, one of the most experienced co-drivers on the national scene. The Cantabrian took his first steps in the Regional of his community back in the 2005 season. Since then, based on talent and effort, he has completed various programs every year. Tramalón has had the pleasure of interviewing del Barrio to learn more about his great work.
Home – Regional Cantabrian (2005)
This is how his first two seasons were: I started in 2005, in a Rallysprint in Comillas with a friend. He had been rallying his whole life, and by the time he turned 18 it was clear to him that he was going to race. Manuel Macho was one of those who taught me. After doing the first race, another friend found out to do more rallies, for two seasons.
The first contact in the Cantabrian Regional was very important. In 2006, they called me to go to Asturias. Specifically, to compete in the Autonalón Challenge with Juan Carlos del Oso in a Peugeot 206. That was the first important step. I realized that this was much more than reading notes. In Asturias there were many professional co-drivers, even in the cup. I saw that they worked differently, and you learn a lot. I stayed with a series of values that I continue to transmit today.
Volkswagen Golf Kit-Car Experience (2007-2008)
It was the next step, in the 2007 season. Both Pedro and I agree that the Golf has been the most spectacular car of our sports career. He left the house and was nervous. It was the only stage where I was nervous before going to the stages, as I am very calm. I liked that device so much that it gave me that feeling every weekend.
The Golf Kit-Car was awesome. Other cars I liked a lot, but it is in the Top. In 2008 I also raced with Gorka Apalantza. The Subaru Impreza WRC is better, but I have never really sweated in a car like the Golf. That is very complicated, since I have a lot of peace of mind. It was like riding a motorcycle.
Zubi and I always joke that, if we touch the primitive, we will bring it back again, very safe. Thanks to that time, before the Mitsubishi, I began to meet professional teams, since the teams came with engineers, trainers … We work with people like Ojeda, something incredible at that time with little experience. Every day he learned new things.
National campaign with Víctor Pérez (2010-2011)
It was another very interesting stage. I accompanied Víctor in his CERA debut, specifically in the 2007 Caja Cantabria Rally with a Citroën C2 GT. Three years later, he called me to head to the Suzuki Cup. It is another giant step, since it is a single-brand cup with tremendous competitiveness. The way of working, with Miguel, was very profitable, to work well inside the car.
More experience with Marco Lorenzo (2012-2015)
I have always considered myself a co-driver with long relationships. Sporadic races seem difficult to me, as a new co-driver cannot give 100% of himself in his first rally with a driver. I ran with Marco Lorenzo for four years, we made a great friendship. They called me to run with him when he landed in Spain.
Here I realized that the strongest point of the experience is the knowledge of the terrain in each rally. There are no experiments here, any kid can run more, but knowledge of the stages is vital. For example, be clear about delicate places from previous years, areas with more grip, more dangerous … That is what experience gives you, nothing more.
With Lorenzo we competed for three years in the Spanish Nacional. We knew it would be the last year together, since my goal was to continue racing the Spanish Championship. Of course, the experience of the Regional Canario was really nice and pleasant, we had a great time.
2016, fewer careers for work reasons, but first contact with R5
2016, despite being a campaign with fewer races, also meant another key step. I started to get to know the R5 vehicles that had just arrived in our country at that time, thanks to the call from Santiago Carincer, with his recently acquired Ford Fiesta R5.
We raced with ProRallye, one of the benchmark teams in this world for me. The following year we went with Diogo Gago to the 208 Française, but the lack of budget prevented us from obtaining the results and the desired plan at first. He called me again to run the European Championship, but I decided to take another plan.
José Luis Peláez (2017-Present)
I made a commitment to Peláez to race exclusively with him. I preferred to focus on a program with a future, and this driver offered it to me. Several years have passed, and we are still together today. One of my strengths is that I am able to differentiate between being outside and inside the car. I have a great friendship with José Luis Peláez. Of course, when we get in the car, everything changes, seriousness and professionalism return. It is key to differentiate this aspect.
2021 is coming and we are on the verge of the fifth consecutive year together. I am very comfortable and we have formed a great team. We have had better and worse years. Peláez is a person with his daily work and job stress, but he loves careers and works for them. He really wants to do this sport. I value that very much.