Thomas and Moore go head to head.

13.10.2006: Thomas and Moore go head to head.

The VK Vodka Kick backed Fiesta SportingTrophy UK (FST UK) has its thrilling season finale in the Bulldog Clubmans Rally on Saturday October 21st as competitors have their final opportunity to score points with the title up for grabs.

The prize of a brand-new Ford Fiesta ST can be won by either Fireman Chris Moore or student George Thomas as the winner becomes the first ever Fiesta SportingTrophy UK champion.

Thomas, 20, from Hereford has won two of the FST UK rallies, taking wins on the Pirelli Rally in May and Park Systems in September. Despite his relative lack of experience, Thomas has been a model of consistency this season, with the season-opening Malcolm Wilson Rally representing his only non-finish of the year.

Moore, 31, from Sunderland won the Severn Valley Rally in June and the Swansea Bay Rally in July but has registered DNFs on the Pirelli in May and Jim Clark in July. Although he has previous rally experience, Moore had not contested a full seasonís rally for a number of years before entering the FST UK this year.

In terms of points, Thomas leads the standings with 43 points to Mooreís 36. However, the championship is decided from the best six results from the seasonís eight rallies. Drop the two worse scores so far and the difference between the two is a mere two points, so all is to play for.

The Bulldog Clubmans Rally takes place on Saturday 21st October and covers 45 stage miles spread over four stages.

 

George Thomas
Date of birth: 08/05/86.
Lives: Hereford.
Occupation: Student.


Hobbies:
Iím a student so student life and drinking, quite a lot of mountain biking and a bit of moto cross.

Mobile ring tone: Just the standard one.

Eastenders or Coronation Street: Eastenders.
Chinese or Indian: Chinese.

When did you start rallying?
Properly for two years, so Iíve done the last two full seasons. Before that I did a few rallies but not a serious campaign. Last year I did the BTRDA 1400s and we won that so it would be quite nice to win the Fiestas in my second full season.

First rally:
The Mid-Wales Stages three years ago.

What do you think of Chris Moore as a driver?
Heís good, but heís been around a long time! Heís getting on now and heís done a lot of one make championships and heís got experience at it. I think heís a quick bloke.

Which would be the quicker combination; you co-driving for Chris or him co-driving for you?
If I was co-driving for Chris weíd be off because Iíd be saying left instead of right, so probably me driving!

If you win the championship how will you celebrate?
With a helluva party back at my place. Iíd invite all the people who helped us over the year, sponsors and future sponsors, it would be very good.

If you could do any rally in the world in your Fiesta ST which one would you do?
Iíd probably do Sweden. Iíve watched the rally on the TV and itís awesome. Itís fast and there are big jumps.

If Marcus Gronholm was in a Fiesta ST could you beat him?
Iíd give it a bloody good go! Iíd like to think thereís only so fast you can go in a Fiesta. Heíd probably be faster than me but I think Iíd be somewhere near.

Name three sports in which you could beat Chris Moore:
Rallying, rugby and on a motocross bike.

What have you learnt this season?
Itís been a big learning curve and itís been a very stressful year. Iíve learnt to deal with a lot of pressure, especially coming towards the last rounds. Iím more relaxed now than I was at the start of the year which is quite surprising. Iíve learnt how to drive a car which handles very well but is different from other cars Iíve drive and has meant Iíve had to focus.

Howís the car been?
The carís been good. Once the initial problems were ironed out itís been a brilliant little car, Iíd like it to be lighter and have a bit more power, but other than that itís been a good car.

It was the FST UKís first season, did it go as you expected?
Itís gone really well. Iíve been lucky with only one breakdown. We were always going to be the guinea pigs - as thatís the way it will be with it being the first year - but itís been really good.

Best rally this season?
My best rally has been the Park Systems because it was the first rally this year Iíve actually won as a straight out win. The Pirelli was good, I won that as well, but Kevin Davies was taking time out of me and I wasnít driving that well at the end of the day. On the Park we were the fastest pretty much all the way through the day.

Worst rally this season?
We had an engine mount breaking on the Malcolm Wilson, we were going really well up till then and we were nearly leading the rally. Owen Murphy was only a second ahead of me when we went out. So without the mount breaking we might have had the championship wrapped up by now.

Plans for next year?
Depends what sort of budget I can get. Iíd like to do something like the Fiesta SportingTrophy International.

Chris Moore
Date of Birth: 14/4/75
Lives: Sunderland
Occupation: Fireman

Hobbies:
I havenít really got time for hobbies. Iím a fireman and I do my best to run Innovation Motorsports so I donít get a nano-second. I keep fit, Iíll do 40 minutes running in the morning, but Iím never as fit as I want to be because I like my food too much!

Mobile ring tone:
A really mellow sort of thing which gives you a little nudge first then gradually gets louder because it goes off about 140 times a day! If I had anything dramatic it would drive me nuts, itís just a mellow few beats.

Eastenders or Coronation Street? Eastenders
Chinese or Indian? Chinese. I stink when I eat Indians!

