25 Apr 08
A clean run through the opening day of the Jordan Rally means Briton Matthew Wilson holds overnight seventh place.
The 21-year old is not nominated to score manufacturers championship points in Jordan but is now the best placed driver of the three-car Stobart VK M-Sport team
“It’s been a really good start to the rally and I’m starting to feel more comfortable on these tricky stages,” said Wilson. “Apart from a couple of minor half spins which dropped us some time, it’s gone well and I’m pleased with our performance. The stage times have been really consistent and the only changes we have made have been to adjust our lines over some difficult crests and this worked well for the second pass. We concentrated on preserving our tyres in the second loop as it’s really easy to run wide onto the loose gravel and drop some time.”
Wilson’s team-mate Henning Solberg started the day cautiously but struggled to get to get comfortable on the Jordanian stages. He was also reported difficulties with the brakes on his Ford Focus. “We found things difficult this morning but it is a new rally and I just can’t jump in and be very fast from the start,” he said. “The surface is difficult and I need to build up my confidence here and then in turn build up my speed during the rally. We made quite a few changes to the pacenotes and hopefully this will also help with my confidence. The conditions are tricky and it’s easy to make a mistake so I will continue to concentrate and push harder when I can. I have finished today in the points and without any problems so I’m happy with that.”
Gigi Galli will restart the rally on Saturday after retiring following an accident on stage six. Around two kilometres into the stage, Galli’s car slid backwards into a stone bank which caused damage to the rear differential cooler and the exhaust. “It’s very important for me to get back out there and learn more about this rally and this unique surface, said the Italian. “The first loop of stages today went well for me and I was starting to find a good rhythm and getting more confidence with the car and I would like to continue with this progress tomorrow.”