Antony Warmbold gunning for top-ten position against strong WRC competition German Ford driver Antony Warmbold is entering the Rally of Great Britain (16 to 18 September), the twelfth of a total of 16 World Rally Championship rounds, well ...
Antony Warmbold gunning for top-ten position against strong WRC competition
German Ford driver Antony Warmbold is entering the Rally of Great Britain (16 to 18 September), the twelfth of a total of 16 World Rally Championship rounds, well prepared. For the fourth time in his career, the German residing in Monaco will be competing on the tough gravel tracks around the port of Cardiff in Wales.
In 2000 Warmbold made his WRC debut in the Rally of Great Britain - then as co-driver for his father, Achim Warmbold. Three years later Antony Warmbold claimed 13th place in the driver's seat and in 2004 - again at the wheel of a Ford Focus RS WRC - he finished tenth. For co-driver Michael Orr, this rally does not represent unknown terrain either, besides that, as a Brit, he has a home advantage.
"Being able to draw on previous experience helps a lot because the British WRC round is rather special," said Warmbold. Underneath the mud and gravel there is a hard surface which gets very slippery in wet conditions. Even during the shakedown test you could see that the factory drivers, who went first, removed the gravel, leaving deep grooves, in which a treacherous, cobble-stone-like surface kept emerging. So, to avoid any unnecessary risk we didn't even try to keep the pace of the top teams."
On the weekend of the rally, as well, Warmbold is not going to orient himself to the drivers of the works teams, but to his ten direct competitors in privateer WRC cars. "Our goal is to finish overall among the top ten, which probably won't be easy, considering our late starting position and the strong drivers' field. But we're well prepared and the shakedown test, too, was very promising," said the 27-year-old.
After 2004, the Rally of Great Britain is being staged in September for the second time, instead of marking the season's finale in November as in the years before. Yet this hardly affects the characteristics of the competition. "On account of heavy rain the tracks are just as muddy as they used to be in November. What's more, you always have to expect fog in September as well," said Warmbold. "Because the weather forecast has predicted drier conditions for the weekend, we haven't made a definite tyre choice yet." The selection can be made between an extra soft, a soft and a semi-hard rubber compound. "For the suspension set-up we will be using a slightly modified version which we used in Finland as well."
The Rally of Great Britain is scheduled to start at 7.30 p.m., local time, on Thursday evening with a show start in Cardiff. Starting at 7.58 a.m., on Friday morning, a total of 17 special stages across 354 kilometres will be on the agenda, including classics like "Margam" and "Resolfen". At 2 p.m., Sunday afternoon, the teams are expected at the finish in Cardiff.