10 Feb 08
On only his second rally with the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team, Gigi Galli has matched his previous best WRC result, by coming third on the Swedish Rally.
Galli and co-driver Giovanni Bernacchini, both from Italy, had a trouble free event in their Ford Focus and even picked up a stage win at the 1.9 kilometre Karlstad Superspecial on Friday night.
“It’s an amazing feeling to be on the podium so early in the year,” said Galli. “The tyres have been perfect in the difficult conditions and the car has worked extremely well. It is also important for me to have scored more points for the team and help get three Ford cars onto the podium. I wanted to be fast here but I always had to think about getting to the finish and I can really say I used my head to keep it safe.”
Norway’s Henning Solberg picked up two more manufacturers’ points for Stobart, but could have come away with more had he not driven his car into a barrier on Saturday. The Stobart mechanics worked through the night to fix the damage, enabling Solberg to return as a Superally entry on the final day and finish 13th overall. “The team were fantastic and they knew how important it was to repair my car last night. but I am disappointed with the mistake I made,” said Solberg. “This was my strongest event and I had to come here and try to win - you can see this from all the fastest times today. I had the speed and I was really trying hard for all the fans who came here from Norway.”
The team’s third entry, 21-year-old British driver Matt Wilson, had been on course for a fine fifth place before a throttle problem brought his car to a halt on the penultimate stage. “I’m obviously gutted at having to retire so close to the finish and in such a good position,” said Wilson. “In the end the throttle was sticking open, it was pretty scary for a while, and we just couldn’t continue. But there are lots of positives we can take from this event. My split times were well improved and it gives me a big boost in confidence as we go into Mexico. This is important as I am scoring points for the team there.”