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Germany (S,A) - 18-21 Aug 11

Posted: September 9, 2011 10:08 AM - 6215 Hits

Round 9 - 2011 World Rally Championship
S - S2000 Championship
A - Academy

Photos:

Posted: September 9, 2011 10:08 AM

In Car - (Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle & Petter Solberg / Chris Patterson)

Posted: August 30, 2011 2:56 PM

Kris Meeke / Paul Nagle (John Cooper Works Mini WRC) - SS4


Petter Solberg / Chris Patterson (Citroen DS3 WRC) - SS3

WRC Academy ace Fisher fast but out of luck in Germany

Posted: August 26, 2011 1:21 PM

Alastair Fisher gained more valuable experience in the World Rally Championship by claiming a top 10 finish in the FIA WRC Academy Cup in Germany on Saturday, the first asphalt round of the prestigious young driver-training category.

The Northern Irishman was in contention for victory until a disastrous sixth stage on Friday evening dropped him out of a point-scoring position.

Although he was able to fight back to ninth at the finish in the historic city of Trier on Saturday evening, the result was poor reward for another impressive performance by the 23-year-old Fisher, who set a total of eight top-three stage times in his Ford Fiesta R2.

“It was looking good for at least a podium but these things happen,” said Fisher, from Trillick, County Tyrone. “On stage six I very slightly overshot a hairpin right so decided to drive over a kerb at walking speed and the tyre just seemed to pop off the rim. We drove on for 300 metres before we could stop to change it. We carried on but then we got caught out on a patch of gravel at a corner about two kilometres from the end of the stage. We managed to save the first slide but we couldn’t avoid hitting the front of the car. We’ll just need to have some luck.”

Rally Germany is ranked as the toughest Tarmac round of the season with stages run through vineyards, woodland areas and the punishing concrete roads of the Baumholder military training ranges.

“You can’t really compare it to any Tarmac rally I’ve done before because no stages are the same and it’s a real test,” said Fisher, who is co-driven by Daniel Barritt from Burnley, Lancashire. “We were enjoying the stages and setting a good pace against drivers who’d been here before. But it’s all about experience and hopefully it’s made me stronger for when I come back next year and for the next Tarmac round in France at the end of September.”

All WRC Academy drivers will use identical Ford Fiesta R2s, prepared by the British M-Sport operation, which run on Pirelli control tyres.

Alastair Fisher’s Rally Germany stage highlights
Stage 1: Third fastest
Stage 2: Second fastest
Stage 3: Third fastest
Stage 4: Third fastest
Stage 5: Third fastest
Stage 8: Second fastest
Stage 11: Third fastest
Stage 12: Third fastest

BREEN CLINCHES MAIDEN WRC ACADEMY WIN IN GERMANY

Posted: August 26, 2011 12:13 PM

Irishman Craig Breen has claimed his first victory in the FIA WRC Academy Cup on ADAC Rallye Deutschland, round four of the Pirelli-backed series that aims to nurture the next generation of rally champions. To put the spotlight firmly on talent, all the drivers use identical Ford Fiesta R2s running on Pirelli tyres.

Germany was the very first asphalt round of the series, following three gravel rallies that were won by Estonia’s Egon Kaur. The 24-year-old opted for a cautious approach in order to safeguard his championship advantage, while it was the Spaniard Yeray Lemes who blasted into a half-minute lead on the opening day of the Trier-based event, which was characterised by mixed weather conditions.

This made the tyre strategy even more crucial than usual, with the drivers having to select which of their P Zero RX5 tyres (for dry conditions) and P Zero RE7 tyres (for wet conditions) to use over the course of the day. In total, each driver received an allocation of 18 RX tyres and 12 RE tyres for the rally (with a maximum of 20 allowed to be used for both the pre-event test and the rally in total). A key part of their learning programme lies in working out how best to use their tyres and allocation: this was the first time that the Academy drivers had a tyre choice, as normally they are supplied with just one type.

Before the rally the drivers benefitted from a tutorial session hosted by Pirelli senior engineer Matteo Braga – who taught them some of the fundamental principles about how to choose different tyres for different conditions. With plenty of uncertainty about the grip levels on the opening day of the event, these were valuable lessons.

On the second and final day of the rally, run in the woodland areas of the Saarland region and over the notoriously abrasive concrete roads of the Baumholder military ranges, Lemes lost the lead after going off for nearly a minute on stage eight, promoting Craig Breen, one of the six Pirelli Star Drivers this year, into the rally lead. Over the remaining six stages, the two fought hard for victory – with Breen eventually winning by 15.1 seconds. Italian Pirelli Star Driver Andrea Crugnola was third. Kaur’s eighth place was enough to ensure that he retains the overall series lead with two rounds left to go.

Breen used the hard compound RX5 throughout the 283-kilometre event, but took two RE7 soft compound tyre as spares to cut through standing water on Friday if necessary.

Pirelli’s Racing Manager Mario Isola commented:
“The first asphalt round of the season has resulted in an interesting reversal of some of the form that we saw earlier this year. Having struggled a little bit on gravel, the asphalt specialists came into their own on this event and we saw some excellent drives. But even the asphalt here is hardly typical of the asphalt seen on most events: the surface is extremely rough and dirty, making it hard for drivers to find a natural rhythm, and this wasn’t helped by the weather conditions. Our tyres performed well throughout the rally in these tough conditions, and even more importantly, I think all the drivers learnt a lot here this weekend.”

Pirelli is the official tyre supplier to the entry-level class, which pitches 16 young hopefuls together on six WRC events on asphalt and gravel. They drive identical Ford Fiesta R2s prepared by the British M-Sport organisation in Poland. The WRC Academy Cup resumes on Rallye de France, an all-asphalt event based in Alsace from 30 September-2 October.

Craig Breen/Gareth Robert claims dramatic Maiden win in WRC Academy

Posted: August 26, 2011 10:49 AM

Ireland’s Craig Breen claimed the biggest win of his career by taking his maiden win in the FIA WRC Academy Championship on Saturday evening, after a final stage showdown on ADAC Rallye Deutschland. Twenty-one year old, Breen was embroiled in a rally long battle with Spaniard Yeray Lemes and triumphed by 15.1 seconds following a tense fight that went all the way to the final stage. “That was absolutely incredible,” said Breen at the end of the final Arena Panzerplatte stage, “I was absolutely on the limit and I have to thank Yeray for pushing me that hard. There was no way I was going to be beaten again so I went on maximum attack.” Breen had the taste of victory within his grasp on the previous event in the championship on WRC Finland but was thwarted on the final stage by Estonian Egon Kaur. The Waterford man was not to be denied this time out however and this win underlines his talent by being the only driver in the WRC Academy Cup to have been an event leader on each of the four rounds to date. Breen’s points haul narrows the gap in the WRC Academy Championship overall standings, Egon Kaur still leads with a total of 92 points but Breen has now moved on to 66, with two rounds remaining. The next event takes place in France at the end of September and is again on tarmac. Then the final rally of the season is based in Wales in November on World Rally GB.

The Championship moved to asphalt for round four in Germany and the battle for supremacy on tarmac got underway on Friday with six stages. Tarmac specialist Yeray Lemes (ESP) set the pace on the opening day. The Canary Islander took four stage wins and held a 36.2s lead as the cars return for the overnight halt. Breen, who started the event joint second in the title standings with fellow Pirelli Star Driver Brendan Reeves, was a strong second, recording fastest time on stage four and being second fastest on three of the days tests.
“It’s gone well so far,” said Breen, but the over night gap could have been closer; we hit the side of the car on the last stage and bent two wheels. Tomorrow is another tough day, including the famous Panzerplatte stage.”

Day two totaled 8 stages involving a double loop of four tests. Lemes started proceedings by extending his lead to 39s on stage seven. Then on the follow stage (Special Stage 8) the rally swung in Breen's favor as Lemes had a minor off costing him 55s. “I missed a left-hand junction and we couldn’t reverse onto the road because we were down from the road and the grass was wet,” said Lemes. This elevated Craig into the lead by a margin of 16.2sec. Breen then extended his advantage to 17.9 on SS 9, only for Lemes to cut the deficit back to 12.1 as the crews entered midday service.

The afternoon was made up of a rerun of the morning’s stages and on SS11 the nail biting started as Lemes set another fastest stage time and gap between the two front-runners was down to 6.2sec. At the end of that stage Craig did state that his brakes were sticking but he hoped to be able to continue the fight over the remaining three stages.

On stage 12 Breen set the pace and pulled out the lead to 10.9. So to the penultimate test and Lemes setup a final stage showdown by going fastest. He was 1.3 ahead of the Irish driver and the gap was now 9.6s

SS14 and the 34km's of the famous Arena Panzerplatte lay before Craig and his first win in the WRC Academy. Over the initial splits the two were neck and neck, then Yeray pulled out a one second lead, but over the final sectors of the stage Breen edged out 5.5sec to record an amazing win, his final margin being 15.1sec.

Craig will travel to the Czech Republic directly from Germany for the Barum Czech Rally Zlin, where Craig will drive his Keltech Engineering Ford Fiesta S2000. The three-day event starts on Friday next and the Irish driver is seeded 20th but for now Craig can bask in the glory of his first win in the WRC Academy.

Petter Solberg, Kimi Räikkönen and Peter Van Merksteijn Jr in the top 10

Posted: August 26, 2011 10:17 AM

The three Citroën Racing Technologies Citroën DS3 WRCs driven by Petter Solberg, Kimi Räikkönen and Peter Van Merksteijn Jr all finished in the points in Rally Germany. Petter Solberg saw the flag in fifth place and scored an additional point in the Power Stage. Kimi Räikkönen equalled his best result of the season, sixth in Jordan. Peter van Merksteijn Jr came home ninth scoring his first points in the FIA World Rally Championship.

Petter Solberg was knocked out of the fight for victory in SS2 due to a wrong tyre choice when it was raining, and he found himself up against the Ford and Mini drivers. Despite four punctures, the Petter Solberg World Rally Team driver managed to hang on to fifth place till the very end. The Norwegian was third fastest in the Power Stage scoring an additional point, and is now only two behind the fourth- placed driver in the World Rally Championship.

