Antony Warmbold hopes to score points in Rally Catalunya Following a good final set-up test, the German professional rally driver Antony Warmbold and his British co-driver Michael Orr enter the Rally Catalunya (28 to 30 October), the penultimate...
Antony Warmbold hopes to score points in Rally Catalunya
Following a good final set-up test, the German professional rally driver Antony Warmbold and his British co-driver Michael Orr enter the Rally Catalunya (28 to 30 October), the penultimate round of the WRC season, highly motivated.
"In Thursday's shakedown test on a damp track we were quicker than Ford factory driver Roman Kresta," says a pleased Antony Warmbold, who drives a privately fielded Ford Focus RS WRC. "In the test we first went out with hard tyres and changed to soft slicks towards the end. Since I last used these tyres in the Monte Carlo Rally in January, I wasn't able to use their full potential immediately. We could have probably clocked a better time if we had driven longer."
For the three days of the rally, as well, involving 15 special stages over a total distance of 358 kilometres, Warmbold is expecting changing and unstable weather conditions. "The choice of tyres will be crucial here," says the German living in Monaco, drawing on past experience. A positive factor for him: only a week ago he contested the Rally Corsica, which had been staged on asphalt too. "Driving on this type of surface so shortly after the last asphalt rally gives me a lot of self-confidence. The competition kilometres in Corsica feel like an intensive test. I want to push hard in Spain and come closer to the times of Toni Gardemeister, who is strong on asphalt. This rally is extremely difficult, braking just fractions of a second later than the true specialists on this surface quickly adds up to several seconds."
Warmbold has contested Spain as many as two times, but because the 2005 rally headquarters was moved to the region around Tarragona the course is new for him. "In the recce we had to prepare almost completely new notes for the roadbook. I like the special stages. They are very flat, almost like in circuit racing, with many great cornering combinations. And they are really fast."
For this asphalt classic, Antony Warmbold took over the suspension set-up used by the Estonian Markko Martin, who won the Rally Catalunya last year in a Ford Focus RS WRC. "I had to change the differential settings, though, because I have a different style of driving," explains the German. His goal: "We want to finish in the points. If we don't suffer any time losses, it should be difficult, but possible."
The Rally Catalunya is launched with a show start at the resort of Salou at 8 p.m. (local time) on Thursday evening. The competition starts at 8.28 a.m., Friday morning; the first leg includes six special stages. Six further stages will follow on Saturday. After the final three special stages on Sunday, 30 October, the teams are expected at the finish at Salou around 1.30 p.m.