When Marco Bulacia celebrated his maiden WRC 3 win at Rally México earlier this season, it really shouldn’t have come as any surprise.
Rough, tough and testing as some of the Guanajuato roads can be, they’re not quite in the same league as the ones Bulacia has seen his father succeed on. Marco Snr. was a successful stage rally driver before turning his hand to the sport’s slightly more extreme off-road form for the Dakar Rally.
Often during the January marathon event, the crews will contest the length of a WRC round in one day. All off-road, all in extreme heat and all demanding maximum mechanical sympathy allied to maximum possible pace.
Aside from the sporting aspect of their relationship it’s guidance of a more fundamental form that Bulacia Snr. has been able to offer.
He said: “Beyond the advice that I have been able to give him as a driver, in terms of sports and technical matters, I think the most important thing has been to support him as a family. We are always accompanying him and making him understand that regardless of the results, we will always be there.
“He was always a talented boy, but the maturity that he was acquiring allowed him to learn to listen and better understand how racing works. Hence, today the goals that have been proposed begin to be met.
“The greatest progress that I have seen in Marquito (Marco) has been his responsibility and seriousness with which he takes each competition, regardless of where it is. For him, it does not matter [if he prepares] for a national or World Rally Championship rally – he puts the same level of commitment and preparation on everything.”
The 20-year-old Bulacia, who has scored three podiums in four WRC 3 starts this season, says his father has been with him at every turn of his career.
“My father,” said the Citroën C3 R5 driver, “has been everything to me: manager, coach, motivator, friend and I would not say only on the car, but in life itself. I remember that when I started in karting he accompanied me to the circuit, we walked the track together and he even stopped in the ideal turning-in line during practices – even at the risk of hitting him!
“Already in the rally, we made the pacenotes together and he was in every detail, trying to teach me the culture of effort and work.
“He gets a little nervous at the rallies, looking at the WRC live tracking every second, [watching the] splits, times and trying to see with the team where we can improve. It must be difficult for him today, in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, because he has not been able to travel with me as usual.
“But he is always, in one way or another, there. That gives me peace of mind and confidence in each race.”