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Stohl and Pons ready for season finale
Australia : OMV World Rally Team - Preview
The FIA World Rally Championship is heading for its season finale. The Telstra Rally Australia in the Perth area from 10th to 13th of November will be the last round of the 2005 season.
The OMV World Rally Team (Citroen Xsara
WRC) – that has caused quite a stir this year with top results and the fact that it is already the best private team prior to the finale – will once again be part of the game.

More points than all Austrians in F1 combined
Manfred Stohl has one definite goal prior to the Rally Australia. “I want to have more WRC-points at the end of the season than the three Austrian Formula 1 drivers combined,” the OMV driver explains. The F1 trio Christian Klien, Alexander Wurz and Patrick Friesacher finished the World Championship with 18 points altogether.

The 33-year-old Viennese has reached 16 points prior to the last run – which means that Manfred Stohl und co-driver Ilka Minor will need to finish sixth at least. A feat that seems possible for Stohl: “Australia is a rally to my liking. In 2002 I had already been able to win group N. And there is still a score to settle with this event after last year's retirement.”

The start will already be a criterion for the last race of the season. Stohl: “In Australia it is especially important to me to find the rhythm right from the word go. For if you don't find it straight away you'll never find it at all.” In any case, the OMV driver wants to score a top result prior to the winter break.

Self-confidence and fond memories
Xavier Pons also has plans for the season's finale. The 25-year-old Spaniard of the OMV World Rally Team is full of self-confidence after having reached seventh place in Corsica and fourth place in Spain. Xavier Pons has already secured his place at Kronos Racing for 13 rallies next year. And he can look forward to having World Champion Sebastien Loeb as a teammate, who will also be competing for the successful Kronos Racing Team. Pons: “I'm in a very comfortable position. We have already scored WRC points and are under no pressure whatsoever. All I want to do is to enjoy the Rally Australia – and drive fast.”

The Spaniard has fond memories of the WRC race Down Under. Last year the OMV driver won group N and reached a sensational sixth place overall.

Seven times the best private team
The OMV World Team with Manfred Stohl/Ilka Minor and Xavier Pons/Carlos del Barrio caused quite a stir in the World Rally Championship season 2005. The Citroen Xsaras, employed by Kronos Racing, finished as best private team in Monte Carlo, New Zealand, Cyprus, Argentina, Germany, Wales and Corsica. This in spite of not having competed in three races. “We had a splendid season this year. Our drivers have met expectations to the fullest. Therefore we can enter the WRC finale rather relaxed and gather all strength in order to be best private team in Australia once more,” mentioned OMV World Rally Team Manager Marc van Dalen.

355 kilometres on 26 special stages
The Telstra Rally Australia will commence on Thursday (10th of November) in Perth at 17.50 (local time) with two super stages (SS 1 und SS 2). 24 further special stages with an overall length of 355,01 kilometres are scheduled from Friday to Sunday (11th – 13th of November). The overall length measures 1.093,72 kilometres. The superstage will also be completed twice on both Friday and Saturday. The finishing line will be crossed on Sunday at 14.45 (local time) in Perth.

This is Australia
Area: 7.686.850 sq km; Population: 19.732.000 inhabitants; Population density: 2,56 people per sq km; Capital: Canberra (310.000 inhabitants); The federated Commonwealth of Australia has been independent since the 1.1.1901 and is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government. In November temperatures average 20 degrees with up to twelve rainy days.
Press release OMV World Rally Team

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