With a mechanic and former rally driver father, Kirsten Flipkens is in her element when asked about big cars. Moreover, whenever she can, she indulges her need for speed driving her customised Audi S5 Look. But not...
With a mechanic and former rally driver father, Kirsten Flipkens is in her element when asked about big cars. Moreover, whenever she can, she indulges her need for speed driving her customised Audi S5 Look. But not too much...
At what age did your father let you drive for the first time?
I was 13. Well, it was on a parking lot and don't worry, my father was beside me. (Laughs) It served me well since I got my driver license at the first time of asking.
Rumour has it that you change cars every three months?
No, it’s exaggerated! It’s true that I change regularly. I would say every two or three years. Currently I have an Audi A5 3L that I bought in July 2010 but which has 50,000 miles on it.
Did your father give a good deal?
I didn’t even buy it from him. In fact, I always thought that I would never buy a new car. It's true; when you get out of the garage and drive for 50 miles it already has lost part of its value. But on this one, I got a good discount from Audi...
Is it true that on the junior tour, you were going from tournament to tournament in a motorhome?
No, that's not true. However, I sometimes drive to tournaments, such as the Luxembourg one, which is only 160 miles from home. And when I'm home, I drive a lot. I love it. And then, well, I have good excuses: my physio lives 50 miles away, my friends are in Hasselt (Dutch-speaking town located 40 miles from Brussels, Editor's note)...
The first time you fixed a wheel?
In June, after my semi-final in the Rosmalen Tournament I took my car to go home. Along the way, I had a flat tyre. Well ... I called my father to pick me up. I really didn’t want to take the chance and mess it up. But in theory, I know how to do it...
Tell us about this car with the license plate FLI003...
In fact, it’s quite simple: in 2003, I won Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and I became junior world champion. That makes three titles. The car was a 3L. And I’m the third generation of Flipkens after my grandfather and my father. Regarding the FLI, you'll understand that it's the first three letters of my name.
Formula 1 or WRC Rally?
Rally! I'm not a big fan of F1. I think it’s too long. And rallying means something to me because my father used to do it when he was younger. Although, I admit that I'd like to ride on a racing circuit. I already went on a track but in the passenger seat. It was with Anthony Kumpen (Belgian driver whose CV counts five victories at the Zolder 24H and three titles in the Belgar Endurance Championship, Editor's note).
Electric motor or gasoline?
Gasoline. For the engine noise, of course!
Your dream car?
Pfff! There's a bunch. But Ok, a Porsche 911 Turbo.
Your most excessive speeding?
In fact, it wasn’t excessive as it was in Germany and there’s no limitation there. I must have been driving at 135 or 140 mph, something like that. But it was in Germany. When I drive in Belgium, since the motorways are not good and there are many old people driving it is 80-85 mph max...
For or against tuning?
In my Audi S5 Look, I installed mirrors for example. It allows me customise it a little. After that, we can tinker with the engine or choose tinted windows but it has to remain relatively discreet. I don’t want to look like a chav.
Interview by Charles Michel