Two teams supported by M-Sport's customer programme will contest the Cyprus Rally, round seven of the FIA 2003 World Rally Championship -- German Antony Warmbold and Briton Alistair Ginley. Both teams participated in the recent Acropolis...
Two teams supported by M-Sport's customer programme will contest the Cyprus Rally, round seven of the FIA 2003 World Rally Championship -- German Antony Warmbold and Briton Alistair Ginley.
Both teams participated in the recent Acropolis Rally and their Focus WRC's have gone direct from Greece to Cyprus, where they will undergo rebuilds prior to participating in the event, which starts with a ceremonial start on Thursday June 19.
Included in the pre-event work is a scheduled replacement engine for Warmbold. Each Customer Focus engine is replaced after three World Rally Championship events and returned to M-Sport Ltd in the United Kingdom to be rebuilt.
During the rally, the teams will all benefit from the support of M-Sport's specialist engineers, technicians and a central support truck, carrying parts and other shared technical equipment.
Missing from the M-Sport Customer line-up is Greek Hotelier Ioannis (John) Papadimitriou, who has withdrawn from the event due to business commitments in the build up to the 2004 Olympics.
AW Rally Team
Driver: Antony Warmbold (D)
Co driver: Gemma Price (GB)
Vehicle: Y3 FMC (Ford Focus WRC02)
Following his 13th overall placing in the recent 50th Acropolis Rally, Antony Warmbold is optimistic about the Cyprus Rally.
"We have said right from the start that this year is our learning year and we have used all our WRC events so far to constantly refine our pace note system and also to continue working with the car to find the best set up for my style. While the car is fantastic it's not something you can jump in and instantly drive like you've been doing it all your life and we have been pleased to make constant progress since the beginning of the year.
"However I must say that we seemed to hit the jackpot on the last day of Greece and improved over a second a kilometre. Cyprus of course is about clean lines and durability rather than speed, and we know the Ford Focus is the strongest and most reliable of all rally cars so we have no doubts there at all. But our continued confidence in the performance of the car, particularly after Greece, means I can now concentrate more on my driving style -- now I know the car will do exactly what I expect it to do," he said.
Driver: Alistair Ginley
Co Driver: Rory Kennedy
Vehicle: EJ02 KMO (Ford Focus RS WRC01)
Sponsors: Carella, Pirelli
Alistair Ginley has previously competed in the Cyprus Rally but admits this will give him little advantage.
"I was here in 2001, but in a Group N car with a different co-driver, so realistically we are treating this outing as a 'new' rally and will use the recce as an opportunity for Rory and I to write new pace notes and for me to reacquaint myself with the terrain. Cyprus is a very technical rally -- tight, twisty and rough -- and we are looking forward to the challenges it poses.
"With just a week between events we are hoping for a better run, as its not been so long between outings for us and the key to getting the most out of our Focus is to drive it as often as possible! Thankfully we don't have to look after the car as much as we did in Greece, as there's not a rally straight after, so we will push a little harder. The Acropolis was good practise for Cyprus and we are again aiming for a finishing position in the top 15," he said.