WRC A FULL 2016
FULL SPEED AHEAD TO SPAIN.
M-Sport World Rally Team’s Mads Østberg and Éric Camilli will continue their 2016 FIA World Rally Championship campaign next week – piloting their Ecoboost-powered Ford Fiesta RS WRCs at the popular Rally RACC Catalunya-Costa Daurada.
With just three days to prepare the cars for the Spanish fixture, the workshop at M-Sport‘s Dovenby Hall base has been a hive of activity – every department running like clockwork to ensure that all six competition cars are fully prepared for next week’s event.
All of this has been achieved whilst also conducting a comprehensive week-long test in preparation for the 2017 season. Testing is now in full swing and every department has been working at maximum capacity to complete all on-going projects.
But the team’s proficiency and time management is not reserved to the workshop. Unique to the championship, Rally RACC Catalunya encompasses both gravel and asphalt stages which require a full specification change in an extended 75 minute service on Friday evening.
Switching from gravel to Tarmac, a number of components are changed including the suspension, brakes, gearbox, rear differential, steering rack and cross members. All in all, this could take up to 12 hours on a standard road car, but the M-Sport team will have their fleet of competition Fiestas ready to rally in super-quick time.
Hoping to be equally as quick, Østberg is looking forward to a return to his roots on gravel. The Norwegian feels naturally at home on loose-surface events and will be keen to get into gravel mode as quickly as possible so as to challenge towards the head of the field.
Having implemented a new strategy to improve his asphalt driving at the previous outing in Corsica, Østberg will also be hoping to show further progress on the event’s sealed-surface stages.
Having contested the event on six previous occasions, the Norwegian has historically performed strongly in Spain but is yet to add a top-three finish to his repertoire. Having finished in fourth place on three separate occasions, Østberg is due a podium and should be on good form with last year’s winner, Ola Fløene, calling the notes.
In the sister M-Sport Fiesta RS WRC, Camilli and co-driver Benjamin Veillas enjoyed a confidence boost at last week’s Tour de Corse. Completing all of the stages unscathed, the pairing also saw an improvement in their pacenotes and showed good speed when pushing throughout sections of the ultra-long stages.
Having contested Rally RACC Catalunya as part of their WRC 2 campaign last year, the pairing showed good speed on the circuit-like asphalt – setting top times behind the wheel of their Ford Fiesta R5. This year, they’ll be looking to do the same in the championship’s top flight.
As the season draws to a close, the Frenchmen’s target is still to secure maximum experience by completing all of the stages, but one shouldn’t be surprised to see some quick times coming through from the ever-progressing pairing.
The M-Sport team will also run two additional Fiesta RS WRCs for Ott Tänak and Lorenzo Bertelli, as well as a pair of Fiesta R5s for Marius Aasen and Sander Pärn.
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Mads Østberg said:
“This is an event that I really enjoy, and we’ve done well there in the past. I’m really looking forward to getting back to gravel, and we learnt a lot in Corsica that we can transfer to the asphalt sections.
“This is a unique rally and we’ll need to get our head into gravel mode fairly quickly. That’s the key to this event – getting your head into gear and adapting to the right style for every surface change.
“After a week of learning in Corsica, we’ll be looking to put everything into practice next week. There’s still some work to do, but hopefully we can show some good progress on Tarmac.
“If everything works in our favour, I see no reason why we can’t be challenging towards the head of the field, especially on gravel.”
Éric Camilli said:
“It’s a busy month for us. After the Tour de Corse we had a few days at home to make our preparations for Spain, and then it was straight into testing. There are no words to describe this new car – it is absolutely fantastic and it’s a big pleasure to work with the team as we make our preparations for 2017.
“Corsica was a very important event for me and I believe that the combination of that and this week’s test will help us in Spain. Not only did we complete all of the stages without a mistake, but we also had some competitive split times and my pacenotes were the best that they have been all year!
“We’ve learnt a lot in a very short space of time, and we plan to continue that in Spain. I’ve only been there once before, but I really like the circuit-like Tarmac stages. We set some very good times on that surface last year. It will be a completely different story going head-to-head with the WRC drivers this time around, but we’ll certainly give it our best.
“The target is to have another clean rally, but if we’re feeling comfortable, I think it’s possible to show some good speed – just like we did last weekend.”
Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
“With only three days to get the cars turned around for Rally Spain, the workshop has been a hive of activity. Credit has to be given to every single member of our team at Dovenby Hall. This is an exceptionally busy time and everyone has put in 110 percent to ensure that everything runs like clockwork.
“Next week’s event is unique to the championship – the only rally to run both gravel and asphalt stages – and I know that Mads is looking forward to getting back to his roots on gravel. We know how competitive he can be on that surface, and we’ll be hoping that he can build on everything he learnt on asphalt in Corsica.
“Éric contested this event as part of his WRC 2 campaign last year and set some very impressive times on Tarmac. We’ve also seen a big improvement in his gravel performance throughout the year, so this could be a good event for him. As we approach the end of the season, it is important for him to complete all of the stages, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw some good times coming through from him too.”
SUNDAY 2 @ 16H30
Competition cars released from Parc Fermé.
SUNDAY 2 @ 18H00
Competition cars loaded onto the Transporter which then departs for the port in Porto Vecchio.
SUNDAY 2 @ 21H00
Transporter sails via ferry from Porto Vecchio to Marseille.
MONDAY 3 @ 08H00
Transporter arrives in Marseille and is double-manned back to the UK.
TUESDAY 4 @ 09H00
Transporter arrives at M-Sport and work begins. Competitions cars are unloaded, stripped, washed and rebuilt in gravel trim.
FRIDAY 7 @ 08H30
Final preparations are carried out on both cars before going to a Shakedown to ensure everything is operating as it should.
FRIDAY 7 @ 17H30
All competition cars are loaded onto the Transporter.
SATURDAY 8 @ 12H00
Transporter leaves M-Sport for Plymouth.
SUNDAY 9 @ 13H30
Transporter sails via ferry from Plymouth to Santander.
MONDAY 10 @ 12H30
Transporter arrives in Santander and continues to the service park.
TUESDAY 11 @ 12h10
Transporter arrives into the service park with the competition cars, ready for action!
– ENDS –
Media M-Sport Ltd……
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Rally Report Magazine Argentina
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Categories: RRM ARGENTINA WRC 17 AÑOS