22 May 08
Fourth place for Italian Gigi Galli on his home rally enabled the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford rally team to edge closer to Subaru in the FIA Manufacturers’ Championship.
After six of the season’s 15 rounds, the Stobart team has a total of 34 points, and trails the Japanese manufacturer by eight.
Galli had a good event and was one of the three fastest drivers on nine of the 17 stages. He was outright fastest on Friday’s SS4 to notch up the 15th stage win of his WRC career. Galli’s final position was particularly impressive because he lost 70 seconds on the opening day after hitting a bank and damaging a tyre.
“I was a bit disappointed on the first day after the puncture but Malcolm Wilson told me that I could still be fourth and the Chief was right,” said Galli. “For the rest of the rally we set a good pace with consistent times and I just wanted to put in a good performance for all the Italian fans on the stages. We have now found a level that I am happy with and I am much more comfortable with the car. It was important for me to finish well here and do a good job in front of my fans and my sponsors.”
Unfortunately the event was not the best for the team’s second point-nominated driver, Matthew Wilson, who finished 12th after struggling with brake and set-up problems throughout the weekend.
“We’ve had a few different problems on this rally and it’s definitely one we need to but behind us and move on from,” said Wilson. “We just weren’t able to get a good feeling with the car and in this sport once you lose time it is very difficult to get it back again. When we had no problems the times I set were pretty good and this is important for me to be able to take these positives to Greece and improve on our performance.”
Gigi Galli and Henning Solberg will be the team’s points nominated drivers on the next WRC round in Greece.