For the first time ever, World Championship Rally competitors faced off in the land of the rising sun. Antony Warmbold and Gemma Price left in search of new specials, but also a different world and culture. They came back happy from their Japanese...
For the first time ever, World Championship Rally competitors faced off in the land of the rising sun. Antony Warmbold and Gemma Price left in search of new specials, but also a different world and culture. They came back happy from their Japanese adventure, and they added yet another point in the World Rally Championship.
During the first special stages, a wrong tyre choice got Antony off to a poor start. The error was not repeated, and for the remainder of the first leg, the German driver clocked satisfying times and held onto 9th position, just behind Ari Rovenpera.
During the second leg, Antony had the disadvantage of opening the road. Although he started off well, he soon felt the effects of an overheating rear axle. Even though he held his overall position, Antony lost precious time. And during the 45-minute end-of-day service, the M-Sport mechanics achieved the feat of changing the Ford Focus WRC's entire transmission, i.e. the front and rear axles and the gearbox.
The next day, the Ford Focus WRC n11 was able to get back into the rally under normal conditions. After Francois Duval retired, Antony Warmbold and Gemma Price rose to 8th position, earning them a point in the World Rally Championship. Only in special stage 23, the Ford Focus WRC's turbo broke, which held up the German and brought him down one position in the overall classification. Once again, the M-Sport mechanics showed what they were capable of. During the last kilometres of Rally Japan, Antony gave his all to catch up with Arai. Finally, in the last special, Antony Warmbold and Gemma Price passed Toshi Arai to collect a new point at the World Rally Championship.
Antony Warmbold: "Like last year, I rose to a new level during Rally Finland. After having driven the Finnish specials, I have a totally different feeling on gravel rallies. The car we use on exotic legs is less effective than the one we usually use in Europe; the motor especially isn't as high performance. So we're pleased to have scored another point -- it wasn't easy to go after Toshi Arai. Toshi is an outstanding driver and he knew the last day's specials really well since he had already competed in a rally on them. So we're happy about this rally in Japan -- a great rally in a beautiful country."