Leonel Pernía: "I know that I am in my last years as a professional pilot"

In-depth interview with the Renault Castrol Team driver, who has been representing Rombo in the Super TC2000 for a decade.

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In Argentine motorsport, cases such as that of Leonel Pernía, who due to his fidelity to Renault at Super TC2000 has become a true trademark symbol. El Tanito is going through his tenth season with Rombo, with which he had the possibility of celebrate a title in 2019.

Completed the sixth date of the 2021 contest in Paraná, Pernía occupies the fifth place of the tournament, which is for others fought. In an interesting heads-up, the one from Tandíl talked about everything, from his loyalty to the company until retirement. And, of course, the intense championship that has him as the protagonist.

Leonel Pernía-What does it mean to race with Renault?
-I feel privileged to represent for so many years a brand that is emblematic and has motorsport in its DNA. There are not many brands like Renault, there is a story to defend in every race. We are going for the 2021th season of working together and that is not so common in our motorsport. Logically, so much time and so many experiences make you loyal, we go through a lot of moments together - the spectacular ones and also the difficult ones - but always pulling for the same side, sharing the same values. This XNUMX we continue in the fight that that is the important thing.

-Do the distance and the years change your look?
-There are many years of living this passion. If I look back I see that I really enjoyed my professional career, motorsport gave me a lot and I still enjoy it… but obviously generations go by and young people have been pushing and everything is renewed. So I evaluate and enjoy everything from the place that I have to occupy now, I know perfectly well that I am in my last years as a professional driver, but I also see my son Thiago grow who is taking his first steps in Formula Renault 2.0 and I know positively that he is going to be one of those who is going to replace me and that is a satisfaction. We all have a hard time letting go of what we do, especially if that is our passion. You have to know when it's time, when to retire from a profession and a passion like the one we have. Watching my son enjoy motorsport makes things easier.

Leonel Pernía-How do you evaluate the traffic of 2021?
-The balance of this half of the season is really very good: we started the year winning, being benchmarks, leading the championship ... Afterwards it cost us a little more, but we were always competitive. Everything is so tight in the championship that it hurts the points that you cannot add or that you lose.

-How do you see the Renault Castrol Team?
-There is something that is basic and super important: we have a team that is always highly motivated, that is competitive and never lowers its arms. The conditions are in place to fight another tournament as usual at Renault.

Leonel Pernía-This year there will be two mandatory discards, what will be the strategy?
-The strategy will always go to the bottom ... We are experiencing a Super TC2000 championship of the most contested in the last eight or nine years, with all the teams involved in the fight, with a number of pilots with enormous capacity who are fighting in the tournament and that the truth means that you can never lower your guard, at any time. The look is positive, we are very well and, with the issue of discards, obviously it makes everything even more competitive. I am sure that the last date of this season will find us four or five drivers fighting hand-in-hand for the title. Today everything is important, even the smallest details count a lot ... and mistakes too. As everything is so fought, it makes it necessary to maintain full concentration, maintain work, seriousness ... Those are the fundamental pillars when championships are so competitive.

- You usually drive a Renault Alaskan, have you already had the opportunity to test the New Renault Duster?
-As a child when I lived in Tandil I was driving all day, on asphalt, on cobblestones, in mud, on dirt roads ... Tandil has ups, downs, lots of mountains ... I loved it. Now that I'm older, it's harder for me to get off the asphalt, I go to the races and I like to drive, but I rarely go off the road. So I really enjoyed the test of the New Renault Duster, which I was able to drive through difficult places.

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Automundo is the blog about news from the automotive industry, motorsport and the culture of the region. Director: Diego Durruty.

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