“For the first tarmac rally of the season we had a new car,” said Solberg at the finish. “We went quicker and quicker as the stages unfolded. Being the best privateer and fighting in the middle of the works drivers gives me additional satisfaction. We lost a lot of time because of multiple punctures. I hope we’ll be back in the battle for victory in the next event.”

Kimi Räikkönen continued his series of finishes in the top 10 in his sixth rally with the Citroën DS3 WRC and saw the flag in sixth place. Despite a spin and then a slight off on the first day, the Finn installed himself in eighth place. After passing Henning Solberg during the second leg and taking advantage of Kris Meeke’s retirement near the end of the rally, he equaled his best result of the year.

“Overall, I made a lot of mistakes during the weekend,” said Kimi ruefully. “I feel I wasn’t quick enough due to these errors. It was a complicated rally. I learned a lot especially not to put the tyres just anywhere! Last year we could cross the pavements without problems. With the new tyres it’s not possible as our puncture in the Power Stage proved.”

Peter van Merksteijn Jr with his new co-driver Erwin Mombaerts made a cautious start to his first tarmac rally in the Citroën DS3 WRC, and ended the first day in a very encouraging eleventh spot. He was quick in the redoubtable Arena Panzerplatte stage – the longest in the rally – and moved up the time sheets during the second day breaking into the top 10. Today, the Dutchman defended his ninth place against fellow-countryman Dennis Kuipers and scored his first points in the WRC.

Peter van Merksteijn Jr :
“I’m really happy to finish ninth. After all the problems I’ve had it’s a very good result. Erwin Mombaerts and I had to get on the same wavelength. I enjoyed myself a lot, especially in the military camp. I’m delighted to have scored points in the World Rally Championship. I’d like to thank the whole team for the work they’ve done to achieve this result.”

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED AS PIERRE CAMPANA CONCLUDES POSITIVE RALLYE DEUTSCHLAND WITH DRIVE-PRO

Posted: August 26, 2011 10:16 AM

Rising star Pierre Campana has today achieved another important milestone in his rally career by completing this weekend’s World Rally Championship event in Germany in 18th position overall after a competitive final stage.

26-year-old Pierre, competing in his first ever rally in WRC-specification machinery with the Drive-Pro team, completed all 19 special stages over the three days of competition after a busy and challenging weekend which saw the Corsican up against vastly more experienced rally drivers around a tough German course.

It has been an important learning curve for Pierre, as he learned more about the MINI in a competitive WRC rally for the first time, while understanding all the nuances of the Rallye Deutschland stages. Today’s final stages were also hit by rain, which ensured Pierre gathered information in a wide range of climatic conditions.

Starting the day in 20th overall, Pierre’s aim was to bring to a positive conclusion the remaining five stages of the rally, incorporating a double loop of two stages, Dhrontal and Moselwein, and a concluding power stage Circus Maximus in Trier.

The importance of finishing the event meant that Pierre did not take any risks on this final day, although the concluding stage of the day, power stage SS19, saw Pierre finish with a flourish, setting the 14th quickest time and jumping to a very respectable 18th overall.

Pierre Campana said:
“I am extremely pleased to have finished Rallye Deutschland, my first ever WRC rally with Drive-Pro and in the MINI John Cooper Works WRC. My aim throughout this rally has been to complete all stages and to leave with a full experience and understanding of the event in order to develop myself for the future. For my first time at this rally, I wanted to use the opening loop on each of the days to learn the peculiarities of this tough course and to show improvements on the repeat loop, which I was able to achieve. It has been a tough, challenging but enjoyable rally for me and I am generally pleased with my finishing position. It must also be said that I have also been slightly disadvantaged not having the gravel crew, especially on the Friday and today with the wet weather making for difficult driving conditions. Nonetheless, it has been an incredible weekend and I would like to thank the FFSA and Drive-Pro for demonstrating their faith in me and giving me this wonderful opportunity. Thanks also to Prodrive for their invaluable support and congratulations to them and MINI for finishing on the podium today. The car is very competitive and it has been fun to drive. I have a lot of positive things to take away from this rally and things I can learn for the future, in particular Rallye de France Alsace at the end of September.”

Nicolas Deschaux, President of the FFSA, commented:
“I am very pleased with Pierre’s results in Germany. He has fulfilled the two objectives that were expected of him, which were to finish the rally in order to build up the complete picture of experience and also to learn and improve throughout the rally. He developed a better understanding for the car and about the challenges that WRC offers. Congratulations to Pierre and Sabrina (de Castelli, co-driver) for their achievements in Germany, and to Team Drive-Pro for their good work. I strongly believe that Pierre will take away a lot from this first full immersion in this WRC experience and take advantage of it at the next big challenge at Rallye France Alsace.”

A one-two and new records for Citroën

Posted: August 26, 2011 10:15 AM

The Citroën Total World Rally Team clinched its third one-two of the season in the last leg of Rally Germany. Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia scored their first win on tarmac in front of Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena. Citroën racked up its 78th success in the FIA World Rally Championship becoming the manufacturer with the highest number of wins in the sport.

The DS3 WRC’s eighth victory beats its own record of consecutive wins. As on Friday, the stages on the third day were laid out on the roads in the vineyards bordering the Moselle. And as on Friday, thick clouds filled the sky just as the crews left the parc fermé in Trier. Météo France said there would be rain in the stages so the Citroën Racing mechanics changed the suspension settings and fitted Michelin Pilot Sport soft tyres on the two works DS3 WRCs.

In the first stage, Dhrontal, there were only a few damp spots. The Citroën Total World Rally Team crews did not take risks and consolidated their lead over their rivals losing a few seconds in the process. The next stage, Moselwein, was completely soaked. The choice of soft tyres enabled the two Sébastiens to avoid all the traps in this sector.

“We made the right choice this morning,” said Ogier when he came back to the service park. “I stayed in the middle of the road and did not cut the apexes to avoid punctures. We’re nursing our lead while trying to stay concentrated.”

“No worries. I’m just happy to drive,” added Loeb. “As it looks like the rain’s going to continue we’re going to keep the soft rubber for the second loop and the power stage.” Loeb set the quickest time in stages 17 and 18 and was concentrating all his attention on the final stage that awards bonus points. The seven-time world champion really went for it in the streets of Trier and bagged three additional points by setting the quickest time while Ogier added two to his tally.

“I have to say that there was no way that victory in this rally was a foregone conclusion as I was up against Seb who has never lost in Germany and is always very quick on tarmac. I’m absolutely delighted with this win as we’ve proved that we’re quick on this surface. It’s boosted our motivation for the end of the championship. I’m not perhaps in the best position but I’ll fight as long as I’ve still got a chance,” commented Ogier.

“After my eight wins in Germany on the trot, there’s no way I can be pleased with second place,” frowned Loeb. “I’ve been saying for the past few years that this series would come to an end – and it has! We were unlucky but that’s racing. Mathematically speaking my second place and the points from the power stage mean that we still have a victory in hand.”

“In addition to this double, which is an excellent result, I’m satisfied that Citroën remains unbeaten in Rally Germany,” summed up Jean-Marc Gales, the PSA Group Brands manager. “In addition, we’ve beaten two records as it’s our eighth consecutive win this season and the seventy-eight success by Citroën in the WRC. We’re getting closer to the two world titles.”

First Podium for MINI WRC Team.

Posted: August 26, 2011 10:13 AM

21st August, 2011. A podium position on the ADAC Rally Germany was the reward for the MINI WRC Team after Dani Sordo (ES) and Carlos del Barrio (ES) finished third in their number 37 MINI John Cooper Works WRC after a flawless drive. It also looked as if their team-mates, Kris Meeke (GB) and Paul Nagle (IR), were set to make it to the finish in Trier, but then on the penultimate stage an electrical gremlin struck and the car stopped while they were still fighting for fourth.

Sordo had a rally long battle with the Ford of Mikko Hirvonen (FI) and after 19 stages and 359.59 kilometres of competition finished 48.1secs ahead of him. For Kris he started the final day in fourth ahead of Petter Solberg (NO) in his Citroen. Despite a rear puncture on the first stage of the day, Meeke only lost 1.1secs to Solberg. However, on the second one what Meeke described as an ‘optimistic’ pace note saw him have an excursion into the vineyards and drop to fifth. Despite this he started a fight back, but then when the car stopped on stage 18 the battle with Solberg was over.

It was only 11 months ago on the 15th September that the MINI rally car first turned a wheel in testing in Portugal. In that time the team has competed on only three World Rally Championship events and made it to the podium on its first tarmac event. While this may be the team’s first podium, for the second time this season it has been awarded the Abu Dhabi Spirit of the Rally Award for Sordo’s great drive.

David Richards, Team Principal:
“I don’t know where to start to thank all the people who have made this possible. If I look at the long list of everyone who has had faith in this project from the very first day we started it’s a long one, and I would like to thank everyone of them as without them none of this would be possible. Dani has driven an impeccable event, and never put a foot wrong. I never doubted his abilities. Poor Kris - if there was any bad luck it was always with him. To have such cruel luck on the second to last stage I really feel for him, but his day will come. He has proved how competitive he can be here and I am sure he is looking forward to France.”

Dave Wilcock, Technical Director:
“We knew what we had to do today. Kris was up for getting in front of Petter Solberg. Dani just had to keep his nose clean and keep the gap to Mikko Hirvonen. The morning stages were dry and we took a bit of a gamble. All the competitors took soft tyres, but we did a split and took the safe option for Dani and Kris went for hard. It was absolutely the right choice, as we could see after ten kilometres into the first stage the hard tyres had warmed up and I was confident we were on for our first fastest stage. Unfortunately he picked up a puncture just before the end. Then at the lunchtime service the heavens opened for the afternoon stages and soft was the obvious choice for everyone. In the afternoon Dani was matching Hirvonen, and picked up the pace when he had to and drove a stunning finish. For Kris we had a loss of electrical power three kilometres into the penultimate stage.
The battery managed to keep it running for a further seven minutes, but then we had total electrical failure so had to retire the car after many fraught minutes on the phone and radio to try and sort out the problem. The problem was a broken terminal, a really simple problem as you can do thousands of miles testing and never have this problem. It was the sort of problem buried in the wires that you could not have seen it if you had been looking for it.”

