by Rob Wilkins
TO HEAR THE INTERVIEW IN FULL WITH GIGI GALLI : CLICK HERE
Gigi Galli received the best Christmas present possible a few weeks ago when he was confirmed as a Stobart
driver for 2008, replacing the BP Ford
bound Jari-Matti Latvala. Crash.net Radio
caught up with the Italian to chat to him about that and his hopes for the coming season...
Gigi, congratulations on securing that drive with the Stobart
Ford team, I guess you must be very happy with that deal?
Of course - but first of all, let me say, happy new year to everybody and I can tell you my 2008 started very well. It is a good chance for us to work with the Stobart
team. Just before Christmas I visited the M-Sport base in the UK and visited the beautiful factory. I met also the Stobart
chief and it was very pleasant to spend some time with them. Now it is time to start [working properly] in the next week. We will try and do some tests with the Focus RS WRC. For me it is completely new. I have never been in a Focus WRC car before.
Having only done selected events in 2006 and 2007, how important was it for you to get a deal to do a full season in 2008?
This is another key point for the season because in the last two years I did just a few WRC events. I couldn't get a good rhythm and then I couldn't keep a good pace on the rallies. For this reason in the first part of the year I will be, in agreement with the Stobart
team, just a 'taxi driver'. I just need to get to understand and learn about the car, the cock-pit and get everything working well on the car. After that, when we feel confident with the car, we can try to do something more.
What are your aims for the season overall?
We have to think about the championship and get points for the Stobart
team. That is my main goal and what I will keep in mind. I cannot also forget though ourselves and we - Giovanni [Bernacchini - my co-driver] and myself - will try to do our best to have fun with the Stobart
team. That is it.
You will be nominated to score manufacturers' points on every event. Is that going to put you under more pressure?
Everything is pressure. But I think this is the kind of thing that happens when you are in the WRC. I prefer to have this kind of pressure than to have no pressure and be sat in my living room at home!
Have you spoken with your Stobart
Ford team-mates, Henning Solberg
and Matt Wilson yet?
I have known them for a long time and of course with Henning I have already shared some events in 2006 [when we both drove Peugeot 307 WRCs]. I think we will make a good team.
Are you looking forward to working with them?
Definitely, I think when you can work together with the same goal it is always good.
How are you going to approach the Rallye Monte Carlo?
Monte Carlo is a strange event. We don't know yet what the weather conditions will be - if there will be snow or not. We don't know about the tyres as well - the Pirellis are completely new [for 2008]. After this rally I think we will be able to understand more easily and understand our pace and how we can do on subsequent events.
You last did the Monte back in 2006. The route has changed a lot since then. Is that going to make things tougher?
Of course - the special stages have completed changed compared to the last time I did it. Ok we did the recce last year, but that is not enough. As I said before though we have to take it easy in the first part of the season for the reasons I have already mentioned.