Less than one year ago, Nikita Misyulya hadn’t even sat in a racing car. The young Russian soon embarked on a season in the the highly competitive Lada Granta Cup in Russia. Despite his inexperience, Misyulya was immediately on the pace and claimed the title in his debut motor sport season. For 2014, he will race a Volland Racing run Skoda Fabia Super1600 in the FIA European Rallycross Championship.
Misyulya has had a busy winter, spending as much time as possible driving a variety of cars to perfect his skills. Yesterday (April 13) he contested his first rallycross event, a Dutch / British national round at Valkenswaard, Holland, to prepare further for the season ahead, and duly won. “I really loved driving in Holland. I like winning, that is why i’m here. But, it’s not the only thing I work for. I’m here first for pleasure, but when you win it is more pleasurable,” says Misyulya, who visited a rallycross event for the first time last season and immediately fell in love with the sport. “There is a long story about how I went to Hungary, but I was in Germany to get a seat for my Lada and I had to wait a few days, so I went with Rolf [Volland] to Hungary and it was amazing! I went to France too and I really enjoyed every minute of it. The racing is just incredible. It really excites me to watch, and now to race myself excites me even more.”
While the increased profile of rallycross since IMG took over promotion at the end of 2012 is one of the reasons for Misyulya’s decision to commit to EuroRX, it is not the only deciding factor, finding himself drawn to this most exciting of motorsports for a number of reasons; “The rising profile is one of the reasons for doing rallycross for sure, but its not just because of that. I’m doing it because I like it, and I do it because spectators like it. Everything I do, I do with my heart. With the budget we have for this year, I could choose any of the european series, like Formula Three for example, but i’ve chosen rallycross because I really like it. I really enjoy doing it and I really enjoy watching it and i think people love it. This is just the beginning of a big rallycross future, not just for me, for the whole sport.”
Teaming up with experienced racer and engineer Volland for a Super1600 campaign would be a shrewd move for one who knows the sport, but for Misyulya it as well as happened by accident, and the venture has served him well already. Alongside race car preparation and engineering, Volland works for Audi’s ‘Driving experience’, which has been put to good use by his drivers for 2014 in the winter months; “We’ve been in Austria twice with Rolf at the Audi Quattro Driving Experience, and i’ve been in Finland twice for four days too,” says Misyulya. “We’ve done some tests in the Fabia, but it is never enough, I just really like to drive. At the last test we went to a place in Germany, but Rolf was working for Audi. When the engineer told him afterwards that we had done 150 laps in two days, he was amazed. I told him that it was not enough for me, but we had to stop because we had no more tyres left! I didn’t choose which car to drive now i’ve come to rallycross, I don’t choose a team. I just became in touch with Rolf and i’ve stuck with him. I haven’t even searched the market, I just realised that this is where I want to be and that these are the people with whom I want to work. I really like it here.”
Away from his rallycross programme in 2014, Misyulya will also realise his prize for winning the Granta Cup later this season when he will join the works Lada World Touring Car Championship team to drive at the Russian round of the WTCC. “The prize for the champion was a race in the WTCC, which will be the sixth round in Russia at the start of June. It’s great, we will have some fun there. I enjoy everything about driving, it will be a great experience and very different to rallycross.”
Misyulya knows he has a good car and a strong team around him for his first season in rallycross, but his immediate goads are realistic; “I will always do my best, I know that Rolf always does his best, the team do their best. After that, we will hope for the best. I don’t want to do this as a hobby, I want it to be my life and my profession. I’ve wanted to be a professional sportsman for many years, and I want to help make rallycross big in Russia. One year ago I hadn’t had my first test in the Lada, I hadn’t raced before and now I am in rallycross. It’s great, and I’m really excited for this season.”
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