Capirossi ready to rally this weekend
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racer Loris Capirossi is swapping two-wheels for four this coming weekend as he competes in the Suzuki-sponsored Tempest Rally in Hampshire, England.
Capirossi and Team Manager Paul Denning -- who will also be competing in the rally - completed a successful test of the Suzuki Swift "Sport Cup" rally car at Turweston Aerodrome in Northamptonshire, England on Tuesday, in preparation for this weekend's final round of the Swift Sport Cup one make series. The pair accumulated around 100 laps between them on the bespoke gravel circuit in both daylight and dusk conditions to get first-hand experience of the situations which the drivers will encounter on the 80km course through the forests and Military training grounds of Aldershot. Although both bring limited knowledge of rallying, the session also provided the chance for Capirossi and Denning to once again become accustomed to driving with pace notes, instructions detailing the road ahead, which will be given by co-drivers Craig Thorley and Jemma Bellingham respectively.
Capirossi and Denning were both given initial instruction in the Group N Suzuki Swift by one of Britain's hottest new rally prospects James Wozencroft. They were both taken for a number of demo laps around the gravel circuit to show the amazing handling performance of what is essential a road car. The Suzuki Swifts that that pair will be driving -- with Capirossi's car sporting his distinctive racing number of 65 - are based on a standard 1586cc, 123bhp Swift Sport with small changes made to the vehicle to cope with the rigours of off-road driving, plus the addition of all the safety features needed to compete in a rally.
The Rizla Suzuki MotoGP duo will get underway in the 13 stage rally at 09.00hrs GMT on Saturday 8th November, when both will be looking to give a good account of themselves as they compete in their own rally within a rally for the glory of being the highest placed driver from the MotoGP team.
"It has been really good fun today and I have enjoyed the test day. The car is great fun to drive, and I'm really looking forward to Saturday. Today we only played, but at the weekend we will need to be careful because we have 13 difficult stages and it will be very different to the test we had today which was in a very controlled environment. It's completely different to what I'm used to, as this is the first rally for me on loose surfaces, but the car is very well set up and easy to control. I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to compete in the Tempest Rally, and I appreciate the support that Suzuki has provided to ensure that I have the best possible car and I want to say thank-you to them for giving me the chance to drive in the rally. We will have to see what happens on Saturday -- but for sure I want to beat Paul!"
Paul Denning -- Team Manager:
"I would like to thank Suzuki for the opportunity for both Loris and myself to compete in the Tempest Rally. The performance of the Suzuki Swift car is very impressive, and after only a few laps, I was able to develop confidence and understand its limits. During the session, there were fewer obstacles than in the rally itself, which meant that we could be more aggressive, but when it comes to the rally, we will have to take it a lot easier! It has been extremely valuable to have had time in the car, and to realise what a good package it is."