There were nine drivers who triumphed at Sibiu Rally since 2001. The multiple national rally champion Titi Aur, is the driver with the most victories at Sibiu Rally or Cibin Rally as it was called in the early years just after 2000. The first victory came in 2002, with the Seat Cordoba WRC along with Silviu Moraru. One year later, with a Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 6 and Adrian Berghea on the right seat, Titi Aur won again on the famous gravel specials. The last two victories have come, again with Adrian Berghea on his right and the Mitsubishi Lancer in 2005 and 2006.
You are the most recurrent winner of Sibiu Rally. Which of the four victories was the most important to you?
Titi Aur: The one from 2003, when I attended with a Mitsubishi Lancer EVO VI , when some of the other colleagues and opponents had WRC models, so we have shattered the myth that only the one who drives the best car can win.
The first success was in 2002 at Sibiu Rally Liqui Moly with a Seat Cordoba WRC . How was it to go trough the gravel stages with a World Rally Car?
Titi Aur: It’s always a pleasure to race with a WRC.
In 2005 and 2006 you won with a Mtsubishi Lancer. What are your best memories from that time?
Titi Aur: During the 2005 and 2006 championships there was a battle between equal Group N Cars (2004 was the last year with A8 in Romania). I managed to win most of the special stages in both seasons, Sibiu Rally still remains my favourite rally, because the strategy of combining the speed with the protection of the competition material can make a big difference in the final standings.
What car did you like most for a competition at Sibiu Rally?
Titi Aur: For Sibiu Rally a group A car is a better solution because it has a higher resistance to the hardness of the route.
It was said that Sibiu Rally is the toughest gravel rally in the country and not only. On a scale of 1 to 10 how tough would you say it is?
Titi Aur: I disagree with “and not only”. For example, in 2003 I came to Sibiu directly from Cyprus and Sibiu Rally seemed to me as a gravel highway. Indeed in Romania it is a rally where you cannot go to maximum attack everywhere, you must find / improvise in many places the ideal solution for speeding without breaking down your car. To be a good pilot doesn’t mean to speed all the way like crazy , you have to always find a way to go as fast as you can, under the route circumstances. We hear all the time “rally drivers” complaining that it was too much sand or too much snow on tarmac, or that there were too many potholes or stones on the gravel stages.
Which was your favourite Special Stage and why?
Titi Aur: “Cheile Cibinului” for the alternance of speed zones with very spectacular turning areas, wide open areas which are very good for the spectators, but mostly for its complex configuration.
The best memory of Sibiu Rally?
Titi Aur: There were many good moments, but now I can’t remember one in particular.
The worst memory?
Titi Aur: In 2001, when the left front steering knuckle of the Seat broke, and after nearly three quarters of the rally I was on the 1st place, and my mechanics from the service park, Cornel and Radu had come up with a solution (improvisation) that could help me continue, but the Seat engineer didn’t give us the permission to do it and so, we had to abandon. A long time after this rally I still regretted my decision, and my mechanics scolded me for not listening to them, and making the improvisation. The next year, in the exact same conditions and the same service park the history repeated itself and the “improvisation” unauthorized the year before, was a winning.
In 2014 you accepted the challenge again and you were back at Sibiu, on tarmac, in an attempt to conquer Transfăgărăşan on two wheels. How was it?
Titi Aur: I was sure that I could climb Transfăgărăşan on two wheels, but instead of coming with the car that I often “play” with by driving on two wheels, which sometimes lands on its ceiling and looks more like a stunt’s car rather than a pilot’s car, I gave it a try with a “cleaner” car and more beautiful in appearance but older, so when I faced the hill, it was hard to go up. I managed to go through approximately 3 kilometers, but if I hadn’t had this problem I would have certainly covered a greater distance. Maybe another time…
Transfăgărăşan on tarmac or Şanta on gravel?
Titi Aur: “Legends aren’t born on paved roads” … and you know that better than I do…
In 2015 Sibiu Rally will be completely on tarmac and will also have scheduled a Special Stage on Transfăgărăşan. Do you think it will be as spectacular as on gravel?
Titi Aur: I think Sibiu team can do wonderful things, I also think Transfăgărăşanit is great for the view, but in my opinion it would be more interesting if you put gravel and not tarmac on Transfăgărăşan.
What will you do between 20 to 23rd of August 2015?
Titi Aur: Last year my daughter’s wedding was on 23rd of August , we don’t know yet where they will choose to celebrate their first year of marriage, probably in Sibiu if my son-in-law Bogdan, will also be on the list of entries.
Sibiu Rally Challenge, a motorsport festival, is scheduled bewteen 20 – 23 of August and includes Sibiu Rally, the sixth round of the Dunlop National Rally Championship held under the aegis of the Romanian Federation of Motor Sport (FRAS). Sibiu Rally Challenge is an event co-financed by the Sibiu City Council and Sibiu City Hall and supported by Orange Romania.