A big challenge for the OMV Kronos Citroen WRT * Stohl/Minor want to further improve their Mont Carlo-balanc e * Testing during the night for the first time * Team Manager Marc Van Dalen is very confident Currently the final...
A big challenge for the OMV Kronos Citroen WRT
* Stohl/Minor want to further improve their Mont Carlo-balanc e
* Testing during the night for the first time
* Team Manager Marc Van Dalen is very confident
Currently the final preparations for the beginning of the FIA World Rally Championship 2007 in Monte Carlo (January 18 to 21) are under way for the OMV Kronos Citroen World Rally Team. But before Manfred Stohl and Ilka Minor will drive over the start ramp in Valence, the OMV duo will complete a final test on Sunday in the vicinity of Lyon. For the first time test drives during the night are also scheduled. The 34-year-old Austrian and the team thereby want to find the perfect set-up for the Citroen Xsara WRC. OMV Kronos Citroen Team Manager Marc Van Dalen is convinced that a place on the podium is possible.
Approaching unchartered territory
Manfred Stohl does know the Monte Carlo Rallye very well. The OMV driver will already compete for the ninth time in the principality. But this year's edition of the first run to the FIA World Rally Championship has very little to do with Monaco and the most recent rally events there. The start will be about 390 kilometres to the north - in Valence. The last competition in this area took place in 1997. Even though Manfred Stohl was at the start back then it won't be an advantage for him. Stohl: "That was ten years ago and one doesn't remember special stages that took place so long ago. Thanks to the old records we also know that this time around completely different courses will be completed. This rally is as new to me as it is to the other drivers. Yet this certainly is no disadvantage." Stohl's car is another novelty. Even though the OMV driver completed ten runs in the Citroen Xsara WRC in 2005 he nevertheless enters unchartered territory in 2007. The expectations of the OMV duo Stohl/Minor are still high. Stohl: "We were sixth two years ago and last year finished fourth. So it is obvious that we want to reach the podium this time around."
98 percent of the speed ready to be called off anytime
In order to be ready for the first "real thing", extensive testing will be done on Sunday in the vicinity of Lyon. Stohl: "One can't compare this year's car to the one from 2005. A lot of development has taken place since then. We will start off with last year's basic set-up for Sebastien Loeb and hope to come close to our perfect set-up." Night testing will also take place for the first time since on Thursday two night special stages will be completed at the Monte Carlo Rallye. "It is a good thing to get used to lighting conditions in the dark. I like night stages - I am capable of calling off 98 percent of my speed at any time. No matter what the weather or road conditions are like. Therefore bad conditions are rather to my advantage", explains the OMV driver. For the Monte 2007, though, dry and calculable conditions are predicted. "In such a case one has to give 102 percent - which means that you are over the limit but is the only way to go if you want to be among the top."
Team Manager is confident for Stohl/Minor
OMV Kronos Citroen Team Manager Marc Van Dalen is quite at ease despite the new situation. "Last year the title-win by Loeb and the second place in the manufacture ranking meant a sensational season for us. But I am also convinced that we will reach many excellent results and be good for several surprises this year, as well. The car is perfect, the team does a brilliant job and I am sure of Manfred's and Ilka's class. A lot is possible, especially in Monte and therefore we obviously strive for a podium place."
328,54 kilometres on 15 special stages
The "Rallye Automobile Monte Carlo 2007" will commence on Thursday (January 18) at 18:00 in Valence. On this very day two night special stages will be completed. On Friday and Saturday (January 19/20) twelve further special stages are scheduled in the Valence area. On Saturday evening the teams will depart for Monte Carlo where a final super stage will be completed on several sections of the Formula-I-course (around the swimming pool) on Sunday morning (09:00). All in all 328, 54 special stage kilometres will be completed, divided into 15 stages. The overall length (excluding the drive from Valence to Monte Carlo) measures 1.185,22 kilometres.
-credit: omv kronos