1990 - 1991 Mazda Rally Team Europe

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Andre Schoonenwolf knew i was going for an intervieuw with the Mazda Rally Team Europe and he send a fax to inroduce me to the team.

This opened the door for me to go into the World Rally Championship and Mazda Rally Team Europe.

I am still very very thankfull to Andre that he send this fax. ( see below ), because this changed my life completely in a way i could never imagine.

So Here i was , my first job with a World Championship Team started in September 1989.

Mazda was based in Zaventem ( Belgium ) wich was ideal for me because i was still living in Netherlands and the team was just 90 Km from my home., so i stay during the week in an appartment and in the free weekends back home.

I was hired to work as a mechanic in the 'Parts Preparation Department' togeather with another dutch mechanic ' Barry van Boxmeer '.

This made it more easy for me to adapt to the team as we spoke the same language.

The Mazda team was a mix of people from all over Europe ( English,German,French,Swedish) but we all worked well togeather.

We had a very good time and it was a great experience for me to start working in the World Championship.

The first time the mechanics told me that they were changing suspensions in 5 minutes, Gearboxes in 20 Minutes i thought they were joking.

But after some training i realised that when you stay cool and calm you can do a lot of work in 15 Minutes service.

Specially when you are in the service point and you see the car comming in Service on 3 wheels and the one on your side is missing ...!!

But all went well and i learned a lot at Mazda and the WRC and made friends all over the world in many teams. ( many of them are still working today in Rallying )

The Mazda 323 was always the underdog in the WRC and we could not fight with Lancia and Toyota ( wich had huge budgets ).

and just when we all thought that we were going to have a good car and good sponsors and budget, Mazda Japan decided to stop Rallying end of 1992.

This was an end to a dream, Many of the mechanics went to England were most of the teams were based ( Ford, Nissan, Mitsubishi ) and some went to Germany ( Toyota Team Europe )

So i decided to follow them and came in contact with Nissan Motorsport.