Early retirement for Antony Warmbold at Rally Australia
German professional rally driver Antony Warmbold's running in the World Rally Championship's final round in Western Australia ended in disappointment. As early as on the sixth of a total of 26 special stages the Rally Australia was over for Antony Warmbold and his British co-driver Michael Orr in the Ford Focus RS WRC after they got off the track.
"The fast dirt roads are extremely slippery because of a thin layer of pellet-like gravel. That made the stages difficult to drive," reported Warmbold, who still claimed a promising tenth place overall after the fifth special stage. "I wanted to make up time to some of the drivers in front of me and attacked. I was very quick but missed a braking point five kilometres after the start. We entered a corner running much too wide, weren't able to slow down any more and slid into a bank. This pushed us to the other side of the road into a ditch. In the incident our Ford was damaged and we weren't able to continue the rally on Saturday." Warmbold continued to say: "The roads through the forests of Western Australia are very narrow, and small mistakes like this one are disastrous there."
Despite his retirement in the final event Antony Warmbold is satisfied with the way the season went. "We made a big step forwards this year," says the rally professional who contested only his third WRC season. "In the beginning of the season I still needed some time to understand the vehicle. Yet after a very good test on gravel prior to the Finland Rally there was consistent progress. We had worked out a few good set-ups with our Ford Focus, and that strengthened my self-confidence. In the second half of the season we clocked good stage times very often. I'm particularly pleased about the fact that we're consistently quick now."
Three times Warmbold clinched seventh place in the 2005 season to score a total of six Championship points. "Yet a better result would have been possible," believes the German who lives in Monaco. "We were lacking luck on many occasions. Often we were struck by misfortune at times when we were in a good position already. That's why the retirements in Japan, and most recently in Australia, are particularly painful."
After the season's finale in Australia the World Rally Championship is taking a two-month winter break. The 2006 season opener will be the traditional Monte Carlo Rally in mid-January. "It's still too early to talk about my plans for next year," says Antony Warmbold.