Stobart chase points in Poland

Stobart chase points in Poland

26.06.2009: The Stobart VK M-Sport Ford team are in a strong points-scoring position following a solid start to Rally Poland. Henning Solberg and Matthew Wilson are both occupying top-eight spots

 FIA World Rally Championship Rally Poland, 25-28 June 2009 after SS4

The Stobart VK M-Sport Ford team are in a strong points-scoring position following a solid start to Rally Poland.  Henning Solberg and Matthew Wilson are both occupying top-eight spots after three stages of action this morning while Krzysztof Holowczyc is sitting just outside the points in 11th. 

Following the excitement of last night’s Super Special Stage in Mikolajki, Solberg, Wilson and Holowczyz were among the 48 starters taking on the fast stages around the edge of Sniardwy Lake today. Solberg and Wilson both had a steady start to the rally as they adjusted to the fast, sandy roads which were packed with thousands of eager Polish fans, enjoying the first FIA World Rally Championship event in their country since 1973.

The Norwegian has been struggling to find the right set-up on his Ford Focus RS WRC to match the conditions of this new rally and is hoping that the knowledge gained this morning will improve his pace on the second pass of the stages this afternoon.  But team mate Wilson posted top-ten times throughout the morning, contending well with the fast, tricky stages and using the knowledge of co-driver Scott Martin, who has previous experience of Rally Poland, to help him on the flowing, high-speed forest roads.

Meanwhile Holowczyc put his local knowledge to good use on SS3 Planki as he posted the seventh fastest time to move up into the top ten overall.  But a spin on the last stage of the morning, SS4 Paprotki, where he stalled the engine, lost the local hero around 20 seconds and he finished the morning in 11th place overall, still well placed for a charge on the points.

The crews will be cheered out of Mikolajki this afternoon by thousands of locals, who are thronging the Service Park, to take a second pass over the same three-stage loop.


Stobart VK M-Sport Ford driver Matthew Wilson said:

“It’s quite difficult to adjust to the speed again.  The first stage today was really nice but it took us the first half of the stage to see how much grip there actually was.  It is just hard to believe you can actually push that much and you need to reset your brain a bit to the speeds; it’s like Finland from that respect. 

The stages have been awesome this morning but we lost some time in the narrow section of the last stage in the loop.  The feeling of the car is good, it’s just a question of finding the confidence to trust the notes, especially in the really fast sections.”


Stobart VK M-Sport Ford driver Henning Solberg said:

“The stages are nice, fast and fun to drive, but I’m not happy with the car at the moment.  It is difficult to find a good set-up.  I tried a few things on the shakedown but I couldn’t get it the way I wanted and it will take some time today to get settled in. 

The conditions are getting rutted and worse after every car now and I’m finding it quite difficult to get a good feeling with the car.” 

Stobart VK M-Sport Ford driver Krzysztof Holowczyc said:

“This morning went well for us and we had a good start.  It was fantastic to see lots of fans cheering for us.  Some of the stages are packed with spectators, especially on the exciting sections with the jumps.  We had a spin on the third stage and stalled the car. 

It took us a while to restart the engine as we were on a hill but apart from that the morning has been very good.  I don’t think that the stages this afternoon will be as rutted as we had been expecting so I am looking forward to it.”

Leaderboard after SSS4

1. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen(FIN)                  Ford Focus RS          +32m19.5s

2. J-M Latvala/M Anttila (FIN)                  Ford Focus RS           +2.4s

3. D Sordo/M Marti (ESP)                        Citroën C4               +14.7s

4. A Mikkelsen/O Floene (NOR)                Skoda Fabia             +34.1s

5. P Solberg/P Mills (NOR)                       Citroën Xsara           +40.0s

6. S Ogier/J Ingrassia (FRA)                    Citroën C4               +51.6s

7. H Solberg/C Menkerud (NOR)              Ford Focus RS           +53.9s

8. M Wilson/S Martin (GB)                        Ford Focus RS           +58.6s

9. E Novikov/D Moscatt (RUS)                  Citroën C4               +59.0s

10. C Rautenbach/D Barritt (ZIM)             Citroën C4               +1m15.1s

11. K Holowczyc/L Kurzeja (POL)           Ford Focus RS           +1m25.0s


-  Glenn Patterson -  photo Stobart


26.06.2009 / MaP

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