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Who should replace Galli in New Zealand?

Ford boss Malcolm Wilson will have to move quickly this week to finalise who will replace Gigi Galli in the #7 Stobart Ford Focus RS WRC07 on the Rally New Zealand.

Galli crashed out heavily in Germany last weekend and the accident left him with a fracture to his left femur, which required surgery. While it is uncertain currently how long he will be out, doctors have estimated that he will be unable to walk on his left leg for six to eight weeks and will require physiotherapy after this time.

As such he may not compete again this season - although there is perhaps a slight outside chance he could return for the Wales Rally GB, as that doesn't run until December 5-7.

In the meantime however, the Stobart team need to appoint a replacement for the trip to the other side of the world.

Normally it would be a relatively simple decision, as Henning Solberg and 'third' driver Matthew Wilson could be nominated to score manufacturers' points.

However Henning is already committed to making another 'guest' appearance under the Munchi's Ford WRT banner in Hamilton.

Furthermore while Francois Duval is probably the obvious choice to step in, especially following his third place finish in Germany, where he was competing with the Stobart team for the second time this season, he is more regarded as an asphalt specialist now.

Speaking post-Rallye Deutschland the Belgian revealed that he hasn't been approached as yet about filling the void in NZ.

"I haven't been asked at the moment," he confirmed, "but the last time I did New Zealand was 2005 with Citroen, so it will be a difficult decision for Malcolm. Maybe it would be easier to pick a quick driver like Marcus Gronholm, but of course, I would very much like to do it."

The official line from the team is that a 'decision to his [Gigi's] replacement for the season will be made in due course'.

So who do you think should get the nod?
Should it be Duval?
Could Marcus Gronholm make a come-back?

Have your say now and post your views in the Crash.net comments section.


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Gigi Galli (ITA) Giovanni Bernacchini (ITA) Ford Focus RS WRC 07, Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team
Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC, Monza, [Credit: Hyundai Motorsport]
Podium 1st Australian - Molly Taylor (AUS) Bill Hayes (AUS) Subaru Impreza WRX Sti
Podium - Volkswagen
Podium - Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Anders Jaeger Synnevag (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC
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Podium, 1st Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Anders Jaeger Synnevag (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 2nd Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 3rd Thierry Neuville (BEL) Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Hyundai i20 WRC
Podium - Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Anders Jaeger Synnevag (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC
Podium - Volkswagen
Podium - Volkswagen
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Podium - Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Anders Jaeger Synnevag (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC
Podium - Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Anders Jaeger Synnevag (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC
Mads Ostberg (NOR) Ola Floene (NOR) Ford Fiesta RS WRC
Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC
Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC
Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC

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Grant - Unregistered

August 18, 2008 11:33 AM

Gronholm would be the ideal choice - if he is prepared to come out of retirement. If he is maybe Ford should put him back alongside Mikko too and then transfer Jari back to the Stobart team for a few events, so he can re-build his confidence following his problems in G/y and Finland. With Citroen now in the lead in the manufacturers'' Ford must surely consider it??



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