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The other talents of the ULMA Group

Dec 02, 2015
Outside of work, ULMA Group employees Erik Fuente and Asier Mugarza share their love of cars and motor racing.

They are unstoppable in their work and even more so outside of it. Erik Fuente and Asier Mugarza have several things in common. They both hail from the municipality of Oñati in Gipuzkoa, they both work for ULMA Group and are of a similar age, but the special bond that unites them is their intense passion for cars, rallying, racing and speed.

| PASSION FOR SPEED

Mugarza is 38 years old and works for ULMA Packaging. His passion for racing dates back to his childhood and, although he is aware that he is involved in an expensive and risky sport, he has no intention of turning his back on it.

“My passion for racing and competition began from a young age. I used to go with my father and my little brothers. The truth is that my whole group of friends are into it”, recalls Asier.

He began racing in 2002 in a Citroën Saxo, but he sold that vehicle two years later and did not resume his hobby until 2010, the year in which he was crowned Basque mountain champion in Class 4 after winning 5 of the 6 races contested in a Renault Clio Sport, the same car he currently races in and which he has no intention of letting go of.

In 2011, an accident kept him from competing and a year later the championship came down to the last race where, once again, he suffered an accident that cost him first place and saw him take second place in Euskadi in his category.

He was unable to compete in 2013 and last year a lack of budget meant he was only able to contest three rounds.

“We have sponsors who support us. It's an expensive hobby; bear in mind that each wheel costs 300 euros”, said Asier, who has a large network of collaborators including the ULMA Group.

The driver takes care of maintaining and upgrading his vehicle, with the exception of the bodywork and painting.

“I always take care of it. I know enough about mechanics”, he says.

Beside him sits Erik Fuente, his co-driver since last year. He is 34 years old and works at ULMA Forklift Trucks. So far in 2015, they have contested 9 races together, the most recent of which was the rally of Gernika, a lengthy and demanding race which comprises 10 stages and lasts for the whole day.

Before racing, Asier and Erik travel the course together following the rules set by the organisers of the competition and take notes on the characteristics of the track. It is vital to grade the corners by degree of difficulty in order to know how fast you can go in each section without taking too many risks.

“It is a break from routine that enables me to release stress. It is a dangerous hobby, but we'll continue competing for as long as we can”, says Asier, who wanted to thank all those people who help him to pursue his dream.

“I want to thank all my sponsors, my friends and my family for their support, because without them it would be impossible to compete and participate in races”, he reflects.

For him, Erik's work and collaboration is indispensable; he acts as Asier's compass, his guide and his orientation during races.

“He's a very good co-driver. In order to perform this role, it is essential to be a very calm person”, he adds.

Erik also delves into his memory banks to remember the time when his passion for speed began. He was fourteen when he went to see the autocross in Oñati with some older friends who could drive. They went there to drive the mountain and watch the races. He has been a co-driver in off-road and asphalt races for the last four years.

“I have always loved cars. The thing I enjoy most is that moment of tension where two people have to make quick decisions. The motivation that comes from taking a risk. At the start line you're tense and when you cross the finish line you experience a sense of relief”, says Erik.

For him off-road races are more difficult than asphalt races because the legislation that governs them only permits one reconnaissance lap, which means it is impossible to make corrections. One single opportunity for success or failure, at full speed.

The other talents of the ULMA Group