Dani Sordo:
“I am really, really happy for me and the team. For the first rally of the car on tarmac this is very good. This is a surprise and the times were so close to Ford and Citroen that we have a lot of confidence for the next rally. The car is really good on tarmac. We have a good set-up and the suspension is perfect. Obviously we can improve and get the car better and better but this weekend it was okay. We shall now work a lot to try and beat Citroen as well. I tried to push hard on the power stage and it was great to be third, but I didn’t want to take any risks. The mechanics have worked really hard and not made any mistakes so I hope to spend some time with them tonight.”

Kris Meeke:
“The day started out as going to be a bit of a battle with Petter Solberg. We held him in the first one and then on the second we had a little error on the pace note side as the note I had made on the recce was a little bit optimistic and I missed my braking point and lost ten seconds there. After lunch it was very wet and there was only a second between myself and Petter on the first stage, and then on the next about halfway through the car started to cut out on me, eventually stopped completely and there was nothing we could do. It was quite clear it was an electrical issue as there was no power to the control box inside the car. It was traced to just a little wire that had come off and it was one of those things.”

TÄNAK HEADS A FORD PODIUM CLEAN SWEEP IN S-WRC

Posted: August 26, 2011 10:11 AM

Ford Fiesta S2000 driver Ott Tänak has clawed himself back into S-WRC title contention after a stunning performance at ADAC Rallye Deutschland this weekend.

The Estonian driver led the S-WRC at the end of the first day and finished a remarkable five minutes and 38.6 seconds ahead of his closest competitor - fellow Ford Fiesta S2000 driver Nasser Al-Attiyah. Frigyes Turán completes the podium clean sweep for Ford with his second third place finish of the year in the Fiesta S2000.

Tänak’s victory at the first asphalt rally of the season has now promoted the 23-year-old to second in the overall championship standings. He also slashed Juho Hanninen’s lead in S-WRC to just 18 points, thus creating an exciting battle during the championship’s closing three rounds.

Martin Prokop’s hopes for a second victory in S-WRC were dashed after an incident on Friday’s closing stage. Despite setting eight fastest stage times on the second day, the time lost on Friday proved too much for Prokop to catch and the Czech driver had to settle with sixth place.

Portugal’s Bernardo Sousa was lying sixth until he was knocked back to eighth after an incident saw him go off the road on the rally’s penultimate stage. Wildcard entrant Felix Herbold battled back from an early retirement to finish his debut S-WRC event ninth.

Ott Tänak
S-WRC position: 1
Final position: 12
Markko Märtin’s protégé Ott Tänak racked up four fastest stage times including a sixth fastest overall stage time on ADAC Rally Deutschland’s opening day. At the end of the first day, the young driver was leading S-WRC and placed 13th overall.

As the S-WRC competitors journeyed to the Baumholder region for the second day of competition, Tänak enjoyed a relatively trouble-free day to lead the S-WRC by a remarkable four minutes going into the final day.

With no immediate threat from behind, Tänak adopted a cautious driving approach for the day’s closing five stages to consolidate his second S-WRC victory of the season. This weekend’s victory has successfully promoted the former Pirelli Star Driver up to second in the championship standings, 18 points adrift of Hanninen.

Ott Tänak said:
“It’s been a really good weekend – I’ve made no mistakes and the car has been perfect. After Saturday morning I didn’t need to push so I just started to enjoy myself. I didn’t want to risk losing my position so I didn’t overdo it – it was a nice position to be in as there was no pressure providing we had no problems with the car. For sure, we needed to get some experience of the stages in Germany as well as driving on asphalt and I think we have learned a lot this weekend. We opted for the soft tyres today as we didn’t want to take any risks. I’m really going to push for a win at our next event but we will see how it goes.”

Nasser Al-Attiyah
S-WRC position: 2
Final position: 16
Reigning Dakar Rally champion Nasser Al-Attiyah was third in S-WRC at the end of Friday’s stages, despite losing time when fellow Ford Fiesta S2000 Bernardo Sousa had an incident during Stage 3. At the end of Stage 6, Al-Attiyah was 9.3 seconds behind Karl Kruuda in second position and 18th overall.

Al-Attiyah lost second gear on Saturday’s opening stage but his team performed a gearbox change at the midday service and the driver moved up to second in S-WRC at the end of the day.

Sunday posed no problems for Al-Attiyah who was competing at Rallye Deutschland for the first time this weekend and the driver finished with his best result in this year’s S-WRC so far.

Nasser Al-Attiyah said:
“It’s been a fantastic weekend for us - Tarmac is a road surface I am not familiar with so I’m very happy to finish in second. We had some small troubles but we have had a lot of valuable experience this weekend. Yesterday we had some problems with our gears and we spent most of yesterday afternoon without reverse. Our main aim today was to get to the end of the rally without any more problems – there was no need to push hard and we were still learning the stages.”

Frigyes Turán
S-WRC position: 3
Final position: 19
Frigyes Turán’s rally got off to a shaky start when the Hungarian went off the road on the event’s opening stage. The driver lost four minutes as a result and brake issues also hindered his progress on Stage 2. At the end of the first day, Turán held fifth in S-WRC and he was placed 27th overall.

Turán had a relatively trouble-free second day despite having to complete the lengthy second Arena Panzerplatte stage with no power steering on his Fiesta. The driver clawed himself up to third in S-WRC when his competitors fell by the wayside on the treacherous stages in the notoriously difficult Baumholder military region.

Power steering issues persisted for Turán during Sunday opening stages followed by a front left puncture on the final stage but the driver pulled into the final service at the rally base in Trier delighted with his second podium in S-WRC this year.

Frigyes Turán said:
“I feel great - it’s been a brilliant weekend. We made some small mistakes on the first day - it’s not been an easy ride and I can barely feel my arms from the power steering problems we had yesterday but I’m so happy to be on the podium. There was some tough competition in this category and I am one of the more inexperienced drivers so to finish in third is something that I never expected. As always, my aim is to finish with championship points but it feels great to finish with a podium place after such a difficult rally.”

Martin Prokop
S-WRC position: 6
Final position: 30
Martin Prokop led after ADAC Rallye Deutschland’s opening stage in his Ford Fiesta S2000 but suffered a crash three kilometres into Stage 8, ripping a wheel off his car in the process.

Prokop returned to the second day of competition under SupeRally regulations on flying form and posted an incredible eight fastest stages to hold seventh overnight.

On Stage 15, Prokop lost time when he hit a barrier and suffered a puncture. Despite these problems, the former J-WRC champion made it to the end of a difficult rally with eight championship points. Prokop is now third in the S-WRC standings, four points adrift of Tänak.

Martin Prokop said:
“Friday was a big disappointment for me. Everything was perfect on Saturday – the car was working very well and we set a lot of fast times but it’s just a shame we lost so much time on the first day as it put us out of the game. I’m really happy with our speed on asphalt but we seem to have small problems which do not help the overall result and this is what matters at the end of the day. In my mind, the championship title is now looking out of our reach but after Friday the weekend was about getting some more experience on asphalt and setting fast stage times.”

Bernardo Sousa
S-WRC position: 8
Final position: 35
Portugal’s Bernardo Sousa damaged the right-hand side of his Ford Fiesta S2000 five kilometres into Stage 3. The 24-year-old was forced to retire for the day after an incident on the day’s final stage. He held eighth in S-WRC overnight.

Saturday fared better for Sousa. The young driver had a small off when he overshot a junction on Stage 10 but the driver managed to climb the leaderboard to finish sixth in S-WRC at the end of the first day.

Three kilometres into the event’s penultimate stage, Sousa went off the road and damaged a wheel and incurred a puncture. The Madeira-based driver needed assistance to get back on the road and suffered significant time loss but Sousa nursed his Fiesta S2000 to the end of a troubled rally.

Bernardo Sousa said:
“I lost everything on Friday so the rest of the rally was more like a test for me. I pushed a little bit yesterday to try to find the right limit but then we had our incident today and I just feel lucky to have finished the rally. We improved over the weekend and, for sure, I learned a lot but now we must look forward to France and fight for a victory over there.”

Felix Herbold
S-WRC position: 9
Final position: 39
German wildcard entrant Felix Herbold had a strong start to ADAC Rallye Deutschland and was lying fourth (19th overall) at the end of the first day of competition, only 7.5 seconds behind fellow Fiesta S2000 driver Nasser Al-Attiyah.

Herbold’s charge for a podium in S-WRC was abruptly ended on Day 2 when he tore the front left wheel off his Ford Fiesta S2000 on Stage 7.

Herbold returned to today’s rally under SupeRally regulations and had a relatively trouble-free day to finish his debut S-WRC event ninth and 39th overall.

Felix Herbold said:
“Despite some problems I’ve had this weekend I’ve really enjoyed myself and it’s great to finish on my home event. I wanted to get closer to the others at the front and keep up my speed but after our retirement yesterday it was difficult to keep chasing with so much time lost. The home fans have been brilliant, they’ve kept me going and it’s been great fun competing with the other S-WRC competitors over the weekend.”

GERMAN RALLY OF ENDURANCE SEES SOLBERG SECURE SEVENTH

Posted: August 26, 2011 10:09 AM

One of the most technical rallies on the FIA World Rally Championship calendar – ADAC Rallye Deutschland - proved drama-filled for the M-Sport Stobart Ford World Rally Team but Norway’s Henning Solberg successfully finished the first all-asphalt round of the season seventh overall.

Britain’s Matthew Wilson battled through a series of setbacks to finish 12th in a Ford Fiesta RS WRC. Team-mate Aaron Burkart finished his debut outing in the team’s other Fiesta RS WRC 23rd overall despite a couple of small issues during the rally’s first two days. M-Sport Stobart’s fourth team-mate Mads Østberg was forced to retire on the final day of competition after hitting a wall and damaging the car’s front two wheels.

Solberg had no test prior to Rallye Deutschland but the experienced Norwegian quickly adapted to driving the Ford Fiesta RS WRC on the fast and slippery sealed surface to finish the first day seventh overall.

