BRITAIN’S leading FIA World Rally Championship pairing of Matthew Wilson and Scott Martin battled back after a tricky opening morning at Wales Rally GB to finish the day eighth overall.
The 23-year-old Stobart M-Sport Ford driver admitted the incessant rain and muddy conditions made the going difficult in his Ford Focus RS WRC.
“The stages were very slippery this morning and we had a lot of understeer,” admitted Wilson. “I had a spin on the first test and the stages became extremely muddy. The pace of the top five drivers has been very fast and it was difficult to try and match those times in such treacherous conditions.”
Stobart M-Sport Ford’s other nominated point-scoring crew of Henning Solberg and Stephane Prévot remain seventh. The pair finished the first day 48.8 seconds ahead of Wilson.
“The car has been perfect today but it’s a big disadvantage to be running further down the field as the stages have become so muddy,” said the Norwegian. We hit the front left bumper in the water splash on Sweetlamb but we finished the stage fifth-fastest so it was not a problem. The conditions have been very slippery but I must continue to push tomorrow.”
Liu Chao Dong and Anthony McLoughlin were forced to retire on the day’s closing stage when their exhaust ignited and filled their Ford Focus RS WRC with smoke. The pair will return under SupeRally regulations tomorrow.
“This is my first time competing in a World Rally Car so I just want to get as much experience as possible. My windscreen kept misting up which made it difficult to see and then something in the exhaust went on fire. It’s been a tough day but I’m looking forward to returning to the rally tomorrow,” said Dong.
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A midday report will be distributed at 2pm tomorrow (13 November) and will be followed by an end of day report at 8pm
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