Rallye Deutschland: M-Sport preview

Three teams supported by M-Sport's customer programme will contest the Rallye Deutschland, round eight of the FIA 2003 World Rally Championship -- German Antony Warmbold, Briton Alistair Ginley and making his first WRC outing for 2003, Czech Tibor...

Three teams supported by M-Sport's customer programme will contest the Rallye Deutschland, round eight of the FIA 2003 World Rally Championship -- German Antony Warmbold, Briton Alistair Ginley and making his first WRC outing for 2003, Czech Tibor Cserhalmi.

During the rally, the teams will all benefit from the support of M-Sport's specialist engineers, technicians and a central support truck, carrying parts and other shared technical equipment.

                                    Car #26

AW Rally Team
Driver: Antony Warmbold (D)
Co driver: Gemma Price (GB)
Vehicle: Y3 FMC (Ford Focus WRC02)
Tyres: Michelin

Antony Warmbold was able to hold a brief test prior to the start of the Rallye Deutschland and is happy with his first experience of his Ford Focus RS WRC on tarmac.

"While Monte Carlo was obviously tarmac, this will be our first 'true tarmac' event this year and we used our brief test to learn more about driving on asphalt. We were not so far behind on the dry stages in Monte Carlo and ended up with our best finish so far this season there, so we are optimistic about this weekend. The car feels like it has an exceptional balance especially coming from a suspension point of view, so far we have not altered much from the standard customer set up, but we will do some fine tuning on the shakedown, particularly as I think we can improve in terms of turning in and how the rear behaves in very fast corners. Engine-wise I feel the car is very good and I could not ask for anything better. Most important of all will be tyres! But the key to the whole event will be having the right tyre in the right stage, especially if it rains. Compounds and tyre cuts will be critical.

"I think we can definitely improve the times and I am looking at ways of adjusting my driving style and will work very hard on this over the rest of the year. I have a tendency to brake too early and not aggressively enough and I also need to be a bit smoother with the turns; I am not using the road enough. But these things will come with time, I know where the problems are and that's the most important. Our aim for the weekend is to be setting times under 2 sec/km to the leader," said Warmbold.

Car #28
Mimex-Charouz Racing Systems
Driver: Tibor Cserhalmi (CZ)
Co Driver: Jaroslav Palivec (CZ)
Vehicle: S10 FMC (Ford Focus RS WRC00)
Tyres: Michelin

Of the three customer teams entered, 22 year old Tibor Cserhalmi is the only one who has competed on this event previously, finishing 22nd last year in a Skoda Octavia WRC. Although he has a new co-driver this season and therefore will be working on new pace notes, he is looking forward to the event and believes his previous experience will be of assistance on the demanding tarmac surfaces. Having not competed since the beginning of the month due to a hand injury, Cserhalmi is now fit and well. The young, mild-mannered Slovakian will make the history books this weekend when he climbs behind the wheel of his entry car. Of all the Ford Focus WRC's produced, S10 FMC, currently in 2000 specification has done the most events of any Focus WRC since its debut as Colin McRae's Rallye Catalunya entry car in 1999 -- the 2003 Rallye Deutschland will be the car's 50th appearance. Cserhalmi is a regular contender in both the Czech and Slovak Rally Championships.

Car #36
ADR Motorsport
Driver: Alistair Ginley (GB)
Co Driver: Rory Kennedy (I)
Vehicle: EJ02 KMO (Ford Focus RS WRC01)
Tyres: Pirelli
Sponsors: Carella, Pirelli

A virtual novice on tarmac, Alistair Ginley is looking forward to getting to 'grips' with the surface next weekend.

"I have literally only completed in five tarmac events in my life, and none of them were in a Ford Focus, let alone any type of world rally car, so this weekend is definitely going to be an eye opener for me! I was lucky enough to get a short test in the UK last week where I had a chance to put the car through its paces in its tarmac spec for the first time. To say I was impressed is an understatement -- when cornering the car felt like it was glued to the road! However I'm the first to admit that a run of twenty miles on a disused airport is a very different experience compared to around 400 kilometres of competition on three wide-ranging surfaces in Germany!

"I am realistic about next weekend and don't expect to be on the pace -- I know I have to learn somewhere. We will take some time to get a good feel for the car and the roads, but aim to be setting some competitive times. While you learn from your mistakes, it's more important that we finish this event. That said I'm not going there just to make up the numbers! Realistically, we will have a better feel for it after the reconnaissance which will give us a much better idea of what we're up against !" said Ginley.


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About this article
Series WRC
Drivers Colin McRae , Alistair Ginley , Gemma Price , Antony Warmbold , Tibor Cserhalmi , Rory Kennedy
Teams M-Sport