01 Feb 08
After making a good start to the 2008 WRC season on last month's Rallye Monte-Carlo, the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford rally team is looking to continue its encouraging form on next week's second round in Sweden.
On the opening round the team drafted in experienced asphalt driver Francois Duval to give it the best possible chance of success, but in Sweden Stobart is relying on the wintry skills of its full-time squad.
Unsurprisingly, on this event Henning Solberg has been nominated to score manufacturers' championship points for the team. Without a WRC rally in his home country of Norway, Sweden is the closest he'll get to a home event this year and it's one he's tackled nine times before. With five consecutive Norwegian Rally Championship titles to his name Solberg and co-driver Cato Menkerud are right at home on snow, and are looking to improve on their best Swedish result - fourth - which they claimed last year.
"This is the one I have been waiting for and hopefully we can do even better here this year," said Solberg. "I am still very inexperienced on tarmac so Monte-Carlo was really an event where I wanted to get experience and finish all the stages but Sweden will be different, it will be maximum attack. The Stobart team is in a great position already so I must remember points for the team is very important but snow is also where I am most comfortable in a rally car so we will try our very best to push for a podium spot."
Gigi Galli is the team's second points-nominated driver. Hailing from Livigno in the Italian Alps, Galli is no stranger to driving on snow and has a good deal of experience of the Swedish rally, having contested it seven times before. He and co-driver Giovanni Bernacchini will attack the Swedish roads for the first time in a Ford Focus RS WRC07, hoping to better the fourth place he scored in 2006.