Ford banks on experience

Ford's WRC boss Malcolm Wilson hopes the team's knowledge of British national rallying events could give it an advantage on this weekend's Wales Rally GB

Ford banks on experience

The event has been moved from its traditional November slot on the calendar to a mid-September date. The gravel roads will be drier and faster, on the other hand they could also be harder-wearing. But Ford has run in Britain under variable conditions and Wilson believes it'll be prepared for all climes.

"Between us, we've competed on many rallies in Britain in vastly different conditions, so we have good knowledge of how the forest roads react to changing weather," Wilson said. "I think some people could be in for a quite a surprise if it stays dry."

Drivers Markko Martin and Francois Duval have been testing in the Whinlatter Fores in Cumbria, close to the team's headquarters. Both are confident of a strong result on the team's home soil, but Martin is expecting the competition to be very close.

"I think this year's event will be very, very fast," he said. "People say it could be as quick as Rally Finland. I'm not sure about that because the roads in Wales are different to those there. They're harder and smoother in Finland, and there are probably more tight bends in Wales, but it will be very fast, especially if the conditions are dry. One thing I won't miss is the fog. I hate driving in fog.

"High speeds make the stages really challenging, and a driver needs to be committed for every single second in Wales. There's no opportunity for respite. Logs and rocks close to the edge of the road add additional difficulties, but it's an event I've always enjoyed and I think there could be a big battle for victory."

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