The second day saw an enthralling three-way battle evolve between Solberg, former Formula One Champion Kimi Räikkönen and fellow Ford Fiesta RS WRC driver Dennis Kuipers. Solberg reported braking and steering issues but finished the second day in the Baumholder military region just 6.2 seconds behind Räikkönen.

Solberg and co-driver Ilka Minor were unable to catch Räikkönen on the final day’s stages due to a small handbrake issue but were pleased to mark their first asphalt rally in a World Rally Car since 2009 with a strong points finish.

Wilson and co-driver Scott Martin reported difficulties finding the right car set-up on Friday but the pair made progress throughout the repeat loop of three stages to finish the first day 12th overall.

Saturday morning saw the 24-year-old driver clip a small tree half-way through the day’s opening stage which was followed by a heavy landing on the lengthy 34.18 km Arena Planzerplatte stage which caused discomfort in Wilson’s back and chest. The Cumbrian driver nursed himself through the repeat afternoon loop and finished just 3.9 seconds adrift of 11th place.

Sunday’s stages saw Wilson consolidate his 12th place finish and the duo were pleased to reach the end of such a difficult event despite a series of setbacks over the course of the weekend.

Former J-WRC champion Aaron Burkart had an impressive start during Friday’s opening stage. However, the German was unlucky when a stone damaged the car’s brake pipe on the day’s closing stage and Burkart decided to call it a day due to significant time lost trying to repair the damage.

Burkart and fellow countryman Andre Kachel returned for Saturday’s stages under SupeRally regulations and despite a small problem with the front right driveshaft, the pair climbed the leaderboard to finish the day in 35th.

A trouble-free day followed for Burkart on Sunday apart from a puncture on the closing Power Stage and the German driver climbed the overall WRC leaderboard to finish his home event 23rd overall.

An incident on ADAC Rallye Deutschland’s opening day knocked Mads Østberg out of competitive battle but the 23-year-old was keen to use the rally’s remaining stages to learn more about asphalt and to gain experience on the fast German roads. Despite suffering two punctures on Saturday’s closing stages, Østberg and co-driver Jonas Andersson moved up the WRC leaderboard from 26th into 22nd at the end of Day 2.

Sunday, however, proved less fortunate for the Scandinavian duo who crashed into a wall on the second stage and damaged the front two wheels off their Ford Fiesta RS WRC. Both Østberg and Andersson were unharmed but were forced to call it a day after a challenging event.

Henning Solberg said:
“Tarmac has never been my favourite road surface but I am happy to get back to seventh place. It’s not been easy, there’s been a few small problems with the car and the cuts in the road this afternoon made it very difficult to stay on the road. I managed my brakes better today - during Friday and Saturday I was finding it hard to find the right balance and they kept overheating. Next I must look to Australia – I want to finish in the top five, it would have been a big challenge this weekend for me to get up there but I think I can achieve this next time.”

Matthew Wilson said:
“For sure, it’s been a difficult weekend and I am a little frustrated. On the plus side, we’ve made it to the end and we’ve learned a lot over the weekend. Before we started the first stage today we saw Dennis leave in front of us there was a big downpour. It made the first few kilometres very difficult but I think it helps sum up our weekend as it’s just been one thing after another for us. I’m looking forward to getting back on gravel in Australia next month - it’s a brand new location so the stages are going to be a new challenge for everyone.”

Mads Østberg said:
“It’s not gone how I wanted this weekend – yesterday we had two punctures and had a small off on the first stage. Our accident on the second stage was a rare pacenote mistake. We had two fast corners one after another and then on the left-hand corner I went flat out in fifth gear. We really didn’t have a chance and we hit a kerb and tore both front wheels off and crashed straight into a wall. I’m actually relieved we hit the kerb as it kept us on the road - it was a sharp drop on the other side. The impact was really hard and it’s an expensive crash but we’re both OK so that is the most important thing. Even though we’ve not had a good weekend, I must look at the positives and appreciate the experience we’ve had on asphalt – it’s a surface I know very little about and I’ve certainly learned a lot this weekend. Now we must try and move on and concentrate trying to secure some more rallies for later in the year.”

Aaron Burkart said:
“I don’t know how to say this in English but I feel like one part of me is smiling and the other part of me is crying. I am quite happy with how everything has gone this weekend but we have also had some small troubles which has affected our final result. But I have really enjoyed driving the car and the M-Sport team were very good. In general the feedback we received was positive and I was pleased with the times we were setting. Overall it’s been a good weekend and of course I am also very happy to reach the end of a difficult rally on my home event.”

BEST PERFORMANCE FOR KUIPERS AND MICLOTTE

Posted: August 26, 2011 10:08 AM

Dennis Kuipers and his co-driver Frederic Miclotte finished tenth after a very strong performance at ADAC Rallye Deutschland. It is already the fourth time this year that the duo have scored a point in their Ford Fiesta RS WRC. Kuipers and Miclotte were on course to finish in a sensational seventh position, until a flat tyre on the final stage on Saturday caused crucial time loss.

Encouraged by hundreds of spectators from the Netherlands and Belgium, Dennis Kuipers and Frederic Miclotte had their best race of the season - the FERM Power Tools World Rally Team feel at home in Trier. After six stages on the opening day the team was lying in ninth position.

It was the second long and hard day where Dennis set his top performance. Already on the opening stage of the day he set the seventh quickest time and passed former Formula One Champion Kimi Raikkonen and the experienced Henning Solberg in the standings, advancing to seventh place. The drivers were only seconds apart.

On Stage 13 Kuipers and Miclotte finished with a superb fifth fastest time - the best ever stage finish for a Dutch rally driver in a WRC event.
"Everything is now is spot on. The notes are great, the Ford Fiesta RS WRC performs great and we feel very good," said Kuipers.

During the beginning of the longest stage of the day the famous Aremna PanzerPlatte the FERM team suffered from a flat tyre. The duo changed the tyre as quick as they could, but could not prevent time loss of more than two minutes. This resulted in a drop to eleventh position. "The flat tyre was a terrible disappointment, but it's part of the sport so we must move on,” said a militant Kuipers.

On the final day the team showed a charge for points to re-enter the top ten.
"I am pleased to finish with points - this was our strongest rally ever,” said Miclotte. "Not only did we manage to put in very fast times with a fifth time as an absolute highlight, but also we have fought back after a big disappointment."

Kuipers adds a point for the fourth time this season. Seventh position in the Manufacturer’s championship gives the FERM Power Tools World Rally Team eight points. The first Dutch WRC team is now seventh in the Manufacturers' championship.

Hirvonen heads Ford challenge after tough weekend in Germany

Posted: August 26, 2011 10:07 AM

Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team drivers Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen finished fourth in Rallye Deutschland today as the opening asphalt round of the FIA World Rally Championship season delivered a tough encounter. Their Ford Fiesta RS World Rally Car headed the team's challenge as colleagues Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila finished 14th following a hugely frustrating weekend.

After eight loose surface rallies, the new-generation WRCs finally had the opportunity to tackle a pure asphalt event in south-west Germany. Trier, the country's oldest city, hosted the rally which proved as unpredictable as ever thanks to the vagaries of the weather and the varied characteristics of the speed tests.

Competitors tackled 19 special stages covering 359.59km over three distinctly different types of roads. Bumpy, narrow tracks among the undulating vineyards alongside the banks of the Mosel river contrasted with flowing public roads in the Saarland countryside.

But the sternest challenge was offered by the tank training tracks on the Baumholder military land. Wide asphalt contrasted with bumpy, abrasive concrete and high kerbstones, known as hinkelsteins, which line the roads to keep the tanks in position were ready to punish the unwary.

The team's choice of hard compound Michelin Pilot Sport tyres delivered an early setback when rain deluged the middle test of Friday morning's opening loop. Hirvonen dropped more than 30sec, and after hitting a wall and damaging his car's suspension in the afternoon, the 31-year-old Finn ended the leg in third. A puncture yesterday morning cost a minute, and although Hirvonen won the opening test of today's final leg among the Mosel grapes, he could not regain the podium position.

"It was a difficult weekend because so many things happened," said Hirvonen, who is third in the drivers' standings. "When everything went well I had a good pace and if we continue to work hard as a team and improve the car, then we can challenge on the remaining asphalt rounds. I'm looking forward to getting back on the gravel at the next round in Australia where I feel we can be strong."

Latvala led after Friday's opening stage, but the 26-year-old Finn also lost time in the rain before an electronics problem and two punctures dropped him to 15th. Yesterday he climbed to 10th despite a stomach upset, before puncturing a tyre after hitting a tree stump and crashing on the next bend. He retired but started today's final leg, held in torrential rain initially, under SupeRally rules.

"This was the most difficult rally that I've ever had as a factory driver in a WRC car," he said.
"I encountered many problems, some of which were down to my driving, and I'm disappointed with the final outcome. On the other hand I also set some good times, winning three stages. The car felt good and we have improved on asphalt as a package. Brakes and suspension are two areas in which we can work."

Ford Abu Dhabi team director Malcolm Wilson admitted the result wasn't what he hoped for.
"We came here with confidence and made a great start, but after that we had many dramas. When we were troublefree, I was pleased with the improved pace we showed against our rivals, but we have a lot of work to do. It's very competitive and everything has to be 100 per cent right to win. It's the small details that you can't afford to go wrong with at this level," he said.

Ford of Europe motorsport chief Gerard Quinn said:
"This was the toughest rally I have experienced personally and for the team. Many of the issues were out of our control. But we need to put this weekend behind us and focus on the remaining four rounds and put the competitiveness of our car to the forefront by claiming some victories."

News from other Ford teams

M-Sport Stobart Ford crew Henning Solberg / Ilka Minor finished seventh after overcoming brake troubles while Matthew Wilson / Scott Martin were 11th in another Fiesta RS WRC. Aaron Burkart / André Kachel were 23rd but the team's other car, driven by Mads Østberg / Jonas Andersson crashed into retirement this morning. Dennis Kuipers / Frederic Miclotte were 10th for the FERM Power Tools World Rally Team, having been as high as seventh before losing three minutes in Saturday's final stage with a puncture. Monster World Rally Team's Ken Block / Alex Gelsomino were 17th. The Ford Fiesta S2000 completed a clean sweep of the podium in the S-WRC support championship, headed by Ott Tänak / Kuldar Sikk, who finished 12th overall.

