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Rally Finland: Gigi Galli preview
Gigi Galli and Giovanni Bernacchini in their Ford Focus RS of the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford team, after the summer break are now ready to tackle the spectacular Rally Finland, 9th round of the 2008 FIA World Rally Championship

After a seven weeks summer break, Gigi Galli and
his co-driver Giovanni Bernacchini, with a Ford Focus RS of the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford, are now ready to start Rally Finland, ninth round of the 2008 world rally season.

During summer vacations Galli trained running three times a week and together with his team mate Henning Solberg took part also in a rallycross show called Bjerkeracet, that has been held on a specially-designed gravel track, with some technical sections and wide fast bends. A real change for the Italian driver, taking the wheel of a Ford Fiesta rallycross car for the first time. Andreas Mikkelsen, Mads Ostberg and Patrick Sandell took part in this event too.

Rally Finland, that has over 100 entries this year, is a classic race that entered the WRC for the first time in 1973 and it's been known before with the name of "1000 Lakes". The Finnish race is one of the fastest in the Championship, its characteristics are a gravel smooth and hard surface, with wide roads and furthermore there are the famous jumps that cars tackle at very high speed and that throw them into the air for several meters. On this kind of route it's very important to have a precise driving and accurate pace notes, because jumps are often followed by hidden curves and it is important to get the right line up before jumping and being able to tackle the next bend without losing speed. Very important will be also the Pirelli Scorpion tyres with soft compound that will make their debut in this rally.

The Stobart VK M-Sport Ford team has nominated the Italian crew Gigi Galli/Giovanni Bernacchini and their team mates Henning Solberg/Cato Menkerud to score points in the Manufacturers Championship.

Gigi Galli took part in this race seven times, winning Group N in 2004 and finishing fifth in 2006.

"I can't wait to get back rallying after this long break" said Galli "I took part in this rally quite a few times and I know it, it's a pity the Ouninpohja stage has been cancelled this year, it was one of my favorites. It'll be a fast and fun race with lots of jumps, but it wont be easy because Mikko (Hirvonen) and Jari-Matti (Latvala) will push hard here. In the last three events we had a good pace so now here we need to be consistent. We'll do our best to get a good result. Rally Finland is also famous for the high numbers of spectators, there will be lots of Italian fans, because it's vacation time in Italy, I hope that lots of them will cheer for us."

"It's one of the rallies I like most" said Giovanni Bernacchini "A hard and smooth gravel surface, very fast with lots of jumps that make this race really spectacular both for drivers and spectators. Gigi took part in this race quite e few times and he did well."

Jyvaskyla will host again the rally HQ, but almost half of the route is going to be new. The rally opens with the traditional Super Special at Killeri trotting track on Thursday July 31st. Friday the crews will enter the real race west of Jyvaskyla. Saturday will be te longest day with 168,25 timed kilometers divided in 10 special stages near Jamsa, five of them brand new. The spectacular and difficult Ouninpohja stage has been cancelled, but part of it has been incorporated in another speed test. Sunday the last leg with three special stages east of Jyvaskyla. Rally will close at 13.30 on Sunday August 3rd. A total route of 1461,58 km with 340,42 timed kilometers divided in 24 special stages.

Weather has been forecast to be dry with temperatures around 25o.C and high humidity.

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