İskender Atakan :

0
Eklenme Tarihi: January 11, 2013 MR X
DSC_8200

In your both business life and sports life, you have always given importance to the youth and training them and you still do…

 

Selfishness… I had a single goal in my life. Being respectable… The one can be respectable only if he deserves it. It’s not about wealth. For instance, I wasn’t late for this interview even for a minute. If I am young and the field isn’t left clear for me, I’d be unhappy. I pay strict attention not to treat people the way I don’t want to be treated.

The point is not me, me, me… It’s “us”. So, the field should be left clear for youth. If this is a place of only one person, it wouldn’t be interesting anymore. This is a place of 600 people. The goal is absolutely representing Turkey. I felt this pain while I was racing. Foreigners have always made light of us. There is no any other company to be able to sign contracts which we have signed. We are recorded and I assert that we are the only manufacturer of Opel in the world. We are one of two manufacturers of Hyundai. We will be the only one to manufacture Hyundai soon. There are more examples by the way. I’m a son of a colonel. I didn’t grow with money. I can do everything for being respectable and contributing my country on condition to be thoughtful. My only goal is this.

Saying “He took from his life and Team Atakan soul and injected to us”, together with the cups, they had placed the automobile to the entrance by taking it from the garage without my knowledge. Those cups would fill a room. There were no cups in my house. I have two sons. I have never popularized racing in house not to influence them. Belkis Yalcin used to keep those cups in a room. At first, I was upset so much saying “What my private life has to do in front of my working place?”. But when they told me the main idea, I had to stop speaking.

You race for 3 days and you win or lose with 2 seconds. There would be no success if no one puts their hearts into the job. Team Atakan became champion of Turkey for 8 times in 8 years. Later on, a team which had ranked in 3rd place in world championships raised the Turkish flag in Australia, China and Argentina. There is a very nice team here. Today, we have assemblages in Australia, Argentina, Chili and the entire Europe under this roof.

Why did you quit racing then?

In order to be respectable. How?

I needed to leave it before it left me. I was supposed to transfer my experiences, which I gained thanks to my sponsors, to the youth. I decided to quit and I signed Volkan Isik, Serkan Yazici, Ertan Nacaroglu on the team after two years. I transferred my experiences to them. Moreover, we placed a bet with Turhan Talu. He said “There is no one who quitted Marlboro piloting voluntarily when he was a champion in the world”. He said “He’s shooting the bull”. I said “After 2 years, I will raise these guys and quit”. We had placed a bet but he still didn’t pay the bet J. No one believed. When I said I’m quitting by the end of the season and raised the guys, they still didn’t believe. Thanks to all of them, they wanted to organize a jubilee for me. It was a wonderful memory for me. They hired Hilton Convention Center. The tables were all rims and tires. The seats were pilot seats. When they were even doing this, they didn’t regard my quit as possible. The important thing is choosing the difficult one.

Don’t you even miss?

 

It’s a passion for me. Of course I miss. But one day, during an award ceremony in Swiss Hotel, a press member said “We got bored of you”. “If a dog bites a human, it’s not news. You and your team win every race. You casted a damper on the stuff”, he added. A lightning flashed inside me at there.

 

Are you regretful?

 

I’m not. It was nice to transfer my knowledge to those guys when I was a champion. No one could outstrip them as well.

Do you still race sometimes?

 

Sometimes… Mumtaz Tahincioglu presses me for racing. I had raced by the automobile you see in front of the entrance for one or two times. If short and easy opportunities occur, I’d race again. Of course not with the young racers… I know my place. I may do it with pleasure to enjoy and breathe that air.

Why Team Atakan was closed up?

 

The prohibition of cigarette advertisements affected the sponsorships. Team Atakan was a big team with its mechanics and garage. But when there is no sponsor, this business finishes. We raced to a certain extent. The economy in the world went through a crisis as well. It couldn’t work any longer. We had to quit.

 

Rally is liked and spoken in Turkey but it looks like it has lost its old bright days… Why? What happened on a sudden?

