Cyprus : Stobart M-Sport Ford - Finish
Stobart VK M-Sport Ford driver Matt Wilson put the difficulties from the weekend behind him and claimed a valuable manufacturer point for his team as well as finishing 10th overall. Despite receiving 15 minutes worth of penalties throughout
the weekend, the 19 year old never gave up and put in a determined and faultless performance from day 1.
“Obviously we had the flat battery on Friday and then the gear shift problem yesterday which meant I couldn't slow down into a corner and went off but you always need to keep going on a rally like this because so much can happen. I'm just very pleased to get a point for my team and also to help out BP Ford by keeping a point from Citroen,” said Matt, who is competing in his first full season of WRC.
Team Manager Malcolm Wilson added: “There's plenty to take away from this weekend and obviously gaining a point for the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Team in the Manufacturer's Championship is very important. I'm really pleased with Matt's consistency throughout the weekend, that's what impressed me most.”
Because of safety concerns due to the number and positioning of spectators, the FIA deemed that today's Super Special, based in Downtown Lemesos, would not be approved and therefore the times not included in the overall results at the end of the rally.
But the stage was still run and it was the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford cars that were first into the spectator-packed 3.5 kilometres. The atmosphere was electric, the streets narrow and the roads slippery.
Luis and Matt negotiated the route in safe but spectacular style giving the fans plenty to cheer about. But the fans were cheering for a very different reason when third on the road, Dani Sordo ploughed his Citroen straight into a wall. Luckily he came away with just his car and pride seriously dented.
Earlier in the day there had been various problems for two of the three 04' WRC Focus cars. The 3rd car of Juan Pablo Raies was forced to retire after Stage 17 when his co-driver Jorge Perez Companc fell ill. Meanwhile on the same stage Matt and his partner Michael Orr had their own problems after the intercom went down. They had to complete the 25k run with the driver barely hearing the directions and instructions of Michael. The problem lay with the co-driver's helmet. The only way to fix the problem was to swap helmets so Matt could hear Michael but not talk to him.
Meanwhile the second car of Luis Perez Companc and Jose Maria Volta had a trouble free morning and the highlight of their weekend was wowing the crowds in Lemesos.
“It was great fun out there. I'd never done anything like that before so on the first lap I was careful but by the second I was having a bit more fun. It's great to finish a tough event like this one,” said the Argentinean who will drive next in Rally Australia.
The penultimate stage developed into confusion after the two remaining Stobart VK M-Sport Ford cars set off at a competitive speed into the 25k rutted run. But due to a 15 minute gap between Matt's car and the Subaru of Chris Atkinson it was decided that the safety of the stage could not be ensured and the stage was treated as a road section with all following cars simply driving through.
After 1172 kilometres over the three days, the rally was won by Citroen's Sebastien Loeb
with Ford's Marcus Gronholm
in 2nd and team mate Mikko Hirvonen in 3rd.
It was a weekend with plenty of highs and lows for the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Team but they're pleased to be leaving the tough Mediterranean island behind them with another point. The next round is the Rally of Turkey which starts on Friday the 13th October.
Stobart M-Sport Ford