WRC

Acropolis Rally: Antony Warmbold preview

Antony Warmbold wants to clinch points in Acropolis Rally German Ford driver Antony Warmbold starts to the Acropolis Rally, the eighth round of the World Rally Championship (WRC), well prepared. "Since the Rally of Turkey we have improved the ...

Antony Warmbold wants to clinch points in Acropolis Rally

German Ford driver Antony Warmbold starts to the Acropolis Rally, the eighth round of the World Rally Championship (WRC), well prepared. "Since the Rally of Turkey we have improved the balance of our car," says the professional rally driver, who lives in Monaco. "Our goal was to find a set-up that gives me more self-confidence. We have made a step forward in this regard."

His times in the official shakedown test Thursday morning prior to the start of the traditional Greek rally have already given the 26-year-old reason to be optimistic. Warmbold - together with his British co-driver Michael Orr - finished in 17th place, merely 0.9 seconds behind Ford works driver Toni Gardemeister from Finland. We are very satisfied with this result because the times were very close," says Antony Warmbold. "Eight drivers were within one second of each other. In the test we were better than last year and are now starting to the rally with cautious optimism."

For Antony Warmbold this year marks his third participation in the Acropolis Rally. In his first two events he reached the finish - a fact that cannot be taken for granted in the tough gravel rally around the city of Lamia. In his 2003 Acropolis debut, Warmbold finished 13th overall, last year - in ninth place overall - he barely missed scoring a Championship point.

"This year, the legs are very level and fast, the organisers have prepared the stages very well," reports the German after having completed the 19 special stages during the shakedown. "It will be a quick as well as a very hot rally, in the early morning hours on Thursday temperatures had already topped 28 degrees. In Greece, the right choice of tyres is extremely important because we know from experience that the high temperatures and the rough gravel stages result in very heavy tyre wear.

Antony Warmbold, who prior to the end of the first half of the WRC season is ranking 13th in the WRC drivers' standings along with the Swede Daniel Carlsson and the Italian Gigi Galli, who have the same points score as Warmbold, is hoping to grab points in Greece as well. "A place among the top 8 would be nice," he says. "But the field of contenders is extremely strong here. Our primary goal is to leave as many privateer drivers behind us as possible."

The Acropolis Rally is scheduled to start on Thursday evening with a special spectator's stage at the Olympic Stadium in Athens. "I am particularly looking forward to this super special," Antony Warmbold says. "More than 60,000 tickets have been sold in advance, and the atmosphere in the stadium in front of a 'full house' will probably be fantastic." This will be followed by 18 special stages across dirt roads starting on Friday morning. On Sunday afternoon at approx. 2.25 p.m. local time the teams are expected to reach the finish in Lamia after a total of 350 timed kilometres.

-www.awarmbold.com

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Series WRC
Drivers Daniel Carlsson , Toni Gardemeister , Gianluigi Galli , Michael Orr , Antony Warmbold