Henning on a High for Stobart as Wilson Drops Out The Stobart M-Sport Ford Rally Team experienced a morning of highs and lows on the second full morning of Rally Mexico. Henning Solberg and Ilka Minor enjoyed a great run through the ...
Henning on a High for Stobart as Wilson Drops Out
The Stobart M-Sport Ford Rally Team experienced a morning of highs and lows on the second full morning of Rally Mexico.
Henning Solberg and Ilka Minor enjoyed a great run through the opening loop of four tests, matching the pace of the front-runners and taking a brace of top-three stage times along the way.
However, there was also disappointment as the Ford Focus RS WRC of Matthew Wilson of Scott Martin left the road on the first stage, becoming beached on rocks and forcing the Cumbrian duo to retire for the day.
The schedule for the second leg of Rally Mexico saw crews head out from the service park in central Le0x00f3n to tackle 158.82km of competitive distance over nine stages. The opening loop featured three tests in the countryside to the east of the city before a return to the 1.5km Coca-Cola Street Stage back in the Poliforum service park.
The first stage of the day proved to a dramatic one, with a number of top ten crews running into trouble on the longest test of the rally, the 29.90km SS10 Ibarrilla. Stobart M-Sport Ford driver Matthew Wilson was one of those who suffered as he went off the road on a left-hand corner around two kilometres before the end of the stage and became stuck on a pile of rocks. With three wheels in the air, and no crowds nearby to help him get back on the road, the young Cumbrian was forced to retire and will look to re-start under SuperRally rules on Sunday.
Despite reporting problems with his brakes on the first stage of the day Stobart's Henning Solberg was finding a great rhythm and he impressed on the following test, the 23.27km SS11 Duarte, by setting a sensational second-fastest time. The Norwegian powered through the tough stage, which is littered with rocks and rises to almost 2500m above sea level, and finished just 3.8s behind the reigning champion.
Solberg continued to press on and take advantage of his good road position on the following SS12 Derramadero, going third-fastest behind the Citroens of Loeb and Ogier and finishing as the highest Ford Focus RS WRC driver for the second consecutive stage.
Solberg will want to maintain the kind of pace he displayed throughout the morning as he heads into the afternoon loop of five stages, which includes repeats of the first three of the morning's tests then two passes through the 2.21km Super Special Stage in the Le0x00f3n Autodrome.
Stobart M-Sport Ford driver Henning Solberg said:
"The car is working well, the setup is perfect and we have had a very good morning. The only problem was with the brakes as they were not working properly in any of the first three stages, I was lucky to get through stage two as I had no brakes at all for the first few kilometres. This car is maybe the best I have had in my career though and I am really enjoying driving it on this event. We will try to go well again in the afternoon but I don't want to push too hard and make a mistake."
Stobart M-Sport Ford driver Matthew Wilson said:
"Obviously it was a really disappointing start to the day. It was a simple driving error, I misjudged the braking slightly on the corner and we ran wide but we were just unlucky to get beached on the rocks. There was no real damage to the car and we could have recovered and got going again if it wasn't for one big rock the car was stuck on. We are looking forward to getting back out tomorrow, we'll use it as a bit of test to try out things and because there is nothing to lose we can take some risks."