WRC

Cyprus Rally: Antony Warmbold preview

Antony Warmbold optimistic before starting to Cyprus Rally For the third time in his - still young - career in the Rally World Championship, German Ford driver Antony Warmbold is starting to the Cyprus Rally. Prior to the sixth of a total of 16...

Antony Warmbold optimistic before starting to Cyprus Rally

For the third time in his - still young - career in the Rally World Championship, German Ford driver Antony Warmbold is starting to the Cyprus Rally. Prior to the sixth of a total of 16 rounds in the World Rally Championship (WRC) Warmbold, together with his British co-driver Michael Orr, is ranking in eleventh place of the drivers' standings.

"So far, we've always had bad luck in Cyprus," says the 26-year-old professional rally driver. "In our first competition on the island in 2004 we retired after a driving error, last year the rally ended for us prematurely after a fuel pump defect."

The outcome he's wishing for, the German living in Monaco expresses like this: "We want to finish this time. But the legs here are extremely hard and stony, the retirement rate is traditionally very high. That's why it's difficult for me to set my sights on a particular position in which to finish overall."

His most recent WRC stint in the Sardinia Rally two weeks ago, Warmbold finished seventh overall, clinching two WRC points. "In Italy I was quick particularly on the flowing stretches," he analyses in retrospect. "The legs of the Cyprus Rally, however, are very stony, rough, twisting and tight. We have optimised our set-up for this terrain a little, that's why I'm eager to see how I'll compare with works drivers Toni Gardemeister and Roman Kresta. My goal is to approach the times clocked by Gardemeister. I'm going to attack, but with due caution on the extremely rough stretches."

A jogging accident at home in Monaco could have turned out a lot worse for Warmbold. "Immediately after the Sardinia Rally I slipped and fell on my left hand, causing me to pull a muscle," the German says, recounting his mishap. "Luckily, I didn't break anything, but my hand was hurting for a long time. To play it safe, I used a bandage while driving the practice sessions. But now - fortunately - the pain and discomfort have subsided so that I'm able to compete in the rally without any problems."

In Thursday's shakedown- test Warmbold, together with Michael Orr, had the opportunity of accumulating some test miles at the wheel of his Ford Focus RS WRC. "But the test track did not really represent the conditions of the rally, " the German reports. "We covered five laps and subjected the car to a final functional test."

The Cyprus Rally is scheduled to begin on Thursday evening with a show start. The first special stage will start on Friday at 9.38 a.m. local time. The rally will finish at Limassol at 3 p.m. on Sunday after 18 special stages across a total distance of 326 kilometres.

-www.awarmbold.com

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Series WRC
Drivers Toni Gardemeister , Roman Kresta , Michael Orr , Antony Warmbold