Cyprus : Stobart M-Sport Ford - Preview
Soaring temperatures, rocks and rough roads are just a few of the difficulties faced by the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally team in next week's Rally Cyprus.
Famed as one of the toughest events on the WRC calendar for both cars
and drivers, Rally Cyprus will cover almost 1200 kilometres of the Mediterranean island. This round will see three of the team's Ford Focus RS WRC 05 cars battling it out.
19 year old Brit Matthew Wilson can't wait to get back behind the wheel after an unfortunate end to his rally proper in Japan. It was proved that manners don't always pay off, as he pulled over to let fellow competitor Chris Atkinson past, but got his Ford Focus stuck in a ditch. He went on to score some points under the SupeRally rule.
Matthew can look forward to picking up on some pretty impressive stage times set by himself and co-driver Michael Orr. But his return to the WRC RS 06 spec car will have to wait until Australia - next week he and all of the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally team are back in the 05' car.
Team mate Luis Perez Companc not only has the support of his family in Cyprus, but also some competition too. His brother Jorge Perez Companc is co-driving in the third Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally car, sitting alongside the current South American champion Juan Pablo Raies. It will be the duo's first rally in Europe.
But it is the sixth outing for Luis Perez Companc and Jose Maria Volta, who will be trying their hardest to put some points on the board. This year they've competed in the two South American rounds, two in Europe and Japan.
There's no doubt Rally Cyprus will be punishing for both teams and cars. It has 331 kilometres of tough competitive stages. The rally is held on gravel until the 23rd and final stage which is held on Sunday on the streets of downtown Lemesos. Thursday evening sees the ceremonial start with the real battle commencing on Friday morning.
“It's my first time in Cyprus but from what everyone says, it will be a tough rally. Obviously the slow speeds on the stages means that less air is flowing in the cock-pit and the temperatures are already pretty high. Also we are going back to the 05' car, which is still bloody good, but the 06' was something really special.”
Luis Perez Companc
“Cyprus is a very rough rally and it's going to be tough in the older car as that is more nervous than the new one. I have driven in Cyprus before and in 2002 I was leading Group N before going off on the Sunday. I also did it in 2004 in a WRC car, but retired then too."
“As an event I like it very much. Some parts of it are like Argentina so that is good for me and I like gravel rallies. My brother is co-driving with Juan Pablo Raies and I think they will find it a very tough for their first time.”
Juan Pablo Raies
"It is my first time at Rally Cyprus and all I can say is what I have been told by other Argentine drivers who have done the event. They all say it is a very rough rally, twisty roads and very hot. The aim that I have is to finish the event so that way I can start to achieve some experience for next season where I will drive this same car in the South American Rally Championship."
Malcolm Wilson, Team manager
“Cyprus is the toughest event of the year for the drivers. Not only does it have some of the hottest temperatures but it also has the slowest stages, which means that the guys are in the car for longer periods of time. It is Matthew's first time in Cyprus so he just needs to keep building on that invaluable experience that every event brings.”
Press Release Stobart M-Sport Ford