Cyprus : Stobart M-Sport Ford - Shakedown
Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally driver Matthew Wilson gained some invaluable experience about the perils of Rally Cyprus at this morning's Shakedown.
The 19 year old from Cumbria was only half a kilometre into the second run when
he hit a rock which broke the steering arm. It was a typical Cypriot stage with high temperatures, plenty of dust and of course the potentially rally-ending rocks all along the road. But Matthew and co-driver Michael Orr's 04' WRC Focus was repaired and returned to the stage to try and gain some more clues for the next few days.
Matthew said: “I gained some valuable experience out there today. At first I was fighting the car but by the end I was more relaxed and let it bounce around a bit more. We made a few changes; I'm now sitting higher to get a better view of the road ahead. By the final run it was all working well and my times were considerably quicker than when we started.”
Team Manager Malcolm Wilson added: “Matthew got an insight into was Cyprus is all about this morning. Although it's better that he did it today than tomorrow in the rally.”
The other side of the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Team has a considerably Latin feel with two Argentinean crews out. Regular duo Luis Perez Companc and Jose Maria Volta are accompanied by the reigning South American champion Juan Pablo Raies and Companc's brother Jorge Perez.
Luis Perez said: “I enjoyed the five runs out there but towards the end the road was really rough. There was no point in continuing and risking damaging my car ahead of the weekend. As for the heat, there is no problem for us – we are South American!”
It was Juan Pablo Raies first time in the Focus.“The car is very different to the one we use at home so we just need to get used to the power. This morning was about getting familiar with everything and building our confidence.”
Tonight sees a ceremonial start in Lemesos with the real battle commencing tomorrow morning. Shakedown times:
1. Sebastien Loeb
2. Marcus Gronholm
3. Mikko Hirvonen (Ford) 5:53.7
4. Manfred Stohl (Peugeot) 5:54.0
5. Daniel Sordo (Citroen) 5:54.5
6. Toni Gardemeister (Citroen) 5:54.7
7. Petter Solberg (Subaru) 5:55.2
8. Xavier Pons (Citroen) 5:56.5
9. Henning Solberg (Peugeot) 5:57.6
10. Chris Atkinson (Subaru) 5:58.2
11. Harri Rovanpera (Skoda) 6:04.0
12. Matthew Wilson (Ford) 6:04.5
13. Andreas Aigner (Skoda) 6:05.2
Stobart M-Sport Ford Info