Rallye de France -- update after Stage 12, Salm 1 Stobart M-Sport Ford's Matthew Wilson resumed a closely fought battle with fellow Ford Focus RS WRC driver Federico Villagra for seventh position during the second morning of action at Rallye ...
Rallye de France -- update after Stage 12, Salm 1
Stobart M-Sport Ford's Matthew Wilson resumed a closely fought battle with fellow Ford Focus RS WRC driver Federico Villagra for seventh position during the second morning of action at Rallye de France.
Wilson and co-driver Scott Martin took advantage of Kimi Raikkonen's misfortune on SS10 to move up into eighth position of the overall WRC leaderboard but the young driver lost significant time on SS11, the longest stage of the rally which covered a whopping 35.48 km of competitive distance. Wilson reported it was one of the most difficult stages of his career as he was forced to steer his Ford Focus RS WRC through a large amount of mud that had been dragged onto the road by the WRC front-runners.
The 23-year-old Stobart driver then suffered from a half spin on a 2 km gravel section during the final 13.09 km stage of the morning, Salm 1. Despite a difficult end to the morning, Wilson remained in eighth position and was just 33.1 seconds behind Villagra by the time he pulled into Service D at Strasbourg Zenith.
A repeat of the morning's four stages totaling 74.61 km will be run consecutively this afternoon where Wilson will aim to close the gap on Villagra and move up into seventh position.
Stobart M-Sport Ford driver Matthew Wilson said:
"It's been another tough morning and I have to admit that I'm not enjoying myself driving on these road conditions. We made a small mistake at a junction about 5 km into the opening stage [SS9] which forced us to slow down and cost us time. Then on SS11 we really struggled - it was one of the hardest stages I've ever had to drive and was just like one of the stages in Monte Carlo. I could barely get any grip and I completely lost my confidence as a result of all the mud that had been dragged onto the road. Then on the last stage we braked late on a 2 km gravel section and had a half spin. This afternoon will be even worse than it was this morning so we'll just be looking to battle on through and hope we can stay on the road."