When did you start rallying?
I started rallying in 1994 and did four and a half years as a co-driver before I started driving. The first event I co-drove on was a local event at a place called Stobbs Camp. I badgered the guy from the motor club who had an Escort Cosworth to let me sit with him. I didnít have a clue what on earth I was doing, nobody gave me any prior instruction. I just turned up at the first time control and the marshal said Ďwhat time do you want?í and I just said ĎWhatever.í so I donít think the driver was terribly impressed! We finished third overall, I got a trophy and then I was just hooked from that day on.

First rally:
As a driver it was the Centurion Stages at Albemarle in 1999. I went off the start line on stage one and about 300 metres in I had a puncture on the front. I did seven miles with a front puncture because there was no way I was going to stop on my first ever stage!

We went on to finish second in the class that day. We did four events that year and I won my class on the remaining three of them.

What do you think of George Thomas as a driver?
George seems to be very consistent. I think heís got more finishes than anybody else at the top end of the championship, he rarely makes mistakes. Heís out rallying in my old car in his spare time as well, so Iím sure thatís helping him on his way. Heís a good lad, I like George, Iíve got a lot of time for him. He deserves to be where he is in the championship, heís a young lad and heíll certainly go places thatís for sure.

Which would be the quicker combination; you co-driving for George or him co-driving for you?
Me being an expert co-driver from the past Iím sure I could do him a lot of favours! That said, I think him co-driving for me would be the faster combination.

If you win the championship how will you celebrate?
Weíre going to have a big team down on the Bulldog, we have a lot of help and support in our rallying, both through Innovation and a lot of my friends help us out and theyíve all been invited down to the Bulldog.

Everyoneís coming to the end of season awards as well. Weíll certainly celebrate in style.

If you could do any rally in the world in your Fiesta ST which one would you do?
Finland, and I was on my way to the airport to compete in Finland this year in a Fiesta when I was told to come back home again because the car I was going to use developed problems. I want to do Finland 100%

If Marcus Gronholm was in a Fiesta ST, could you beat him?
Yeah. Iíve always said bring on anybody you like. I donít know where the extra speed would come from because a car will only go so quick. Iíve always quite fancied taking on someone like that.

Name three sports in which you could beat George Thomas:
Rallying. Running. And a Geordie sport like necking bottles of brown ale in a brown ale drinking competition.

What have you learnt this season?
Iíve learnt loads every day Iíve been rallying. Iíve genuinely learnt an awful lot. I thought I was going to come out pretty average having had three years off but the pace has been there.

Iíve learnt that little mistakes can totally destroy a championship and being as precise as Sebastien Loeb isnít easy, but if you can be, then a championship would be a lot easier to win.

Iíve made a handful of mistakes that I can think of off the top of my head which have made my championship a lot harder; it could have been sewn up but for three miniscule mistakes.

Iíve learnt that young drivers are quick but itís not the be all and end all to be young. People keep going on about these young superstars Ė youíre over the hill when you get to 24 Ė but I think experience counts as well. Iíve learnt that although I might not be young I can still use the experience Iíve gained over the years to keep up with the young ones.

Howís the car been?
The carís been very good because we have our own team running it and theyíve really done well. Weíve had next to no mechanical dramas other than things that canít be helped like when a rock broke a driveshaft on the last event.

Iíve got a team of five or six lads who have really put a lot of work and effort in to the car and have prepared what I think is probably one of the best Fiestas out there and itís done us proud.

It was the FST UKís first season, did it go as you expected?
Itís had its teething problems as anybody would have expected, I donít think its had any more than I expected to have. Despite a few little areas that needed improvement the cars have been great, theyíre rock solid. Iíd like a bit extra performance, but I think itís achieved its goal of having a good steady level playing field with reliable cars.

The events have been great. I said at the start of the season, one of the main reasons I came to do this championship was because of the rallies that had been chosen, theyíre cracking events. Weíve been well looked after, weíve all been on the TV, weíve had good PR Ė what more do you want?

Itís going to get bigger and better over the next few years and itís definitely the championship to be in.

Best rally this season?
I would say the Severn valley has been the best rally this season because we led it pretty much from start to finish. We were a couple of seconds off on the first stage and then once we took the lead we could drive at a pace we felt comfortable and we kept on setting fastest times. It didnít seem like we were putting anything at risk, so it was a good, confident display. I was happy, I hadnít been there before so I was learning the stages as well and the times were just coming good.

Worse rally this season?
Probably two identical momens on different rallies. On the second stage of the Pirelli Rally, on the way we were lying second or third after the first one and I said to Rich, ĎThis rallyís here to be won,í then half way through the stage we were stood at the sidelines with a broken bottom ball joint after a silly bit of tree stump on the inside of the corner.

Then the same thing happened on the Jim Clark, we were lying second or third and on the second stage we broke a ball joint. Itís really depressing when you put all that time and effort in to a rally and to have it end on stage two is just horrible Ė both of those rallies were very depressing.

Plans for next year?
Once I win this championship and then I can go on to win the shootout then Iím going to be working here at M-Sport and Iím going to be test driving WRC cars!

 

- Andy Stobart -

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13.10.2006 / MaP

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