 

 

 

 

“We placed a bet with Turhan Talu. He said “There is no one who quitted Marlboro piloting voluntarily when he was a champion in the world”. He said “He’s shooting the bull”. I said “After 2 years, I will raise these guys and quit”. We had placed a bet but he still didn’t pay the bet J. No one believed.

 

 

This question is asked me one or two times in a week. They say “We used to see automobile sports everywhere in your time. There was an abnormal interest. What happened now?”. In the past 3-4 years World Championship is organized in Istanbul and I don’t even know about its date. I am not an authority; I can’t answer this question but I think that the charisma of the racing people is a very big factor.


PR?

 

Of course… In our times, working hours were spent for PR works as much as they were spent for racing team. A special file would be prepared and sent to every single press member. I don’t say these are done short but I don’t steer clear of anyone. It’s pretty accurate to say that this sport isn’t mentioned in Turkey. 18 years have passed since I left but

they still ask me about the races. For example, you are under age to have watched me. In my time, I had got an invitation from a kindergarten. I had found that absurd. I had thought that there was a teacher interested in racing and using the school. As we entered the class, there were such wonderful questions from those teeny-weeny children. The shorties at the ages of 3 or 4 who can’t even speak… There was a child who asked “What hp your Lancia has got?”. Where is it now? There is no racing news. That is to say, it was our chance.


you like adrenaline but you have a passion for fishing as well.

 

I do scuba diving by the way.

 

How does it happen? Does fishing need silence and patience? Isn’t it a bit weird for someone who has passions full of adrenaline to have a passion for fishing?

 

It’s not always adrenaline, of course. I like it so much, that’s apart. But most of the time, I love to listen to the voice of the nature by stopping the boats. It’s so calming.

 

Do you have a boat?

 

I do. Canados.

 

Do you go for fishing every week?

 

I do whenever it’s possible.

 

Where do you go mostly?

 

I don’t fish here in June, July and August. Because it’s spawning season. I go to Black Sea from August 1 until the new year to fish horse mackerel and bluefish… I go to Saros after January to fish swordfish and tuna.

Your father is a sailor. Is it a passion left from your father?

 

A submariner… My uncle, big brother, father; all of them… My father was also interested in fishing. My big brother taught me fishing. There is a silence but when a fish hits, there is a big challenge and excitement again.

 

Which one stands out among your passions?

 

 

 

In the past 3-4 years World Championship is organized in Istanbul and I don’t even know about its date. I am not an authority; I can’t answer this question but I think that the charisma of the racing people is a very big factor.


 

 

It is also a loss for introduction of Turkey…

 

The foreigners who used to come to the races in our times still come to the Blue Voyage in Bodrum every year. A great advertisement… They say Southern France, St. Tropez etc… What is absent here? Snow life, restaurants, service are okay there but the sea and the nature can’t be compared with here. The only necessity of this country is foreign currency. If 60 million people go to France, 120 should come here. The weather here is both appropriate for swimming and skiing for instance.

Do you ski?

 

I go to skiing since my childhood. Board wasn’t present in my time. We started with wooden boards which we’d fasten to our feet with strings. J

 

Rally and skiing are the sports which include adrenaline;


Rally is a whole different thing. I separate that. The racing time was the thing that I enjoyed least. I loved trainings much more. Everyone may have been to Yugoslavia or Italy but to certain places. We used to reach all the nature, forests and people out there. That was attracting me.

 

There must be a lot of memories of you. What is the most mark-leaving memory?

