Rally Catalunya - preview - Pt. 2.

Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally team:

[Matthew Wilson, car #7 and Jari-Matti Latvala, car #8]

Matthew Wilson:

"It will be nice to go back to a consistent tarmac event in Spain and hopefully things will stay dry for us. I prefer the nature of these stages to Germany as the roads are consistent over all three days whereas Germany there was a lot of variation. Being with Rob [Wilson] last week should be good preparation for the event. We are back scoring points for the Stobart team and I am sporting my lucky number 7 so looking forward to starting the event. The weather again will play a big part and if it is consistent and we can get off to a positive start during the shakedown, I think a points' finish is certainly on the cards."

Jari-Matti Latvala:

"The WRC season started on tarmac and on a new tyre and my confidence was not perfect and in Germany I felt the pressure after my accident in Finland but now I actually feel quite relaxed. I have done five hours of asphalt training recently with one of Finland's top touring car drivers on a race track and there are quite a few things I have learnt, especially with my braking, which I know I can use on the next two tarmac rallies. I did the same training 12 months ago only this time I feel like I have taken a lot more from it. I have also been doing some drive days for Ford in a Fiesta and a Focus ST and OK they are not rally cars but I was able to practice what I learnt from the touring car which is more time and practice for me. I'm looking forward to Spain and Corsica because I like these rallies and now I will have had more time with the Pirelli PZero tyre so I will be more familiar with its actions."

Munchi's Ford WRT:

[Federico Villagra, car #9 and Henning Solberg, car #10]

Federico Villagra:

"I have been rallying almost every week in Argentina but not so much on tarmac except for a little bit we did in a group N car but other than that it has been pretty limited. Being here for a second time will help but this is still only my second time ever on tarmac in the WRC so we will try and find a nice pace from the start and gradually build on it. My goal for this rally will be to finish in the top-eight and collect some more drivers' points. The test on Monday will hopefully give me a better understanding of how the 07 Focus reacts on asphalt and also an idea of how the Pirelli tyre will feel as this will be my first time using the tarmac version of the rubber. The Munchi's team is currently fighting with Suzuki for fifth place in the championship and I think we have a strong chance to extend our gap in Spain especially with Henning joining the team again."

Henning Solberg:

"I am looking forward to the rally in Spain because I have been working a lot on learning about driving on tarmac. OK, asphalt is still not a very strong part of my driving but after finishing seventh in Germany I would like to think we can score some more points in Spain. I have been spending a lot of time at home in Norway at the go-kart track with my own kart and this has been helping with my feeling on tarmac. My plan will again be to take things at a steady pace to start with and drive our own rally and hopefully the speed will increase as the rally goes on. A top-eight finish here would be perfect for me and for the Munchi's team who are in a good fight with Suzuki."

Suzuki WRT:

[Toni Gardemeister, car #11 and Per-Gunnar Andersson, car #12]

Toni Gardemeister:

"I've not driven the Catalunya Rally since 2005, so I don't really know what to expect. It's an event that I like, but it's not always liked me in the past! For some reason we've often had little problems on this rally that have prevented us from getting a good result. It won't be easy because we have many opponents, but if we have a good level of reliability I think that we can score points."

P-G Andersson:

"I still don't have a lot of experience on asphalt but I think we can have a good run in Spain. There are a number of things to look out for on this rally, in particular the way to cut the corners. If you cut the corners too deeply you can damage the car but if you do not cut them enough then your stage time will be slow. We've got some small improvements on the SX4 WRC for this event including some new differential settings, which should make it easier to drive."

Junior WRC:

Round 6.

In the FIA Junior World Rally Championship all the regular crews have nominated this event and Sebastien Ogier could clinch the title on Sunday.

Ogier took his third J-WRC win of the season last time out in Germany and now heads to Spain with a nine-point cushion over Shaun Gallagher. While Gallagher is not really a threat - as he will miss the final Junior event in Corsica next weekend as it is not one of his nominated rounds - Aaron Burkart and Michal Kosciuszko could both make Ogier wait, as they are only ten and twelve points adrift respectively.

Whatever happens, the FFSA-backed man will definitely start as the favourite in his Citroen C2 S1600 and a win would guarantee him the crown regardless of how his competitors perform.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Daniel Sordo (ESP) / Marc Marti (ESP), Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC. Rally Catalunya Costa Daurada, Spain. 5-7th Oct 2007.
1st: Sebastien Loeb (FRA) / Daniel Elena (MC), Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC. 2nd: Daniel Sordo (ESP) / Marc Marti (ESP), Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC. 3rd: Marcus Gronholm (FIN) / Timo Rautiainen (FIN), BP Ford Focus RS WRC 06. Rally Catalunya Costa Daurada,
Thierry Neuville - Hyundai World Rally Team [credit: Red Bull Content Pool]
Thierry Neuville - Hyundai World Rally Team [credit: Red Bull Content Pool]
WRC Drivers 2017
WRC Drivers 2017
Quentin GIORDANO (FRA) - Thomas ROUX (FRA) PEUGEOT 208
Eric Camilli (FRA)-Benjamin Veillas (FRA) Ford Fiesta RS WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team
Eric Camilli (FRA)-Benjamin Veillas (FRA) Ford Fiesta RS WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team

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