Next round

The series returns to gravel next month with a new-look Rally Australia. Coffs Harbour is the new home for the final non-European round of the season on 8 -11 September.

Results

Posted: August 26, 2011 10:04 AM

1. S Ogier/J Ingrassia Citroen DS3 WRC 3hr 32min 15.9sec
2. S Loeb/D Elena Citroen DS3 WRC 3hr 32min 55.7sec
3. D Sordo/C Del Barrio Mini John Cooper WRC 3hr 34min 11.5sec
4. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen Ford Fiesta RS WRC 3hr 34min 59.6sec
5. P Solberg/C Patterson Citroen DS3 WRC 3hr 36min 03.9sec
6. K Räikkönen/K Lindström Citroen DS3 WRC 3hr 39min 40.5sec
7. H Solberg/I Minor Ford Fiesta RS WRC 3hr 40min 01.8sec
8. A Araujo/M Ramalho Mini John Cooper WRC 3hr 41min 45.7sec
9. P Van Merksteijn/E Mombaerts Citroen DS3 WRC 3hr 42min 17.5sec
10 D Kuipers/F Miclotte Ford Fiesta RS WRC 3hr 42min 24.9sec

Video: iRally/Colin Clark Previews + Power Stage with Kris Meeke

Posted: August 17, 2011 7:49 PM



Breen/Roberts: Academy Dream Still Alive

Posted: August 15, 2011 8:06 PM

After competing on the abrasive gravel surface of Portugal, the undulating tracks in Sardinia and the high-speed jumps in Finland, a challenge of a different kind awaits the crews of the World Rally Championship Academy in Germany: Tarmac.

ADAC Rallye Deutschland, round four of the season and it could be a pivotal event as to finding who will take championship glory in this inaugural WRC Academy season. Craig had a tremendous drive at WRC Finland being narrowly defeated by series leader Egon Kaur who took the honors by just 2.6 sec.

Craig however still feels his title dream is still alive.
“I was bitterly disappointed after coming so close in Finland but I absolutely believe I can still win the title. My times were right up there which gives me a lot of confidence going into the Tarmac rallies.”

Rallye Deutschland is the first of two asphalt events with Rallye de France coming up in late September.
“It’s going to be difficult in Germany”, says Craig “It’s a tarmac event but very specialized, the only option I have is to go for the win but drivers like Jan Cerny and Andrea Crugnola are good on Tarmac and will be out to prove a point.”

Craig also states,
“Germany will be my second WRC event this year after Sardinia that I’ll be taking on for the first time. After Finland two weeks ago I quickly decided to take in an asphalt event at home in Ireland last weekend. With the first half of the Academy season being dominated by gravel rallies, I’ve only been out on tarmac once this year and that was in my S2000 Fiesta. Last Sunday’s event gave me the ideal opportunity to get my tarmac legs.”

Fisher takes to the track ahead of Tarmac Academy test

Posted: August 15, 2011 7:26 PM

Rising rally star Alastair Fisher has followed in the footsteps of World Rally Championship aces Mikko Hirvonen and Sebastien Ogier by visiting a race circuit to prepare for the upcoming Tarmac-based Rally Germany, the fourth stop on his FIA WRC Academy tour and the first to take place on asphalt.

Hirvonen, currently second in the world championship, spent a day at a track in Finland recently, while Ogier visited the Autosport Academy at Le Mans where he took to the wheel of a single-seater to hone his technique of driving on asphalt. Last Monday Fisher headed to Nutts Corner Raceway in his native Northern Ireland where he spent the afternoon driving his Ford Fiesta R2 rally car, which is similar to the one he will use in Germany next week.

“The first three Academy rounds have been on gravel so it’s important to get back into Tarmac mode and get your brain thinking in the right way,” said the 23-year-old from Trillick in County Tyrone. “The stages in Germany have lots of junctions so one of the main things we did on Monday was to practice maintaining speed and momentum into and out of corners so you never lose time on the straights, which is very important in a lower-powered car like the Fiesta.

“However, there aren’t many bumps at Nutts Corner but perhaps some on Rally Germany so we’ll have to learn how the car reacts during shakedown on Thursday before we can finalise a good set-up.”

Fisher has never competed on the Trier-based event before but his co-driver, Daniel Barritt, from Burnley in Lancashire, partnered the Japanese driver Toshi Arai to 36th position in Germany last season so can count on some previous experience.

“Tarmac driving does come quite naturally to me but from looking at DVDs of the stages in Germany the event is completely different to anything I’ve done before,” said Fisher.

After three rounds, Fisher is 10th in the WRC Academy Cup standings.
“It’s been disappointing to pick up so few points despite leading two of the events but we’ve got three rounds left so the aim is to get three strong finishes. Egon Kaur might have a big lead at the moment but it’s pretty close for second place. I’m confident that I can produce a good, consistent performance in Germany.”

Rally Germany gets underway with a ceremonial start at Porta Nigra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in the centre of Trier on Thursday evening (August 18). Fisher and his 15 WRC Academy rivals will tackle six stages on Friday and a further eight on Saturday prior to the finish that night.

Friday’s stages take place on vineyard roads in the Mosel wine-growing region of Germany. Saturday’s stages are held in woodland areas in northern Saarland as well as the Baumholder military training ranges. The total competitive distance is 176 miles. All WRC Academy drivers will use identical Ford Fiesta R2s, prepared by the British M-Sport operation, which run on Pirelli control tyres.

Q&A: Alastair Fisher

What knowledge do you have of the stages in Germany?
“I’ve never even been to the event as a spectator so it’s all new to me. But I’ve looked at some DVD footage and my co-driver Daniel Barritt did the event last year.”

How easy is it switching back to Tarmac after driving on gravel?
“Tarmac driving comes quite naturally to me but after doing quite a lot of events on gravel recently in the R2 you need to get your brain thinking in the right way. The test we did at Nutts Corner was designed to practice the importance of keeping up your momentum through corners.”

What other preparation will you do before Germany?
“We’re heading out on Sunday but before we go I’ll be talking to Niall McShea. He’s got lots of experience and might be able to give me a few tips. I’m also hoping to fit in another small test.”

Can you still win the WRC Academy Cup?
“It’s going to be difficult because Egon Kaur has a big lead after winning the opening three events. But it’s close for second place and there are still three events left.”

PIERRE CAMPANA READY FOR WRC DEBUT WITH DRIVE-PRO IN GERMANY

Posted: August 15, 2011 7:04 PM

26-year-old Corsican rally sensation Pierre Campana is ready for the biggest challenge and opportunity of his career so far as he takes part in the ADAC Rallye Deutschland with the Drive-Pro team in a MINI John Cooper Works WRC car.

The event, round nine of this year’s World Rally Championship, will mark Campana’s competitive debut at the helm of a WRC-spec rally car, following the recent announcement by the Fédération Française du Sport Automobile (FFSA), who have named Campana as head of their Rally Team France for 2011. Campana follows in the footsteps of Sébastien Loeb and Sébastien Ogier in holding this prestigious FFSA honour.

Rallye Deutschland will be entirely new territory for Campana in machinery with which he has acquired just a few weeks of experience. It will also be the Corsican’s debut with the rally spec Michelin tyres, which will only add to the learning curve he faces in Germany this week, alongside his long-time co-driver Sabrina de Castelli.

Campana enjoyed his first run in the MINI John Cooper Works WRC at the Pôle Mécanique facility in Alès-Cévennes in the south of France with the Drive-Pro team and support from Prodrive staff, who run the works MINI programme. Completing around 135km over two days with one full day of testing and a promotional day of taxi rides, Campana acquired a valuable appreciation for his new home before heading to the UK where he triumphed in last weekend’s Richard Burns Memorial Rally, winning six out of the eight stages. The event allowed Campana to acclimatise himself to his new car ahead of this week’s rally, while getting his new partnership with Drive-Pro off to a winning start.

The German round of this year’s WRC, which is based in Trier, will be the first to be held entirely on asphalt, although it is unique with different surface types over the three days of competition. The 2010 event was the longest in terms of overall stage distance with a challenging variety of sections, which demand complete concentration and focus, something that Campana has honed through his successful participation in Monte-Carlo and Tour de Corse earlier this year. With over 80 confirmed entries, it will be an action-packed event and one which Campana will make the most of as he looks to make a positive impression in WRC.

Pierre Campana said:
“Rallye Deutschland is a very important step in my career and an opportunity that I am ready to grasp with both hands. I am really looking forward to my first ever competition in a WRC car and with all the pressure and challenges that it brings. I must thank the Drive-Pro team for their faith in me and also for the support of the FFSA, without which I would not be competing this week. I have had some time in the MINI John Cooper Works WRC car at a short test in Alès the other week and also in last weekend’s Richard Burns Memorial Rally, which was a very enjoyable experience. It was great to get my partnership with Drive-Pro off to a winning start and to win my first competitive rally in a MINI. However, it is clear that Rallye Deutschland will be a learning curve for me, so I have to set realistic expectations, which are really to get through each stage cleanly and to the best of my and the car’s ability. I cannot wait to get started and to build upon what we have started to put together as a team with my co-driver Sabrina, the Drive-Pro team, together with the valuable support from Prodrive.”

GERMANY ALMOST HOME FOR KUIPERS

Posted: August 15, 2011 6:33 PM

The ADAC Rallye Deutschland is special for the FERM Power Tools World Rally Team. For the first time this season there is an asphalt rally and it is very close to the Dutch, Belgian border.

For Dennis Kuipers and Frédéric Miclotte who pilot the Ford Fiesta RS WRC, the race in Germany is their home rally. "It is definitely motivating when you see the Dutch fans next to the track. Even when I'm in fully concentrated, I see the red, white and blue flags hanging," says Kuipers. "The enthusiasm of the Dutch is just amazing. I think it is wonderful that the rally fans have the opportunity to see a great rally without having to travel far."

