The Quebec drivers and their spouses at the GP3R 2014 (1st article of the series)
Didier Schraenen and Michela – Meeting Aug. 9, 2014 – 3:00 p.m.
In the very first of a series of articles about the Quebec race drivers and their spouses, it is with great pleasure that I share you with my meeting with Didier Schraenen and his spouse, Michela.
I would like to thank them for taking the time to sit down with me to do this interview.
Most of you know Didier for his presence at RDS, but did you know he’s in his 27th season in auto racing, in different series, and and in uninterrupted presence since 1993 in the Formula1600 series. Didider holds, on the Trois-Rivières circuit, the 2nd rank for most participations and is ranked 3rd for the number of podiums.
When we met at the GP3R, he was getting ready to start de 2nd race of the Formula1600 series from the second line on the grid, in 4th place.
- Gentlemen, how long have you been driving?
As mentioned before, Didier is actually in his 27th racing season.
- How long have you guys been together?
“We’ve known each other for 12 years, but we’re in a relationship since 9 years. Basically, a friendly relationship that evolved”
- How did you meet? (Race weekend, related friends or other?)
“During a race weekend, I guess you already know that…” (laughter !!)
Ed.’s Note: I was with Michela in 2002, in Lexington, Mid-Ohio when we first met Didier, who, at the time, was making live interventions during the races on RDS. It was on Patrick Carpentier’s (then with Team Players in the CART series) “perfect” weekend, where he got the best time in both qualifying sessions as well as winning the race.
- Where do you live?
Mont St-Hilaire in Montérégie
- Before the beginning of a race, do you have any ritual, routine, particular superstition? (i.e.: hand signs, gestures) Michela admits they sometimes make some kind of a hand gesture, but a kiss prior to the race is a must. Didier said he has a usual routine, but avoided giving details about it.
- Ladies, would you “risk” yourselves at giving advice to your man regarding a race?
Michela: “I could, but I don’t have to. There aren’t any situations that happen where I should give advice to Didier, other than to drive safely and be careful.”
- Gentlemen, if so, do you accept the advice?
“If she has any, I listen to all of them” says Didier.
- Ladies, what do you do during a race?(Watch it on tv? You’re always there to support? You take part in the race, timer in hands to follow the evolution? You’re unable to watch him race?)
Michela: “I’m always in the pit lane. Usually I time the laps, and follow what’s happening during the race. I like to remain aware of the drivers ranks, are they gaining or losing ground…?”
- Gentlemen, do you race full time?
For Didier, racing is a hobby. “A hobby that requires a lot of time, but still, it’s a hobby”.
- Is conciliating family/race/work difficult?
Right off, Didier makes it clear: “Michela is MY logistics manager. She’s the one taking care of preparing all the food, meals, and refreshments. She also helps me build the paddocks and all the team installations as soon as we get onsite for a race weekend.” Let’s not forget that Didier also has to drive back and forth to RDS’ studio where he describes the NASCAR Sprint Cup series races. Michela, on her side, works twelve hours shifts. Nothing to make things easier…
Michela adds: “After a difficult start this season as for the results, Didier, myself and all the NRJ / STCH / DODGE / YAMAHA / RDS team are encouraged by the recent results, which eases things when some weekends are tougher…”
As we finish, a thing promised is a thing owed…
Didier absolutely wanted me to end this article by saying that he “loves HIS baby…!!”
Share this article with your friends and make sure you come back next week for the second interview of this series.