WRC

Rally of Great Britain: M-Sport final summary

Car ...

Car #23
Final Placing: 13th overall
AW Rally Team
Driver: Antony Warmbold (D)
Co driver: Gemma Price (GB)
Vehicle: Y3 FMC (Ford Focus WRC02)
Tyres: Michelin

Leg One: Facing his twelfth and final WRC challenge for the year, Warmbold was looking forward to returning to a gravel event. "Wales in not like anywhere else in the world and we were excited to be competing here for the first time. The surface is very unpredictable and slippy, so for the first few stages we concentrated on trying to read the road and the conditions and backed off where we needed to until we got used to it. It took some time to get a feel for the mud and where it can throw you and the key is taking a steady exit on the fast corners in order not to make any mistakes," he said. The solid drive paid off, with Warmbold completing Leg One 15th overall.

Leg Two: Concentrating on getting as much traction as possible, small adjustments to the rear diff settings resulted in improving stage times throughout the day for Warmbold. "The car is going very very well today. We are using a base set-up we developed for Rally Australia and this is working perfectly for these conditions. They are quite different to what we used yesterday, so I am looking forward to the second run through Resolven this afternoon to test these further," he said. However his car lost hydraulics at the start of the stage and Warmbold had no choice but to use manual gearing for the 43.09 kilometres. "With that and the number of cameras through Margam Park in preparation for tomorrow's live stage disrupting my concentration, it has not been the best afternoon. However I now know what to expect when the stage is live tomorrow and we're looking forward to a strong finish," he said, concluding Leg Two 13th overall.

Leg Three: Intermittent rain greeting the competitors for the final day of the Wales Rally GB, but this did not dampen Warmbold's spirits. "We have had an excellent weekend, a good run through the stages and we're looking forward to this afternoon," he said. Enjoying competitive stage times through the two runs at Rhondda, it was the Margam Park stage, offering live television coverage for the top competitors, that would prove his only challenge for the day. "We unfortunately spun early in the stage and also went off the road later. We couldn't select reverse, but thankfully spectators pushed us out. Somehow we had knocked the diffs into the off position when we left the road, so once we had switched them on again we were able to get going and get through to the end. It has been a great weekend for us and had summed up a fantastic learning year for me. I am delighted with our progress, have good notes and experience to base our 2004 WRC season on and are really looking forward to tackling the championship next season," Warmbold said, completing Wales Rally GB 13th overall.

Car #27
Final Placing: 25th overall
XS Vodka Kick Racing
Driver: Steve Perez
Co Driver: Jonty Bolsover
Vehicle: EX02 OBB (Ford Focus RS WRC02)
Tyres: Michelin
Sponsors: VK Vodka Kick

Leg One: Perez was looking forward to his first WRC event in his new Ford Focus RS WRC02, but as only the team's second outing in the bright VK liveried XS Vodka Kick Focus, he opted for a steady run through the morning getting used to his new car. "We competed on the British Premier Stages last week, so this is the first time for us at a WRC event and my first time in a 4WD WRC car, so we have a lot to learn," he said. Running as the final of the Priority 1 cars, those running behind had just a one minute gap and caught him during the first two competitive sections of the day, therefore at first service Perez requested and was granted a 2 minute buffer in order not to hold up those behind. "We are here to learn and we are getting better with each kilometre, but the last thing I want to do is hold up anyone behind me. It's a big rally for me and I want to get the mileage, and I am enjoying it more now we have a bigger buffer between us and the car running behind," After making considerable progress during the day, Perez was forced to stop in the Cardiff Super Special Stage that evening following the water splash. "Our steering column gaitor came off and the water came into the cockpit, which is very hot, and as a consequence instantly steamed up the windscreen so we couldn't see the road ahead. There was nothing for it but to stop and wipe the condensation off as we didn't want to go off the road," he said. Perez completed Leg One 35th overall.