Frederic Miclotte welcomes the heart-warming reception in Trier.
"It is our home rally, so there are fans, friends and family, obviously the Belgian flags cannot be missed. Also during the service it is busier than other races and that makes it extra special. "In this inspiring environment awaits the FERM duo a particular race." This rally can be divided into 3 different rallies" says Kuipers. "You have the typical stages near the vineyards, then the military area near Baumholder and the countryside around Trier.”

Both driver and navigator think that rhythm and concentration are the key ingredients to a successful Germany Rally, especially in the vineyard and on Panzerplatte, the 35 km long stage in the military field.” Kuipers is joined by a large contingent of Dutch drivers in Germany. "It is great to see so many countrymen, especially my good friend Hans Weijs."

FERM RALLY FACT:
Germany sees a new challenge for the Ford Fiesta RS WRC, instead of the loose gravel stages that have dominated the first half of the season, ADAC Rallye Deutschland sees the first of three Asphalt events. Rally Germany sees three very different types of stages over the three days - Day 1 is in the German Countryside where there is a mixture of fast and flowing stages. Day 2 visits the Baumholder Military ranges where you weave through the abrasive tarmac roads which are normally used for driving on with tanks and the final day is based on the Mosel vineyard roads which are fast and narrow but have plenty of tight hairpin bends to keep the driver concentrated.

To allow for the different road conditions the Fiesta RS WRC undergoes a number of changes from its usual gravel setup - the ride height is lowered to increase aerodynamics, bigger brake discs are added to increase stopping power, stiffer springs and dampers are fitted to increase the handling and responsiveness, stiffer roll bars are used and there is a choice of two Michelin compound tyres - a hard and a soft option - fitted depending on the weather conditions and temperatures. With the stages in the Baumholder region being 34km in length tyre wear is also a critical factor the crews must think about. Camber is also adjusted to make the car more nimble over the tarmac tests. The whole set-up of the car is fine tuned to be more aggressive than on gravel but this means the car is less forgiving so the drivers must be fully concentrated at all times.

PROKOP HUNGRY FOR VICTORY AS S-WRC MOVES TO GERMANY

Posted: August 12, 2011 8:01 PM

Ford Fiesta S2000 driver Martin Prokop is looking to keep his hopes of his first Super 2000 World Rally Championship (S-WRC) title alive with a victory at next week’s ADAC Rallye Deutschland.

Two Ford Fiesta S2000 crews currently lie in podium positions of the overall S-WRC leader board. However, with Juho Hänninen leading the series by 18 points, it is crucial that the five Ford Fiesta S2000 crews competing for class honours in Germany prevent the Finn from securing his third consecutive S-WRC victory.

Martin Prokop currently leads the way for the Fiesta S2000 crews and lies second overall, 18 points behind Hänninen. Ott Tänak rounds off the top three and lies 13 points behind Prokop. Bernardo Sousa is currently fourth – a mere four points behind Tänak. Frigyes Turán is seventh overall with a total of 31 points and Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah lies eighth with 20 points.

Prokop has already finished on the podium three times this year after securing a win at Rally Mexico, second place in Finland and finishing third in Sardinia. The former J-WRC champion finished runner-up in S-WRC at last year’s Rallye Deutschland and Prokop will be looking to take advantage of his past experience on German soil in order to challenge for a victory.

Next week will be the second time Ott Tänak has contested ADAC Rallye Deutschland – the 23-year-old driver took part in last year’s event where he competed in the P-WRC category. The Estonian has had an impressive season in S-WRC after breaking a record in Sardinia with the best ever finish in an S2000 car and consistently scoring points to hold third in the standings. Tänak is looking to benefit from a pre-event test he has planned on Monday to ensure he is comfortable with his tarmac set-up and ready to push for a podium finish.

Reigning Portuguese Rally Champion Bernardo Sousa secured a debut S-WRC victory in Jordan followed by a second podium in Greece. Sousa currently holds fourth but will be aiming for a podium position on German soil in order for the Madeira-born driver to move back into third of the overall standings.

Frigyes Turán had a difficult start to the season but showed his capabilities behind the wheel of a Ford Fiesta S2000 when he secured his first ever podium in Greece. This result was shortly followed by an impressive debut in Finland when the Hungarian driver finished fifth. Turán is now only 18 points off the top five and will be aiming for a strong result at his debut in Germany.

Six-time FIA Middle East Rally Champion (MERC) champion, Nasser Al-Attiyah, returns to the S-WRC next week after electing to skip the previous round in Finland. Al-Attiyah – who is currently leading this year’s MERC after winning Pafos International Rally last month - is yet to score a win in this year’s S-WRC. The Qatari driver managed to secure valuable points in Sardinia and Greece but will be aiming for his first victory in S-WRC at next week’s Rallye Deutschland.

Felix Hebold is the sixth driver to pilot a Fiesta S2000 in Germany but will not be nominated for class honors. The 26-year-old driver will make his second appearance in the WRC next week after having already contested 2007’s ADAC Rallye Deutschland. Hebold had an impressive start to the season after winning three rallies – the ADAC Viking Rally, ADAC Hessen Rallye Voelsberg and Sachsen Rallye – in a Ford Fiesta S2000. The German driver finished 22nd at the recent IRC GEKO Ypres Rally and will be aiming for a strong finish as he competes on his home turf next week.

Martin Prokop said:
“Juho [Hänninen] is starting to edge away from me in the championship standings so I need to win this rally to still be in with a chance of taking the title. I’ll be testing in the Czech Republic this week which should help as Germany is a very technical event with fast roads. I am familiar with a few of the stages but the weather and tyre choice will be critical during this rally and I just hope that the forecast remains dry for next week.”

Bernardo Sousa said:
“I’ve been in Madeira since Finland because my Grandfather has been unwell so I haven’t had much time to think about Germany. I have tried to do some training but I’ve still got an injury with my leg so I’ve been trying to rest too. I’ve got a test on Monday so hopefully this will allow me to focus before I start the rally. I’m aiming for a top three finish this weekend but as always there are some very tough competitors in this category so it’s not going to be an easy task.”

Ott Tänak said:
“This will be my second time in Germany so, for sure, it will help that I know some of the stages from last year. We’ve also got a test planned for Monday so I hope to find a good set-up for asphalt. Last year’s event was the first asphalt rally that I had competed in and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it – the roads are very fast in some places but you need to concentrate as it can be easy to make a silly mistake. As always, I want to gain as much experience as I can this year but I will be looking to finish on the podium.”

Frigyes Turán said:
"Germany will be the first asphalt rally of the year and I really like driving on this type of road surface. We will try a lot of adjustments to get the most out of the car and we can’t wait to experience its power on asphalt. We like the gravel rallies too but based on our past results, I think we are more successful on asphalt. We must be very careful with the acceleration and the braking but this shouldn’t be a problem with precise pace notes. Our first goal in Germany is to get as many championship points as we can."

Nasser Al-Attiyah said:
“I know I can’t win the S-WRC title this year but I’m still looking for some podium finishes before the year is finished. It’s been a good year rallying for me – I’ve had three wins in the MERC but for some reason I’ve not been so lucky competing in S-WRC. It’ll be my first time competing in Germany although I know some of the stages as I was driving the course car at last year’s event. I’ve got a test on Monday so this should help me get to grips with driving on tarmac although I quite enjoy the road surface – I’ve had some experience on asphalt from other events such as Nurburgring 24 hours which I competed in last year.”

Felix Hebold said:
“This is my home event so obviously I’d like to finish with a good result but I’ve got to be realistic – this is only my second WRC event and some of the drivers I’m up against have had years of experience competing in this championship. I’m looking to have a clear run and to get to the finish and hopefully a good result will follow. I’ve got a test on Monday before the rally so I hope this will help prepare me so that I can use the Shakedown to have some final touches in place. Hopefully I will have some strong support on the stages from home fans too and I can’t wait to get started.”

The Citroën DS3 WRCs prepare for their debut on tarmac

Posted: August 12, 2011 8:00 PM

Three Citroën DS3 WRCs have been entered for the ADAC Rally Germany for Petter Solberg / Chris Patterson, Kimi Räikkönen / Kaj Lindström and Peter van Merksteijn Jr / Erwin Mombaerts with the backing of Citroën Racing Technologies. The three crews fettled in their cars in intense test sessions that left nothing to chance for this event, the first on tarmac in 2011.

The three drivers shared six days’ testing in Germany on roads in the Mosel vineyards and then in the Baumholder military camp. Almost 1200 kilometres – the equivalent of a complete rally per crew – were covered.

“After between six and eight months without racing on tarmac, it was necessary to spend at least two days finding our marks,” said Benoît Nogier, the Citroën Racing Technologies team manager. “Our three crews were able to test the setups decided by the works team in the heart of the vines and on the special roads in the military camp. Peter Solberg, Kimi Räikkönen and Peter Van Merksteijn Junior were very happy with the solutions and were able to fine-tune their setups. We hope that our preparation will be translated into good times in the stages.”

The Citroën DS3 WRCs took advantage of the variable weather to run on both wet and dry roads: “The situation was perfect to find our grip level in different conditions. We also worked on new tyres and their working windows. The drivers felt a bigger difference between the soft and hard rubber. Tyre choice will play a greater role than in the past. In all cases there’s no room for error.

Petter Solberg (Petter Solberg World Rally Team), currently lying fifth in the world championship, used the test to get back into the rhythm on tarmac. The Norwegian is the only driver still racing – with Sébastien Loeb – to have already won on this surface in the WRC.

Last year Kimi Räikkönen (ICE1 Racing), on his maiden outing in Rally Germany set his first quickest time in the FIA World Rally Championship. At the wheel of a Citroën WRC, the Finn topped the time sheets in the last city stage. This season the Power Stage will be Circus Maximus Trier. Peter van Merksteijn Jr (Van Merksteijn Motorsport) is back again after giving Rally Finland a miss, but this time his co-driver will be his father’s regular, Erwin Mombaerts. During testing, Peter and Erwin made progress as they tried to fine-tune their coordination. Eddy Chevallier, who is recovering from the injuries he suffered in Greece, will be with the Van Merksteijn Motorsport team in Rally Germany.

