Solberg and Wilson get to grips with Aussie gravel Henning Solberg and Matthew Wilson are occupying strong points scoring positions for the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford team at the end of the first morning of Repco Rally Australia, Round 10 of the...
Solberg and Wilson get to grips with Aussie gravel
Henning Solberg and Matthew Wilson are occupying strong points scoring positions for the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford team at the end of the first morning of Repco Rally Australia, Round 10 of the FIA World Rally Championship, lying in sixth and seventh place overall.
The 40 starting crews headed to Kyogle, west of Rally HQ in Kingscliff, to tackle seven stages this morning, although SS6 was eventually cancelled. After their stunning display in Thursday night's Super Special Stages Solberg and co-driver Cato Menkerud started Day One in second place overall. They struggled with the set-up of their Ford Focus RS WRC on the opening tests of the day, slipping back down the field to sixth. But a strong performance and a fourth place on SS9, Castrol Edge East, kept them in contact with the leading crews.
A spin in the opening kilometre of SS4, Repco 1, saw Wilson and co-driver Scott Martin lose ground on their Stobart team mates. They recovered well and were right on the pace of championship leader Mikko Hirvonen on SS5. But the problems continued for the British duo as they struggled for grip on the last three stages of the morning, losing assistance from power steering on the final loose gravel stage.
The afternoon loop is made up of four stages already visited this morning before two further passes over the Super Special in Murwillumbah.
Stobart VK M-Sport Ford driver Matthew Wilson said:
"The first three stages this morning felt really good and we got roughly the same time as Mikko on SS5. But the last few stages were of a different nature and we really struggled on the loose surface of those stages. Even on the straights the car was really sliding around. We started to lose power steering in the last stage but hopefully we can get that fixed in Service and we'll try and improve again this afternoon."
Stobart VK M-Sport Ford driver Henning Solberg said:
"The car is sliding around a lot at the rear so the team will be taking a look at that during the break as it's been very difficult to drive. Despite the rain, the stages have been quite dry but it's still really slippery out there. There was a lot more loose gravel on the last three of the morning which made it pretty hard work."