Leg Two: With confidence and speed building, Perez made an excellent start to Leg Two. "This weekend has been a big learning curve for me, not only getting used to the power but also learning how to left foot brake! However we are very pleased with our progress and the car is so reliable that we are able to concentrate on our performance without worrying about it letting us down," he said. The only problem during the day was breaking the rear anti-roll bar link during the first run through SS13 Margam Park, which resulted in a lot of under steer. Perez progressed up the leaderboard during the day to complete Leg Two 29th overall.

Leg Three: After a trouble free rally, Perez suffered from a clutch problem during the final leg of the event. "The clutch started to give trouble as we started the first stage of the day, however while we were doing competitive speeds we were able to continue. It was difficult on the liaison sections as with many stops we didn't think we'd make it back through regroup to service," he said. The team traced the problem to the clutch master cylinder and changed both that and the clutch as a precaution. "Unfortunately it reoccurred when we started the penultimate stage and we again had difficulty on the liaison sections. We stopped on the finish line following the live televised SS18 Margam Park 2 and couldn't get started again, so officials pushed us through to the holding area. It was a little disappointing for our rally to finish in this way, but I have had a brilliant weekend and apart from our challenges with the clutch today the car has been fantastic. I am also delighted with our progress, as our times have improved by over 2 seconds a kilometre since the start of the weekend" he said. Perez completed Wales Rally GB 35th overall. The team will travel to Norway shortly for a week of ice driving training to prepare for next year when they will be competing mainly on British-based events.

Car #33
Final Placing: DNF
ADR Motorsport
Driver: Alistair Ginley
Co Driver: Rory Kennedy
Vehicle: EJ02 KMO (Ford Focus RS WRC01)
Tyres: Pirelli
Sponsors: Carella, Pirelli

Leg One: With barely time to change the set-up of his Focus to gravel, following his solid performance at the Rally Catalunya two weeks ago, Alistair Ginley was looking forward to his home event. "We made a good start, got our momentum going early, setting some good times and really starting to make progress up the leaderboard. The car was going brilliantly and we were very happy with how well it was performing," he said. Finishing the day with a second run through the Cardiff Super Special Stage, Ginley got off to a good start but felt the clutch go on the first corner. "We were literally 30 metres into the stage, I braked for the first corner but when I started to accelerate the clutch started slipping and there was nothing we could do but coast to a stop. A recovery truck pulled us out of the stage and we tried what we could to get back to Parc Ferme but unfortunately without assistance it was impossible and we were excluded," he said. Ginley has competed on eight World Rally Championship events this season. "We have really enjoyed our experiences this year and have been getting quicker all the time. For example, today we were more than half a minute quicker this year on stages we have competed on previously, which is a big improvement for us. The season has had many highs and lows, but we walk away with a world championship drivers point from Cyprus, and not many privateers are able to claim that this season," he said.

             Car #37

Final Placing: DNF
Team Ford Sweden
Driver: Andreas Eriksson (S)
Co driver: Patrick Henriksson (S)
Vehicle: V4 FMC (Ford Focus WRC00)
Tyres: Pirelli
Sponsors: Pirelli, Ford Sweden

Leg One: Reigning Swedish Rally Champion Eriksson was looking forward to a strong performance on the Wales Rally of GB and made a good start at the Cardiff Super Special Stage on Thursday night to be 20th overall. Making a strong start to the event he was setting a good time through the first stage of Leg One, SS2 Brechfa, when he went off the road. "The roads were very slippy -- like driving on ice with no studs -- and different to the conditions we saw during the recce. Unfortunately we slid wide on a left corner and dropped the right front and rear wheels into a ditch and ended up almost on our side. It was very frustrating as the more we tried to drive the Focus out, the further back we slid in the mud. There were no spectators where we went off the road, so there was no one to help push us out and eventually we burnt the clutch out while trying to regain the road. I was very disappointed that our rally ended so soon as we were looking forward to a good run," he said, adding that Valentino Rossi had gone out in exactly the same spot in last year's Rally of Great Britain.

-msport-

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