Ford hopes to repeat Safari success

Colin McRae is returning to the scene of one of his most memorable victories as he prepares to tackle the gruelling Safari Rally

Ford hopes to repeat Safari success

In last year's event, the Scottish ace and co-driver Nicky Grist guided their Focus WRC to its first victory on only its third rally.

McRae's team-mate Carlos Sainz is also a former winner of the Kenyan event, and will be spurred on following a pair of podium finishes in the opening two rounds of the season.

The Safari Rally throws up some of the most demanding conditions seen on the World Rally Championship calendar.

McRae, who also won the event in 1997, said: "It's all about endurance, an adventure over pretty wild terrain.

"Every rally has a slightly different character but this is very much one on its own.

"To be successful you must find a balance between speed and survival.

"I enjoy the rally very much and it's Nicky's favourite in the championship.

"The team is in high spirits after our result in Sweden, the Focus proved last year how strong it is and I see no reason why we can't repeat last year's win."

Sainz claims a single error on the unforgiving terrain can lead to instant retirement.

"The roads are so rough and rocky in places that it's impossible to drive at 100 per cent all the time as we do on other rallies.

"It's always in the back of your mind that someone else is pushing a little bit harder but it's tricky to know the limit of car and tyres in those conditions.

"Several years ago teams were allowed to put mechanics in helicopters so they could land and make repairs if a car hit problems but that's not allowed any more.

"Now if you push too hard and hit troubles on the rough roads, it can mean instant retirement."

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