M-Sport press release
Solberg Proves Potential As Wilson Adopts Mature Approach
As a new day dawned on the 80th Rallye Monte Carlo with six stages across 131.86 competitive kilometres, the Go Fast Energy World Rally Team showed some real speed amid an intelligent approach to this, one of the toughest events on the WRC calendar. Scaling the leaderboard throughout the day, Norway’s Henning Solberg now lies 14th with Matthew Wilson 13th overall.
Regardless of their decision to take the smart approach, run their own rally and get to the finish ramp, Solberg and co-driver Ilka Minor notched up a string of top-ten fastest times in the opening loop of Day 2. Clearly building in confidence despite no pre-season testing, the pairing set the sixth fastest time on SS6, just 11.9 seconds adrift of younger brother Petter in the factory Ford team. An engine misfire on SS7 cost the Scandinavian valuable seconds, but with his pace constantly improving, Solberg was well-placed to take advantage of the conditions over the course of the afternoon.
The Norwegian continued to demonstrate his potential speed throughout the afternoon’s stages. With a further string of competitive times, Solberg climbed to 14th in the overall standings, 1:01.5 behind team-mate Wilson. Eager to overturn their previous misfortunes, Solberg and Minor will look to their wealth of experience to gain further places in the challenging conditions to come.
Progressing with their cautious approach, Wilson and co-driver Scott Martin continued to evince a level-headed approach to this event. Well aware of the pit-falls Monte Carlo can inflict, the Brits drove their own rally and took the opportunity to experiment with the set-up of their Ford Fiesta RS WRC. In a different approach to their competitors, the duo played with the configuration of their soft and super-soft tyres from SS6 onwards to gain more of the valuable knowledge needed to prosper on the stages around Monte Carlo.
Stiffening the springs on their Fiesta during the midday service, the British pairing embarked on the afternoon loop with much to learn. Despite losing out to Martin Prokop and Armindo Araujo, the Brits gained some vital knowledge of the set-up required for the Monte Carlo stages and will be looking to gain further knowledge as the rally continues.
Henning Solberg (14th) said:
“Everything is ok but we had a big stone between the wheel and the calliper in the front which I have never seen before! For sure it cost me some time but we are getting closer every stage. The car is feeling good and tomorrow I’m just going to go as fast as I can. We can do nothing else.”
Matthew Wilson (13th) said:
“We struggled a bit this afternoon in the dirty conditions, especially where we found a lot of cuts on the road. We stiffened the springs in service which worked ok on the first stage [SS8], but it maybe wasn’t the right way to go for the other two [SS9 and SS10]. We’re definitely learning a lot. This was always going to be a bit of a test for us.
“Tomorrow, we’ll see what the weather does and take it from there. There might be some snow so we’ll see what happens. The stages are also very different from what they were today. Today the roads were quite narrow and bumpy, but tomorrow they’ll be a lot wider and smoother.”