Stobart VK-M-Sport Ford Rally Team at OMV ADAC Rallye Deutschland, 11-13 August

Stobart VK-M-Sport Ford Rally Team at OMV ADAC Rallye Deutschland, 11-13 August

12.08.2006: Stobart VK-M-Sport Ford Rally Team at OMV ADAC Rallye Deutschland, 11-13 August

Friday August 11, leg one
FIA World Rally Championship, round 9/16

The Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team endured a trying first day to OMV ADAC Rallye Deutschland with treacherous wet weather conditions making the Mosel vineyard stages a virtual ice rink at times and tyre choice all the more crucial.

Matthew Wilson drove cautiously to ensure he made it through the difficult conditions but was powerless to prevent a pipe coming off his turbo after a hard landing on the final outing of the morning loop of four stages. This allied to a careful first stage of the day meant that Wilson and co-driver Michael Orr entered the lunchtime service stop with all to do in 47th position overall.

The afternoon loop, run over the same stages, saw the 19 year-old Cumbrian opt for slick tyres as the conditions appeared to have abated, but the region lived up to its reputation for changeable weather. After a relatively dry first stage to the second loop the heavens opened once more making it all the more difficult for Wilson in the exceedingly slippery conditions on his slick dry weather tyres. Despite this, Wilson was able to work back the order, making 22 positions on the leaderboard to end the day 29th overall.

It was short and eventful morning for the second Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team Focus WRC05 of Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila. Half-way through the rallyís opening stage Latvala was caught out by a slippery section of the vineyard road and ploughed straight on due to the reduced grip level. Unlike other competitors who suffered a similar fate at the same spot, Latvala was unable to take evasive action with his handbrake in time and hit the barrier, wedging his car underneath. Although a relatively low-speed incident in which driver and co-driver were unhurt it was sufficient to strand their car in the stage. The M-Sport crew were able to fix the car in service for it to be ready to return to the event for Saturdayís second leg.

Barry Clark in the Stobart VK Rally Team, contesting the FIA Junior World Rally Championship (J-WRC) and Fiesta SportingTrophy International (FSTi), also endured a tough morning with a puncture on the second stage, the first run under competitive conditions for Clark. Replacing the wheel put Clark back around three minutes from his rival Fiesta STs, but Clark fought back through the FSTi field and despite bending his carís rear beam in the afternoon he ended the day in third spot in that series, making over half a minute back on the dayís fifth stage.

The second day of OMV ADAC Rallye Deutschland sees 148km of competitive distance over seven stages on military roads more normally used by tanks and bordered by immoveable hinkelsteins.


Stobart VK M-sport Ford Rally Team driver Matthew Wilson says:

"It was an unbelievable day, very difficult. The first stage was so slippery as it was very wet and there was gravel kicked out on the stage from the cars in front, making it very tricky. The next two stages were difficult as they are under trees and itís difficult to know where was wet at that point and where had dried out. Then in the fourth stage a turbo pipe came apart after we landed coming up to a left hander about 2km into the stage so we couldnít go through at full pace. The afternoon was very, very slippery again. We changed to slicks but the rain came back. The first stage in the afternoon was okay, then there were torrential downpours in the next two, it was scarily slippery. We struggled in the final stage as we hadnít run through it at a competitive pace in the morning. Iím glad to get through the day and tomorrow will be very difficult if the weather is like this. At least I can look forward to Sundayís stages. The weather made it difficult today as everyone expected, I was having big slides everywhere."

Stobart VK M-sport Ford Rally Team driver Jari-Matti Latvala says:

"I was driving at a safe speed, it was very slippery so I was being quite sensible. It was a fast downhill section and I braked early but at the end of the braking zone it was like ice and we went straight on into the barrier. It was the same section where Marcus, Mikko and Gareth McHale hit the barrier but they managed to grab the handbrake in time and hit the back of their cars. We went straight on and hit the front and were stranded under the barrier. The damage is not so bad and we are both fine as the speed was not that high, but although the damage is not so bad the car has to be all ready for Finland so we will have to see what happens. It is the most important rally for me and to have a problem so early is not good. There is something not right in my head perhaps."

Stobart VK Rally Team driver Barry Clark says:

"I donít know how we got the puncture, I didnít hit anything. Scott said to stop and change it, but I wanted to carry on, but it just broke up and we had to stop. I donít know why we were so fast in the third stage in the morning but we had a very big deficit to make back. The first stage in the afternoon went really well too but then we bent the rear beam and it made the back end very lively on right-handers. The guys up front drag a lot of gravel on to the stages so it makes it all the more difficult for us."


- Andy Stobart -
photos   Karsten Huber / Marc Hilger


12.08.2006 / MaP

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