The Citroën DS3 WRC faces its first test on tarmac

Posted: August 12, 2011 7:57 PM

For the first time in the history of the World Rally Championship, Citroën has achieved the feat of winning seven events on the trot. The Citroën DS3 WRC, unbeaten on gravel, now faces a new challenge on tarmac in Germany. Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena, who have never lost in Trier, start the ninth round as favourites. In their wake, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia will also be out to maintain Citroën Racing’s supremacy!

After starting the 2011 season on snow followed by a series of seven victories on gravel, the Citroën DS3 WRCs will make their competition debut on tarmac in the ‘Rallye Deutschland’.

Since the German event has become part of the Rally World Championship in 2002, Citroën, Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena have never been beaten and have run up a string of eight victories.

By winning the last seven rallies, Citroën has pulled out a lead of 65 points in the Manufacturers’ World Championship classification. Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena who emerged victorious in Rally Finland at the end of July, lead the Drivers/Co-drivers rankings by 27 points. Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia are currently lying third, 31 points behind their team-mates.

“Some tarmac at last,” smiles Sébastien Loeb dominant on this surface for more than five years. “I know that everybody will be gunning for me in Germany. We’ve never been beaten on these roads but the series will come to an end one day. It’s up to us to make sure it doesn’t!” “None of the sectors is alike”, continues the driver from Alsace. “There are three very distinct parts with the military camp, the vines and the country roads. Generally speaking, the stages are very quick and demanding. We’re up against a real challenge. It’s vital to have good notes and to be in perfect osmosis with your co-driver to win.“

Sébastien Ogier has less experience than his team-mate and will start only his third Rally Germany, his second at the wheel of a WRC. “It’s an atypical rally with a lot of differences from one stage to the next,” underlines the Frenchman. “I like certain sections more than others. Although I was on the podium last year, I wasn’t able to match the pace of the winners. This year, we’re determined to show that we’ve improved.”

During testing the former Junior World Championship was able to get a feel for the handling of his Citroën DS3 WRC:
“The car felt good but racing and testing are two very different things. A priori, our rivals should be better armed than in previous seasons. We have to score more points than the current leader even if we know that he has racked up a remarkable string of results in Germany! In any case, it’s not going to be an easy rally.” The Citroën Total World Rally Team could also set another record in the ADAC Rally Germany. Another win would make Citroën the manufacturer with the highest number of victories in the World Championship (77 before this event).

Three questions to Sébastien Loeb
Has your victory in Finland changed your approach to the end of the season?
“There are still five events left to run and a lot of points are up for grabs. My win in Finland was one of the greatest of my career after a battle that lasted three days. It’s true that my aim was not to lose too many points on this difficult terrain to stay in the lead in the world championship before the first event on tarmac. I suppose you could say that we achieved this objective! Overall, it was a pretty good result, but it hasn’t modified our strategy for the end of the season. We still have to score as many points as possible in each rally.”

You’re unbeaten in Germany so this makes you the hot favourite, doesn’t it?
“I know that this series will come to an end one day. The competition is getting stronger and stronger. This year there’s a new, unknown factor with the arrival on new WRCs on asphalt. Despite all this I’m feeling pretty confident. I love Rally Germany. It’s a very special event for me. My fans have always given me fantastic backing and it’s here that I scored my first world championship victory. The Citroën DS3 WRC was very quick during testing, and tarmac is a surface on which we’ve enjoyed a lot of success.”

What did you feel during testing in the DS3 WRC?
“In relation to what we experienced before, the Citroën DS3 WRC is a bit more reactive. Its handling and balance are very good. The central self-adjusting differential has been banned by the new regulations, but the car runs very well without the help of electronics. The Michelin tyres are different to the ones we had in previous years. We ran through a wide range of setups to find the right ones. We know our rivals have also done a lot of work, but we’re ready for them!”

Ford Fiesta RS WRC ready for asphalt rally debut in Germany

Posted: August 12, 2011 12:32 PM

The Ford Fiesta RS World Rally Car makes its asphalt rally debut when Rallye Deutschland (19 - 21 August) signals the opening sealed surface round of this season's FIA World Rally Championship. The car competed in gravel specification on asphalt in Argentina in May, but this eighth round of the series will be the first opportunity to see the Fiesta RS WRC in action in full asphalt trim.

Drivers Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen and team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila tested the new-for-2011 car on asphalt in France and Spain during its development. After further testing in France in June, they will complete preparations with a test in Germany which started today (Friday), during which each driver will take the wheel for two days.

Rallye Deutschland is the first of three asphalt rallies in the closing five rounds, and perhaps the most difficult. It is based in Trier, Germany's oldest city, which is close to the border with Luxembourg. The ever-present threat of rain combined with the changing characteristics and surface of the speed tests ensures that conditions are remarkably unpredictable.

The special stages cover three vastly different types of roads. Bumpy, narrow tracks among the vineyards on the banks of the Mosel river comprise the first and third legs. Fast sections linked by hairpin bends trace an undulating route as the roads rise and fall on the hillsides among the grapes. Corners are frequently hidden by overhanging vines and there is little rhythm to the artificial tracks.

The public roads that wind through the Saarland countryside during the second leg are faster and more flowing. They are often wooded and can be treacherous in the wet.

But the Baumholder military land, used by US soldiers for tank training, provide the sternest test. Wide asphalt contrasts with bumpy and abrasive concrete, which demands high durability from Michelin's tyres. The slightest mistake can be punished by high kerbstones, known as hinkelsteins, which line the roads to keep the tanks in position. The tracks are always dirty, a mix of sand and gravel making conditions slippery in the dry and lethal in the wet.

Hirvonen has six previous starts in the rally, claiming third in 2007 and the 31-year-old Finn is confident the Fiesta RS WRC will do well in its debut asphalt outing. Rallye Deutschland will see Hirvonen and co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen start their 100th WRC event for Ford.

"We have high hopes for the Fiesta on asphalt," he said. "From our testing we know it works well on that surface and we believe we can make good results. I enjoy driving the German stages when the conditions are dry, particularly in the vineyards where the grip is usually excellent. In the wet, it's a different matter because the roads become dirty with a lot of mud and gravel dragged onto them.

"Michelin's tyres are excellent on asphalt in dry conditions. If it rains heavily the roads become incredibly slippery and it's tough for the tyres. But it's the same for everyone because the regulations limit our tyre options and we have to work with that. The weather is a key factor in Germany and it's possible to win by being lucky. It changes so quickly that every driver can have different conditions on the same stage and if you have some lucky breaks, it can turn the results upside down," he added.

Latvala's best result in Germany was fourth in 2010 and the 26-year-old Finn has seven previous starts to his name.

"This rally has a little bit of everything," said Latvala. "The surface in the vineyards is abrasive with many cuts and tight junctions, and the countryside stages also have many cuts. In both areas a lot of dirt is dragged onto the surface from the cuts, and if it's wet this dirt is muddy and extremely slippery. In Baumholder, the situation is different because you simply must not cut. The roads are wide but are lined with 50cm high hinkelsteins on both sides, so there's no room for error.

"The Fiesta is well-balanced, especially through a combination of corners, and it should be strong in the vineyards especially. The unpredictable weather can make this a stressful rally. Because there is no dedicated wet weather tyre, it's a compromise between speed and grip if it rains. But at least it's the same compromise for everyone," added Latvala.

Team News
* Michelin's Pilot Sport asphalt tyre will be used by the Ford Abu Dhabi drivers and will be available in both hard and soft compounds. Drivers will be allocated a mix of hard and soft tyres for the event. Their selection during the rally, which will depend on the weather and the nature of the road surface, must come from that allocation only. Teams are not allowed to hand-carve additional cuts into the tyres and each car can carry two spare wheels.

* Seven privately-entered Fiesta RS WRCs supplement the two official entries. Matthew Wilson / Scott Martin and Mads Østberg / Jonas Andersson are nominated by the M-Sport Stobart Ford team which has also entered Henning Solberg / Ilka Minor and Aaron Burkart / André Kachel. Monster World Rally Team's Ken Block / Alex Gelsomino will be back behind the wheel of their Fiesta RS WRC for the first time since Rally Argentina. Dennis Kuipers / Frederic Miclotte and René Kuipers / Robin Buysmans are entered by the FERM Power Tools World Rally Team.

* The rally is the sixth round of the S-WRC support category. Four registered Ford Fiesta S2000 cars are entered, headed by Martin Prokop / Jan Tomanek, who lie second in the championship. It is also the fourth round of the FIA WRC Academy, the sport's new training programme for young drivers, which is supported by Ford. Sixteen crews will compete over the first two days of the rally in identical Fiesta R2 rally cars, which have been supplied by Ford and prepared by M-Sport. Thirty-two of the 84 competitors are entered in Ford cars.

Rally Route
This year's route has been trimmed by almost 50km, much of it cut from the famous Panzerplatte test on the Baumholder military land, but virtually all the roads will be familiar to drivers. The rally is again based around the service park in Trier and the city's historic Porta Nigra, a UNESCO World heritage site, hosts both Thursday's start and Sunday's finish. Friday's opening leg is almost identical to last year and is based in the Mosel area. Saturday's competition is split between tests in northern Saarland and Baumholder and includes two tests not used since 2008. The final day returns to the Mosel vineyards before the rally ends with a spectacular street stage around Porta Nigra. Drivers tackle 19 stages in a route of 1245.96km.

MINI WRC Team - Rally Germany - Preview

Posted: August 12, 2011 12:31 PM

With two FIA World Championship Rallies behind it, the MINI WRC Team is now ready for its next test and that will be on the asphalt stages in next week’s ADAC Rally Germany. This will be the first WRC event of the year on this surface for not only Dani Sordo (ES) and Carlos del Barrio (ES) in the MINI John Cooper Works WRC number 37, and Kris Meeke (GB) and Paul Nagle (IR) in the number 52 car, but also the rest of the competitors in the championship.

