WRC

Swedish Rally: M Sports final summary

LPM Racing Driver: Janne Tuohino (FIN) Co driver: Jukka Aho (FIN) Vehicle: X8 FMC (Ford Focus WRC01) Leg One: Tuohino, who excelled on this rally last year, was again in top form and happy with his performance during leg one. The...

LPM Racing
Driver: Janne Tuohino (FIN)
Co driver: Jukka Aho (FIN)
Vehicle: X8 FMC (Ford Focus WRC01)

Leg One: Tuohino, who excelled on this rally last year, was again in top form and happy with his performance during leg one. The only concern during the trouble free day was when an oil pressure indicator on the dashboard began flashing during the last stage. Caused by a faulty indicator it had no effect on his Focus but was an unwelcome distraction during the short sprint stage. He finished the day in 8th place

Leg Two: Tuohino was unable to maintain his place on the leaderboard and fought a daylong battle against his tyres. He had to use snow tyres rather than rubber more suited to the icy conditions and felt that cost him time. He survived a fright in stage nine when he came over a crest to discover a moose in the road. He braked hard and swerved up a snow bank to avoid a collision and said afterwards: "It was a very, very scary moment."

Leg Three: Tuohino, lying 11th overnight, slid off 500m from the end of SS14, the second stage of the day, after coming over a jump too quickly just before a slow left bend. He needed help from spectators to lift the car off the snow bank and back onto the road but unfortunately lost around six minutes and dropped to 19th. After an eventful rally, Tuohino finished in 17th place.

Tomasz Kuchar
Driver: Tomasz Kuchar (PL)
Co driver: Maciej Szczepaniak(PL)
Vehicle: Y129 XEV (Ford Focus WRC02)

Leg One: With his engine misfiring and the car running on three cylinders, it was a frustrating start for Tomasz Kuchar, however the problem was identified and fixed at the days' second service. Determined to use the rally as a learning opportunity Kuchar used the day to fine tune his set up, completing leg one in 20th place.

Leg Two: The crew had to make emergency repairs after leaving Parc Ferme, stopping 200m from the time control to fix a faulty alternator cable. They were able to use what was on hand in their in-car tool kit to ensure they could get the car to the first service where the problem was fixed. The rest of the day remained trouble free for Kuchar and he finished leg two in 18th place.

Leg Three: Resigned to the fact he'd not be able to catch the leading manufacturers entries Kuchar kept Didier Auriol in his sights, resulting in a tight duel between the two throughout the day. He enjoyed a good run until he misjudged a corner at high speed and spun into a bank. While the car was undamaged, a large amount of snow was packed into the front and Kuchar lost around two minutes while they cleared it from the car. Kuchar ended his first outing in his new Ford Focus RS WRC in 16th place.

Würth Sport
Driver: Jari Viita (FIN)
Co driver: Teppo Leino (FIN)
Vehicle: V9 FMC (Ford Focus WRC01)

Leg One: Having competed in the snowy Arctic Rally only two weeks ago, where he finished a creditable fourth, Viita was looking forward to competing in the Swedish Rally. With a full Finnish Championship in his plans for 2003, along with a selection of WRC events, he was keen to gain more valuable experience behind the wheel of his Ford Focus and was happy to complete leg one in 25th place

Leg Two: Despite warming conditions causing the stages to turn to slush, Viita continued his consistent pace, moving up two positions by the end of the day to finish leg two in 23rd place

Leg Three: Following two trouble free days, Viita suffered from throttle problems in the afternoon, resulting in a very busy service prior to the last stage where his technicians worked frantically during the 20 minutes to replace the fly by wire motor. Viita went on to complete the final stage and was delighted with his 20th place overall.

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

Leg One: Getting to grips with his Focus for the first time on snow, Antony Warmbold made a steady start, using his running position to experiment with different settings and tyres in order to discover just how his car would perform in the slippery conditions. Warmbold completed leg one in 43rd place.

Leg Two: Another trouble free day for Warmbold, who set some consistent times despite running in the middle of the field, which meant he had to contend with the ruts left by those running further up the order. Happy with his performance, Warmbold completed leg two in 34th place.

Leg Three: Warming weather made tyre choice a gamble, as stages turned to slush and rain replaced snow. Again, running towards the middle of the field, Warmbold had to contend with large ruts which made driving conditions difficult for the German youngster, who completed his second WRC event for 2003 in 31st.

Andreas Eriksson
Driver: Andreas Eriksson (S)
Co driver: Patrick Henriksson (S)
Vehicle: V4 FMC (Ford Focus WRC00)

Leg One: A high-speed accident ended Andreas Eriksson's Swedish Rally hopes, when he rolled his Ford Focus WRC during SS2. The car came to rest on the drivers' side, wedged into a tree. Eriksson was able to get out of the vehicle through the windscreen, however Patrick Henriksson was trapped by the cars' roll cage which had been damaged by the impact. Once officials were able to right the car he was cut from the wreckage. Both were lucky to escape with minor injuries and were taken to hospital for precautionary check ups.

JP Team
Driver: Ioannis (John) Papadimitriou (GR)
Co driver: Allan Harryman (GB)
Vehicle: V10 FMC (Ford Focus WRC01)

Leg One: This is the first of three WRC outings for John Papadimitriou this season, as the amiable Greek will concentrate primarily on the Italian Championship this year. Fresh from the Arctic Rally two weeks ago, where he retired on day two after an excursion into a snow bank, Papadimitriou applied his usual methodical commitment to Rally Sweden, completing leg one in 24th place.

Leg Two: Another steady performance from Papadimitriou through five of the days' six stages saw him posting consistent times throughout the day. His only cause for concern was during the special sprint stage at the end of the day when he slid wide on a corner and into a safety barrier, damaging the door and front right panels of the car. Thankfully the car sustained no major damage and Papadimitriou completed leg two in 27th place.

Leg Three: Like his fellow Focus colleagues, Papadimitriou had to contend with thawing conditions and large ruts in the middle of the stages because of his running order. Delighted to finish the event, following his disappointing start to the year at the Arctic Rally, Papadimitriou finished in 23rd place.

Rallye of Turkey - 28 February - 2 March 2003
Three privately entered Ford Focus WRC will compete in the next round of the FIA World Rally Championship in Turkey at the end of the month, including Antony Warmbold and Tomasz Kuchar. The third Focus entry is of newcomer Briton Alistair Ginley who will start his seven round 2003 WRC campaign in Turkey.

-frs/msport-

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About this article
Series WRC
Drivers Alistair Ginley , Didier Auriol , Tomasz Kuchar , Janne Tuohino , Jukka Aho , Gemma Price , Antony Warmbold , Andreas Eriksson