Stobart Ford's Gigi Galli will not be able to re-start the Neste Oil Rally Finland on Sunday as the damage done to his Focus RS WRC07 in SS16 was impossible to repair in time, the team confirmed this evening.

Galli, who had been third overall, 7.4 seconds up on Dani Sordo in P4, going into Kakaristo 1, rolled his car near the end of the test, when he was caught out by a tricky bend hidden behind a crest.

Although he and co-driver Giovanni Bernacchini both escaped uninjured, the car ended up in a ditch and it was not possible to fix it for the final three stages on Sunday.

"What a shame," said Galli. "That section was part of the famous Ouninpohja stage, but this time was run in the opposite way and we did just two recce passages there. We took a left bend and it was longer than what we put in our pace notes, so we went out wide, went off road and rolled into a ditch. It is a real shame, we were doing fine so far."

Galli was one of three drivers' caught out in SS16, with Suzuki's Per-Gunnar Andersson and then P-WRC leader Juha Salo also falling victim at the same spot and retiring.

Ford/M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson meanwhile was disappointed to see Gigi go out, especially as the Italian was on to deprive Dani Sordo and Citroen of vital manufacturers' points.

"Gigi got caught out in SS16 on a jump that he wasn't prepared for and unfortunately it happened in a very difficult place," added Wilson Sr. "The car is too damaged to continue. So an unfortunate result for the Stobart team.

"Henning [Solberg] needs to stay ahead of Chris Atkinson to maintain any hope of a good result [for the Stobart squad now] and from my own personal point of view [and for Ford in terms of the manufacturers'] it would be nice to have them both ahead of Dani Sordo's Citroen!"

For the record, Henning ended the day in fifth, having slipped behind Atkinson and Sordo in the final loop. He is now 28 seconds off the final place on the Rally Finland rostrum.


Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment