Rally Catalunya: M-Sport final summary

AW Rally Team (Anthony Warmbold) Leg One: A newcomer to Spain, Warmbold made an excellent start to the Rally Catalunya. "I was surprised by how dirty the roads have been, in particularly SS4 which was very slippery. Our Focus has been ...

AW Rally Team (Anthony Warmbold)

Leg One: A newcomer to Spain, Warmbold made an excellent start to the Rally Catalunya. "I was surprised by how dirty the roads have been, in particularly SS4 which was very slippery. Our Focus has been perfect today and we had some good times. Our only problem was going out on the wrong tyres for the middle two stages, but apart from that it has been troublefree. Keeping a clean line on the road is important in these conditions as it would be so easy to go off. Tomorrow will be challenging, particularly with one stage run in the opposite direction which means the dirt dragged onto the road during the first run through is in the 'wrong' places, so we will be cautious," he said. Warmbold finished Leg One 17th overall.

Leg Two: A good run through the first stage of the day, SS9, was marred by the loss of the hydraulics halfway through. "The Focus jammed into fifth gear, which thankfully wasn't as bad as it could have been because the stage was a wide, fast piece of motorway style road, so we didn't lose too much time. At the end I was able to change to manual gearing for the final two morning stages, which made us a little slower but apart from making the braking and handling difficult we didn't have any further problems," he said. The team changed the hydraulic pump at the following service and Warmbold posted steady times throughout the day to finish Leg Two 16th overall.

Leg Three: Warmbold was optimistic when greeted with rain at the start of Leg Three. "I have not had much experience driving in the wet on asphalt, so I am looking forward to working with the team and the car to improve my performance in these conditions," he said. With a harder suspension set up for the morning's stages, Warmbold chose to back off the throttle a little as conditions worsened. "It became dangerous with the amount of water on the road, which in turn made the stages more of a mud bath - so much so that you don't see the asphalt any more," he said. Changing to a softer option for the second set he enjoyed a good run. However his windscreen wiper linkage broke on SS21, the shortest of the three stages, and the team made the decision to withdraw him for safety reasons. Warmbold was lying 17th overall. "We made so much progress this weekend and we had nothing to gain from 35km in heavy rain with no wipers, so the decision was made not to complete the final stage. I am delighted with our weekend, we have gained a lot of experience and our Focus RS has been faultless. Now we are looking forward to competing in the final round of the WRC in two weeks, the Wales Rally of GB," said Warmbold.

ADR Motorsport (Alistair Ginley)

Leg One: Ginley spent the morning working on different set-ups for his Ford Focus RS, finding it tricky to get a good balance for the conditions. "Our springs were too hard, and then too soft, but we made a lot of progress and have a lot of confidence in the car's ability. Where we are running on the road means it's dirty and you have to follow the line - if you come out of corners in the wrong place and get caught by the gravel that's it, you're gone," he said. Unfortunately Ginley experienced this first hand during SS7. "One minute we're coming out of a corner, the next the gravel caught us and we spun into a ditch, hit a rock and spun into the side of the mountain. We were able to keep going for the final 14 kilometres, but the front right tyre had been punctured in the accident and by the time we got to the end it was on the rim, and we lost about three and a half minutes," he said. The passenger door and front right took the brunt of the impact and while the damage was mainly cosmetic, the resulting time loss relegated Ginley down the leaderboard, finishing Leg One 36th overall.

Leg Two: On the way to first service, Ginley noticed his dashboard display unit was flashing intermittently. "It was showing the correct information but kept turning itself on and off which was distracting but easily fixed at service," he said. Following a busy first leg, the second day of the Rally Catalunya was relatively troublefree for the duo. "The only challenge we've had today was if Rory needed to get out of the car between stages, as the temporary door we have used since our accident yesterday has virtually had to be jammed shut for the stages. Thankfully the Ford dealer in Vic was able to supply us with a new door so we fitted that at final service tonight," he said. Following a good clean run through the stages, Ginley worked his way up the leaderboard to finish Leg Two 26th.

Leg Three: After two busy days Ginley was delighted to have troublefree runs through the morning's stages, despite the rain. "It's unbelievable out there, lots of water on the road and it's very, very dirty. You can just see the line, and you have no option but to stick to it, as you have no idea where the road goes. I've not driven in these conditions before and the running water on the roads is strange. You hit it in patches and there is no way of knowing if you'll aquaplane or not," he said, adding his Pirelli tyres were working well in the wet. The weather worsened during the final loop of three stages, not only making conditions bad for the drivers but also for the teams themselves who were forced to make alternative servicing arrangements as the Vic service park flooded. "We got back to the final service to find our crew waiting for us in the middle of our service road - our service area completely flooded under about 20cm of water. Luckily the other competitors using our area had been through, so we were able to service without blocking anyone." Ginley completed the Rally Catalunya 23rd overall.

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About this article
Series WRC
Drivers Alistair Ginley , Anthony Warmbold
Teams M-Sport