 

There is a memory when we went for training to Teke, a village of Sile, years ago. I still laugh when I remember. We were training on the closed roads because of security. And the villagers used to recognize us, of course. One day, I turned out a bend. There is a café in Teke Village. Everyone in the café gestured. They knew me already. “Iskender brother, come here, we made a very delicious buttermilk. You drink it and we’ll meet you someone. Please come!”. I said “What’s up? What’s

 

going on?” I went. “His name is Crazy Mustafa”, they said. “He carries wood to Istanbul by truck. He is the fastest”, they added. They said “He always says ‘Who is he? Somebody named Iskender Atakan! If I drive the car that he drives, I’d fly!’. He had been saying “That’s a very small car!”. “Brother, why don’t you talk to him?”, they said. And Mustafa was staring at us over there. I said “I can drive this car and Mustafa can drive his truck. I can’t drive truck. I suppose he says these things in this connection”. Mustafa interrupted. “I don’t say in that connection! You get on to a pill-sized car and drive up and down all the day. I can go as fast as you do in the darkness of the night with 10 tons of load”, he said. I said “Come and get on the car with me”. The service staff came as well. We fastened him to the seat properly. We set his helmet. And being fastened was abhorrent to him. He was asking “Why do you fasten me like a sausage?”.


You always mention the team. What’s the order of importance in rally in your opinion?

 

The pilot is just a zero by himself. If the co-pilot doesn’t read the note right in the right time, the pilot can’t do anything. There is such a speed that won’t allow the pilot do the right thing until the pilot would see the bend and the eye would give command to the brain. Co-pilot and the team are very important. On the surface, the pilot looks like a hero but the real point is at the back. I say this as a pilot. The pilot’s success comes from the mechanics first. If the mechanics didn’t prepare a good car, what would happen if you catch lightning in a bottle? However, if the pilot isn’t good whereas the others are superb, it doesn’t matter as well. It’s completely teamwork.

 

Who were your co-pilots?

 

Yavuz       Malkoçoglu,         Yusuf

 

A person is fastened from six points in our runs. We put his Intercom as well. First gear, 2nd, 3rd… I said “Mustafa”. There was silence. I said “Mustafa” again. There was silence again. I turned and looked at him; he had shut his eyes. He wasn’t able to speak as well. We turned back. He just got off the car and went away. The villagers said “He can’t come here for a month from now on”. I still laugh at this. There was a memory like this, with Selahattin Duman. He even had written about that 2 times consecutively.

 

A wonderful speed, control and heart… How do you comment the technology in the past and the technology of today?

 

 

“I have never taken my sons to racing. I have never taken my racing life to the house. I didn’t want that. Let them play tennis. When Volkan or Serkan would take a bend late for 10 seconds, my heart was throbbing. I guess I would die if I watch my son. I can’t wait for them bend by bend.”


Aramacı, and lastly Can  Okan.

 

Are you planning to team up as Team Atakan again?

 

From now on, I calculate how many summers and how many winters I’ll live J

 

Are your sons interested in rally?

 

I have never taken them to rally. They didn’t have such an opportunity.

 

Why?

 

I didn’t want that. Let them play tennis. When Volkan or Serkan would take a bend late for 10 seconds, my heart was throbbing. I guess I would die because of my heart if I watch my son. I can’t wait for them bend by bend.

 

There is a serious difference between the past and the present. But there is an inverse proportion as well. In those times, there were no limitations in powers. Our automobiles were up to 500-550 hp. Subvention system was weaker, transmission system was underdeveloped, brake system was not sufficient and it was 500 hp. It was the disaster. There were no developments to handle this power. Now, there are active differentials and it’s limited with 300 hp.

 

Why?

 

Because it’s dangerous. We used to race by more powerful automobiles. Actually, this is one of the reasons in audition loss. The sound coming out is a bit weak. We used to drive knocking over the mountains. The skies were groaning. Today’s cars handle better but there’s no sound.


Well, are there new plans for Nova?

 

Of course there are. I will allocate %50 more time for myself after 2 years. But I will work till I die. I witnessed that my friends who quitted working were so unhappy and lost their health. Therefore, I will work till I die and start to allocate more time to myself and my family. We have made here an institution with Tahincioglu family. From now on, the decisions here are made by leader youngsters who grew here. We just express our opinions. From now on, they will decide where Nova will advance to.

 
80  January  2013