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Simon Hughes all set for snowy start at Norway Rally

Simon Hughes all set for snowy start at Norway Rally

09.02.2007: Simon Hughes all set for snowy start at Norway Rally

Fiesta Sporting Trophy International
Rally Norway, 15-18 February
Event Preview

Welshman Simon Hughes and Berwickshire-based co-driver Claire Mole head to Rally Norway next week in confident mood, as they tackle the first round of the Fiesta SportingTrophy International.

This will be Hughes’ first time driving on snow and his third attempt at a round of the one-make championship, after finishing an impressive second last year in Spain and running in the top three in Corsica until technical issues dropped him back to fifth.

Competing in the Fiesta SportingTrophy UK series last year, the 23-year-old was always at the top of the time sheets and took overall victory on two of the eight rounds in his Furrows for Ford sponsored machine. He also managed to win 19 stages, almost double that of his closest rival, earning him the VK Sprinters award of a fully-funded drive in a Ford Focus WRC 05. Hughes made the most of his opportunity winning every stage of the Red Kite Stages last month, and taking overall honours by more than two minutes.

Several technical issues stopped the young Welshman from taking the FST UK title in 06 – finishing third in the championship – but with a new year and new opportunities, the outlook couldn’t be more positive. Hughes, part of the MSA’s British Rally Academy training scheme for hot, young British talent, has been using the seasonal break to ensure his preparation for the forthcoming season is up to scratch, and is in both peak mental and physical condition.

The history of this young driver is quite impressive. Beginning his attack on rallying in 2000 at the age of 17, Hughes took the prestigious Rookie of the Year award in the ultra competitive Peugeot 106 Super Cup. From 2002 to 2004 he competed in the British Rally Championship under the Super 1600 and Group N categories with class wins in both sections. 2005 was a year for experience abroad, spending most of the time as a front-running competitor in the Czech-based Skoda Fabia Cup.

Hughes will take his Fiesta ST150 to Norway under the banner of new Norwegian sponsor, Technium Performance Engineering who are proudly backing the young driver in the first round of the 2007 championship.

The first drive on snow will be made easier after a brief shakedown in Norway the weekend before the rally. In addition, co-driver Claire Mole will be a great asset towards Hughes’ success on snow as she has competed on the surface before, and will offer advice on the specialised driving techniques involved.

The inaugural Rally Norway begins on Thursday 15 February in Hamar, Norway.

Simon Hughes said:

"I’m really excited and looking forward to Rally Norway. After winning convincingly in a WRC car a few weeks ago, I’m keen to start of my Fiesta Sporting Trophy championship campaign in earnest. I learnt a great deal from the two international rounds I took part in last year, the experience I gained was enormous. I have been working hard on the MSA British Rally Academy scheme and my fitness, pre-event preparation and pace noting skills have all advanced well. I know it will be difficult, it’s my first snow rally, but I’ve got a steady head now and know exactly what I have to do."

Event Information

Date: 15–18 February 2007.
Round: 1 of 7 Fiesta Sporting Trophy International.
Based: Hamar, Norway.

Surface: Snow and ice covered gravel.
Total distance: 1109.57km (competitive 355.99km, liaison 753.58km).
Number of stages: 18.
Longest stage: 44.28km (stages 9, 18).
Permanent Service Park: Viking Ship, Hamar.

Official start: Thursday 15 February, 20:00 at Stortorget, Central Hamar.

Leg one: Friday 16 February. Cars starting stage 1, Løten 1 at 07:43, tackling 142.1km.

Leg two: Saturday 17 February. Cars starting stage 9, Elverum 1, at 08:09, tackling 115.79km.

Leg three: Sunday 18 February. Cars starting stage 15, Mountain 2 at 08:08, tackling 97.1km.

Event Finish: Sunday 18 February, 15:00 at Stortorget, Central Hamar.

- Andy Stobart - The Inside Line -
photo Simon Hughes

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/fiesta-sporting-trophy-norway-rally-simon-hughes-hamar-claire-mole-co-driver-ford-focus-msa-british-rally-academy---18903.html

09.02.2007 / MaP

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