09 Jul 08
Three weeks in to the summer break, Stobart VK M-Sport Ford team driver Gigi Galli is at the controls of a small digger, landscaping his garden in Italy.
Fully recovered after being taken ill during the last rally in Turkey, Galli took a break from his landscape work and spoke to wrc.com about his season so far, and his plans for part two:
Gigi the last time we saw you was at Rally Turkey, where you retired because of de-hydration and exhaustion. How are you feeling now?
Everything is okay now thanks. My doctor did some blood tests when I got home to Italy and it looks like the problem was actually caused by food poisoning. We ate something at a restaurant on Friday and that was probably it. The problem was that by Sunday I couldn't eat or drink anything without being sick after five minutes. The Ford team medic and trainer take very good care of us, and we know we must eat and drink during the race, but it was a strange situation.
Have you altered your fitness training to cope with the hot rallies later this year?
Not really. Turkey and Greece were the hottest two, and I don't think Finland or the others this year will be as bad. I'm following the same training schedule I have used for a long time. At the moment I'm running about three times per week and that should be fine.
You recently joined Henning Solberg at a Rallycross exhibition in Norway to drive a 600bhp Ford Fiesta. How did you get on?
It was a very great experience. First of all I had a really good sensation about how the WRC is considered in Norway - it's amazing. And of course Henning is a superstar there. I went out with him in Oslo and it was like being with George Clooney! The car itself was incredible, especially the engine power because it has no restrictor. I did one race, and finished sixth, but the start didn't go so well. I missed my flight so I arrived very late, and the organisers brought me to the track by helicopter from the airport. I jumped in and did some qualifying laps, but there was no time to test or adjust the set-up. But when I strapped in I felt like a boy with a new toy. It was amazing. I was using the car Marcus Gronholm will use on some rallycross rounds this year. I have to say I'm happy we have a restrictor on the WRC cars. I'd be scared if we had the same amount of power!
You're at the half way point in your first season with the Stobart team, how do you think you have done so far?
Generally it's been okay and I'm pleased because we have done what we set out to. The plan was always to get used to the car for the first part of the season, roughly until Sardinia. Okay, we had a good result in Sweden but from my point of view it didn't really count. A lot of the other drivers had problems, and that meant that that while it was good news for Stobart, as a driver it wasn't what I wanted. Since Sardinia we have started to have a good speed on the stages and the consistency is increasing too which for me is very good. We planned it like that. Of course now we need a bit of luck. Our last event in Turkey we had a very good first day, a good second day and then unfortunately a problem with the turbo. But actually it was a good rally for me; we were consistently there in the top four and this is encouraging for the rest of the year.