Stobart Ford's Gigi Galli secured the final spot on the podium on the Uddeholm Swedish Rally on Sunday after a controlled drive in his Focus RS WRC car.

The Italian was running in the points from the off and moved into contention for a place on the podium following the first loop on Friday.

He eventually finished the opening leg just 5.7 seconds off third and when his team-mate, Henning Solberg went out on Saturday morning he was pretty much assured of the position, as his nearest rival was more than a minute further back.

After that he just had to get to the finish and he eventually took the podium, only the second of his career and his first with the Stobart team, by 36.2 seconds.

"What a fantastic result for me here. It's an amazing feeling to be on the podium so early in the year," said Galli. "As I told you before the start of Monte-Carlo, on the first few rounds I just wanted to get use to the car. [As such] I could not imagine a result like this.

"We started with a good pace, with no big moments. We tried to drive as well as we can and after the second day, when Henning was stopped, we tried to arrive at the end. We were very consistent and just looked for Petter [Solberg] behind [in P4] and nothing else. Today was just cruising.

"Pirelli also did a great job. The Pirelli tyres have been perfect in the difficult conditions and the car has worked extremely well. We were a bit scared for this year without mousse, especially in these really rough conditions. We had no punctures however and the studs stayed on the tyre.

"It's good and also it's good to be the third car from Ford after a long stop [not competing]. It is also important for me to have scored more points for the Stobart team. I wanted to be fast here but I always had to think about getting to the finish. I can really say I used my head to keep it safe."

Gigi's co-driver Giovanni Bernacchini meanwhile was also very happy. Furthermore while he said they are still going to take it cautiously, he is optimistic that they can get more good results this year.

"It's very a happy day for us. We didn't imagine at the start of the season to be here. A podium in the second rally in the car is unbelievable for us. We are very happy. This is just the start for us. I hope we can do all the season in this way," he continued.

"This is a good opportunity for us to have all of the season though, for this reason we will do it step by step and see what we can do in the gravel. It's a good start."

So how will they approach the next event in Mexico?

"I haven't spoken with my chief [Malcolm Wilson] yet. The plan doesn't change though," Gigi summed-up. "Okay, we did Mexico in 2004 - just a few stages. Just two times on the recce, it's not enough to be on the same pace as the other drivers.

"There are a lot of quick drivers. What we will do is to try and find the good, safe pace and understand how the feeling is with the new gravel tyre. After one day, we can understand."


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