The drivers have put in many kilometres of testing in readiness for this asphalt debut, and this is even continuing this weekend in the UK with the team competing on the Richard Burns Memorial Rally, at RAF Marham in Norfolk. Also contesting the event in Norfolk, in preparation for Germany, in a customer MINI John Cooper Works WRC is Pierre Campana (FR). The 26-year-old has just been given backing by the FFSA, the French motorsport federation. This means the driver from Corsica will be following in the footsteps of his two very famous rallying countrymen, Sebastien Loeb and Sebastien Ogier, who also received this support early on in their careers.

David Richards, Team Principal:
“We have high expectations going into Rally Germany. The MINI has shown a great deal of promise in recent tarmac tests in Germany and Italy and both drivers have told me how much confidence they have in the set up. Dani, in particular, very much likes this rally and I know that he and Kris have traded times on these stages in the past. Unlike Finland, where our number one priority was to get valuable competitive mileage on the car, in Germany we will be looking for both drivers to begin to demonstrate the true performance of the MINI.”

Dani Sordo:
“This is a rally I am really looking forward to. I like the stages in all three areas – the vineyards, the military training ground and the normal roads. It has lots of hairpins, which are very different to the tight corners we get in Spain. I always remember the military training area of Baumholder, as there are some very big rocks there so you have to be careful not to get punctures. I particularly enjoy driving in the vineyards as these roads are narrow and fast. The fans who come to watch us in their thousands are really nice. Obviously rallying is very popular in Germany, and so it will be good for us to have some ‘home’ support this year for the MINI.”

Kris Meeke:
“I think it is a fantastic rally. I have done it three times before, and all of these have been good experiences. The stages are demanding and, because of the different surfaces, it is more like three rallies in one. You have the vineyards, Baumholder and the Saarland region. The weather can also be very changeable there, so this is another challenge. The year I remember best was in 2005 in the junior category when I was fighting with Dani, and after three days with two stages to go we were just six seconds apart. Unfortunately I then had a puncture, but it was a fantastic battle. I also like the event because it is very popular with the fans. It is based in central Europe so it is easy for the spectators to get there. I know I shall have lots of support as many of my friends from home are heading there.”

BURKART STRENGTHENS STOBART SQUAD FOR GERMANY

Posted: August 12, 2011 12:29 PM

The M-Sport Stobart Ford World Rally Team will welcome Aaron Burkart, the 2010 FIA Junior World Rally Champion, into their Cumbria-based squad for next week’s ADAC Rallye Deutschland.

Fresh from a podium position at last weekend’s ADAC Rally Wartburg where Burkart piloted the Ford Fiesta S2000, the 28-year-old German driver is feeling confident ahead of his debut in the Ford Fiesta RS World Rally Car.

Burkart – who will be partnered by fellow countryman André Kachel - will be looking to benefit from a pre-event test over the weekend where the duo aim to finish with a top result on their debut World Rally Car event.

Norway’s Mads Østberg will also be testing the team’s other Fiesta RS WRC over the weekend. The 23-year-old has not driven a World Rally Car on asphalt since 2008 so is hoping to find a good set-up on the new surface before the ninth round of the WRC.

Østberg and co-driver Jonas Andersson contested last year’s ADAC Rallye Deutschland for the first time in a Ford Fiesta S2000 where the pair finished first in class and 16th overall. Østberg has since reported his desire to challenge for a second podium during the season’s second half but his main aim for the Trier-based event will be to match the pace of the WRC front-runners.

Joining Østberg as the second points-scoring crew in Germany is Britain’s top pairing of Matthew Wilson and Scott Martin. Wilson has proved his ability behind the wheel of a Ford Fiesta RS WRC with two top five results already under his belt this season.

Wilson finished sixth at last year’s event and will be aiming for a similar result this year. The 24-year-old English driver will be looking to further benefit from a test he has planned in the Ford Fiesta RS WRC on Monday.

Henning Solberg and co-driver Ilka Minor will be the fourth team entered under the M-Sport Stobart banner in Germany.

Solberg will be the only M-Sport Stobart driver who will not test the Fiesta RS WRC prior to the event but the flamboyant Norwegian has experience on his side as next week’s event will mark the ninth time that the driver has contested the German edition of the WRC.

As one of the most experienced WRC drivers in the field, the M-Sport Stobart driver will be looking to take advantage of his past knowledge of the German roads in order to move ahead of Räikkönen in the overall leaderboard – Räikkönen and Solberg are currently tied in the drivers’ championship standings with 26 points each.

Mads Østberg said:
“It’s possible that Germany may be my last event of the season so I want to aim for a top result next week. It’s going to be difficult as it’s my first time driving on asphalt in a World Rally Car since Corsica and Spain in 2008. I competed in last year’s Rallye Deutschland and Rally Catalunya in a Ford Fiesta S2000 so I had some experience during those events but it’s very different behind the wheel of a World Rally Car. I’ve got a test planned for the weekend and I’m hoping that I can find a good feeling in preparation for the rally. I think it’s going to be a tough event but I hope to be where I was on the last day in Finland, I just need to be pushing from the start and it’d be great to challenge the “top five” more on this rally.”

Matthew Wilson said:
“Germany will be the first time this year that tyre choice has come into the equation so I think this could be one of the biggest challenges. Of course it is also the first all-tarmac round of the season so it’s a big step into the unknown for the Fiesta RS WRC although we will be fortunate to fit in some testing on Monday afternoon. I enjoyed the small sections of asphalt we’ve had already this year like in Rally Argentina but that is nothing compared to three full days of rallying on the surface. Last year was a good result for us and I’d be happy if I finished in a similar position this time but this is a tough rally and small mistakes can have brutal consequences so it’s important to know when to push.”

Henning Solberg said:
“We need to collect points and the aim is for a good result next week. The best way for me to achieve this is to concentrate on improving my performance from last year when I competed in the Fiesta S2000 and to get closer to the top guys’ times on asphalt. I like the more open road stages like there are in Germany but find it difficult on the military ranges. I need to feel the car flowing and on those stages it is very stop and start and you can’t really get into a good rhythm. Rallye Deutschland is like three different rallies in three days over different types of stages and each with their own unique challenges. As always the weather here can also make a big difference.”

Aaron Burkart said:
“I can’t wait for next week but I’m starting to feel a little nervous now too. It’s such an amazing opportunity to drive a World Rally Car and on my home event it is really something special. I’d like to finish on the podium but I’m aware that there’s 20 World Rally Cars in Germany so it’s not going to be an easy task. We’ve got a test in the car over the weekend so we need to make sure we find the right set-up so we are as well prepared as we can be. We’ve had some good results in the Ford Fiesta S2000 already this year but I know that the Fiesta RS WRC has a lot more power so we need to take this into account when first getting to grips with the car.”

PIERRE CAMPANA HONOURED BY FFSA AND SET FOR WRC BREAKTHROUGH

Posted: August 3, 2011 10:49 AM

Rising rally sensation set to contest Rally Germany and Rallye de France-Alsace in a MINI John Cooper Works WRC with Team Drive Pro and support from Prodrive and FFSA~

Corsican rally star Pierre Campana is set for a breakthrough opportunity in his still young career as he is set to take part in the forthcoming WRC events in Germany and France at the helm of a MINI John Cooper Works WRC with Team Drive Pro, the support of Prodrive and crucially with support from the FFSA. It will be Pierre’s debut competition in a WRC car.

Pierre has been named as leader of the FFSA’s ‘Rally Team France 2011’, designed to promote the best national hopes right up to the highest level of motorsport. He follows in the esteemed footsteps of rally names such as Sébastien Loeb and Sébastien Ogier to be head of this initiative for 2011.

The announcement made today will give the 25-year-old from Corte the perfect platform from which to showcase the talents that saw him shine in Tour de Corse and Monte Carlo events earlier this year.

Pierre’s career will now move into this exciting new chapter with Rally Germany taking place 19-21 August and Alsace Rally de France taking place from 30 September – 2 October. Pierre will be run and supported in his MINI John Cooper Works WRC by Team Drive Pro, with the invaluable support of Prodrive, who are responsible for the recent return of the MINI brand to WRC. It will be Pierre’s competitive debut in a WRC car and first time at WRC Germany, while he did not compete at Alsace last year. His last WRC participation came in the 2008 Tour de Corse in which he took a JWRC podium.

The FFSA will also support Pierre by way of a bespoke training programme organised by the Auto Sport Academy, which will place at his disposal a management team in competition as well as a PR and communications campaign for the “Rally Team France 2011”. Pierre will continue to be managed by Quadra Sports.

Pierre’s first taste of the MINI John Cooper Works WRC car with BMW engine and Michelin tyres will be in a one day test at the Pôle Mécanique circuit Alès-Cévennes in the south of France on Thursday. He will then take part in the Richard Burns Memorial Rally in the UK, together with the MINI WRC works team, in mid-August, as preparation for WRC Germany the following week.

Pierre Campana said:
“I am very proud to have been chosen by the FFSA to wear the colours of Rally Team France. For me it's a great leap forward in my rally career and I cannot wait to begin this exciting new chapter. It will be a big challenge but one which I am confident I can contest to a high level and with complete focus and motivation. To be driving a MINI John Cooper Works WRC car is an incredible thought and I will do all I can to uphold the reputation of all these legendary brands. I am incredibly thankful to the FFSA for giving me this incredible honour and would also like to extend my thanks to Drive-Pro for giving me this opportunity. I can’t wait for the test to get underway at Alès-Cévennes tomorrow. I am keeping my expectations realistic, though, because this will be my first WRC participation since Tour de Corse three years ago. I was not in last year’s event at Alsace and this will be my first ever WRC Germany, so I will have plenty to learn in a short space of time. I am going to soak up every minute of this experience and just do my best along this great new journey which has been laid in front of me.”

Nicolas Deschaux, President of the FFSA, commented:
"The FFSA has long set itself the challenge of guaranteeing conditions and creating the necessary environment for our most promising hopes to attain the highest stage of their discipline, and we still continue today with the same determination. Following Sebastien Ogier in 2009, the steering committee members are, together with myself, happy to entrust Pierre Campana with the colours of Rally Team France this year. We believe that this young, talent and committed driver will give his all to seize the opportunity that the FFSA has offered him.”

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