Thirteen minutes adrift World Champ Loeb
The final round of the 2008 FIA World Rally Championship has come to a close as has another fantastic year for the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford rally team at this weekend's Wales Rally GB.
The man of the hour, Valentino Rossi,
and his co-driver Carlo Cassina come in as the fourth best placed Stobart-backed crew in 12th after finishing day 1 in 24th position.
Rossi stuck to his plan taking things step-by-step and by the final day was setting some sensational stage times despite being a MotoGP world champion by trade. The atmosphere and excitement he brought to the event was incredible and a real buzz for the Stobart camp which was out in full force for the home event.
“I'm very happy today, firstly to finish the rally and secondly to set some very good times on the four stages today. The car was fantastic and I was finding it easy to drive when we got a precise setting. My approach here was to take the race step-by-step and try not to make any mistakes and this worked well”, said the Italian. “I think this rally was very difficult and finishing it makes me very happy indeed. The Focus was really nice to drive and it's been fantastic working with the Stobart team; they are all very friendly and hopefully we will get a chance to work again together.”
In all it has been a fabulous end to Stobart's 50th WRC event which sees three cars in the top-10 and a phenomenal amount of new fans thanks to the presence of the two-wheeled champion.
“What a fantastic weekend for the team with all three Stobart liveried cars finishing with no problems.
There has been so much excitement with Valentino in the team and his presence here has been a massive boost to the squad; his times today have been remarkable”, commented Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Team Principal Malcolm Wilson. “All the crews have driven well in what proved to be the most difficult event in the championship and the team have collected more manufacturer points on their 50th WRC rally.”
The team has finished the year fourth in the Manufacturer Championship with four of its star drivers inside the top-10 in the Drivers' Championship standings.
Day 1 saw conditions like no other as the itinerary had to be shortened to just 50 competitive kilometres due to dangerous ice and fog. Fortunately for competitors Pirelli's Scorpion gravel tyre held strong but with the one-tyre rule crews found things tough going on the deceptive, icy sections.